Stop the Nash Tri-MVP Madness: It’s Dirk

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I love Steve Nash. I love everything about his game. I love watching him run the floor, make the right pass – beautifully – and hit the big shot. I love watching him conduct the symphony called the Phoenix Suns. But I can no longer sit idle while he’s all but anointed with his third consecutive Most Valuable Player Award.

It’s not even halfway through the season and hoops media heads coast-to-coast are already etching his name on the trophy. Their reasoning? His numbers – 19.9 points and 12.0 assists, while shooting 54 percent from the field and a remarkable 40 percent from they-land – are better than last season when he won his second consecutive MVP award. So how can you deny him a third?

Easy. The award is never solely about stats. During any given season – even during the Jordan Era – there are typically at least two, if not three, worthy candidates. And the winner is often determined by a number of factors: team record, strength of teammates, even being overlooked in past years can sway some votes. Michael Jordan never won it three seasons straight. Neither did Magic Johnson or Larry Bird. Nor did Moses Malone or Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.

The only players to win three straight are Bill Russell and Wilt Chamberlain.

All the aforementioned multiple MVP winners have another thing in common: They all have at least one ring. They’ve led teams to championships. In fact, Nash is the only multi-MVP winner who hasn’t carried a team to an NBA title. Give him one. Give him two. But I find it pretty hard to make Nash a three-time-running MVP winner when his Suns have not even reached the NBA Finals.

Especially in a season when, on my card, someone else deserves it: Dirk Nowitzki.

Like Nash, the Dallas forward is having a career season. He’s just .7 off last season’s scoring average and better in every other critical category. And as of tonight, the Mavs, who got off to an 0-5 start, have a slightly better record (37-9) than the Suns (36-9), even though Phoenix is coming off a 17-game win streak.

Moreover, I venture that Dirk has aa less talented supporting cast that Nash. Sure, Josh Howard has elevated his game and become Nowitzki’s “Pippen,” but is he as good as Amare Stoudemire? And who’s Dallas’ Shawn Marion? Its Raja Bell? No Mav’s even close.

Dirk Nowitzki is doing just as much as Nash this season in terms of production and leadership with fewer weapons in his arsenal. I love Steve Nash But if we’re going to anoint an MVP before the midway juncture of the season, it has to be Dirk.

PS: My second-place vote? Gilbert Arenas.

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26 thoughts on “Stop the Nash Tri-MVP Madness: It’s Dirk

  1. Jay Wilson says:

    A friend and I had a similar conversation over lunch this past weekend. While we love that Nash brings the motion and excitement to the court (instead of the dribble dribble dribble pass dribble dribble crap these days), now way should he get the MVP a third time.With Amare back in the fold, he has a nice surrounding – Dirk doesn’t have nearly as much.
    He’s carrying that team.

  2. JeVonna Caine says:

    Hey Uncle Roy!! i came across this blog and thought i should leave my mark :)I completely agree, Steve Nash is a great and very enjoyable player to watch. He brings his A game everytime he steps on the court, but Dirk surpasses him by bringing more to the table. He has proven himself by leading his team to back to back wins with an average supporting cast.

    Get back @ me when u get a chance I would love talk to you bout my new adventure: college 🙂

  3. Juan says:

    It’s hard, I think a case can be made for all 3….Dirk, Arenas, and Nash..

    I say Arenas is MVP. He’s hitting big shots, game winners, etc. and has to carry his team too. (Lokos like he’ll have to do more of that as Jamison is off the floor for a few weeks it looks like.)

  4. wyclefdoug says:

    I’d probably go with Arenas first, followed by Nash and Nowitzki.

  5. Toya says:

    OK, I think it’s time for someone to leave a post here who actually lives in Dallas & watches the Mavericks every time they play. No disrespect to you, Mr. Johnson, and the others who pinned their comments, but you’re off the mark by minimzing the talented players the Mavs have by stating a case for Dirk as MVP! Sure, I’m the first to say he DOES deserve to be MVP, and not Nash for the 3rd time (Knowing the history of the NBA, I just can’t see justifying putting Nash in the same breath with greats Wilt Chamberlin and Bill Russell), but not always above the rim doesn’t constitute them being less talented. Mavs don’t get to the Finals with Dirk carrying “them” through that long season. Too much of a load for him.

    Back to the team. There’s no way that Josh Howard is NOT an important piece to this puzzle the Mavs (Avery Johnson) is designing. Have you looked at Howard’s stats…from the moment he stepped foot in the NBA since 29 other teams played the fool by not drafting him? All 4 seasons, he increased his scoring from 8.6, 12.6, 15.6, and (now)19.4; 6 reb/2assist a game. That makes him the second highest scorer on the team (i.e. valuable, not a scrub piece). Next to the MVP, AND it should count him as an ALL Star tonight! Howard struggles, the MAVS are slow to the finish. Comparing him to Stoudamire is like comparing apples & oranges; come on, not the same at all. Two different players AND positions.

    Don’t forget Jason Terry, who racks an average of 15 per game. All are why they have a Big 3, and not the Lone Ranger.

    Oh, there’s a bench that Steve Nash could only dream of having, and that will stop him short of the NBA Finals. Stackhouse, Bukner, D. George (mind U who has 3 rings with the Lakers-and he DID play) Dirk is not Kobe, he’s blessed with a great supporting cast capable of taking over when they wish.

    Matter of fact, it may be the reason the media gurus refuse to give him the MVP…his teammates are not as bad some are led to believe.

    As for Arenas: scoring mega points & game winners-in the East mind you- shouldn’t walk him 2 the MVP table. I LOVE the guy, but maybe we need to give him the scoring title instead? Besides, his grudge…it’ll be the demise of the Wizards in postseason play!

  6. Toya says:

    Oh, I forgot…

    I have to say/must say, I enjoy your work!!!!!

  7. Juan says:

    I know the Mavs have a good supporting cast and don’t live in Dallas. I have the League Pass and I watch them there when they are not on a cable channel (and they get more airtime than Duke hoops!)

    Howard is a stud. Terry has played well in Dallas too.

    Arenas in playoffs is not going to be the ruin of that team. It will be because that team outside of “0” and Caron “Old School Baller” Butler plays horrible on road. Also, they have lots of wins v. teams in their crappy division. They might be killing the JV, but let’s see them play the Varsity.

    Rematch between Gilbert and that hater Kobe on Sat night.

  8. Toya says:

    Good for you Juan; but really, everyone doesn’t have league pass, so they just co-sign instead. But I’m glad someone is beating out Duke for TV time (they’re on tonight-LOL!!). Didn’t say Arenas being in post season would ruin it, but that style of play WILL be their demise.

    Well, well. I guess game don’t (always) recognize game…or the Western Conf. coaches anyway!Howard, the stud, just got snubbed! Once again, the Mavs are only given 1 first class ticket out of DFW Airport to Las Vegas because the Western Conference thought 2’s a crowd, unless you play with the Suns. D’Antoni will coach the West All Stars-how ironic!

    Well, at least Howard has gotten some comfort. As of last night, he’s the proud father of a BABY BOY!!!!!

    Ok, David Stern, your turn to right the ship that’s sinking…

  9. dave sundstrom says:

    Hye wyclef, you’d go with Arenas because he’s black. Face it, you don’t want another white dude being an MVP 3 years in a row.

  10. gzino says:

    Nash is great and I love watching the Suns, but he doesn’t play D. Not at all. His numbers are up because of Amare. It may be true that he deserves the MVP this year more than the first year, and probably more than last year, but that isn’t enough reason to give it to him. Not when you have guys that have similar offensive impact, but are also playing D (at least in crunch time).

  11. wyclefdoug says:

    Dave, I’m white bro.

  12. Daryl says:

    Roy,
    You have been beating the drum for Dirk for quite some time. He all but vanished in the championship last year. I have a problem with a seven footer who stands behind the three point arch. Big men belong in the low post. In the paint. All of the basketball experts fail to point this out. However, my teenage son and his friends ALWAYS ask while watching the games, “how does he get away with this?.” In the spirit of TRUE big men, Dirk must become a dominant big man in the low post. Sorry, but I vote thumbs down.

  13. Juan says:

    Dirk, boards like a big man with about 9 RPG.
    How about shooting 90% from FT line? I don’t know too many big men that can do that…

    Garnett leads league in boards, and doesn’t exactly camp out down low. He’ll take a three every now and then.

    So using Daryl’s size analysis, 6-9 Magic Johnson by virtue of being 6-9, should have been posting up, rather than dumping it in as a point guard?

    The game evolves..

  14. SJH says:

    Roy, I disagree. I thought the MVP should’ve gone to Kobe or LeBron last season (although personally, I’d had give it to Iverson) and his first MVP came as a surprise. I don’t think he should be on the verge of holding it down 3-straight. But I think it would be unfair to deny him this season because of a mistake by the voters in 2005-06. I also think it’s unfair to basically disqualify him because of history. To me, it doesn’t matter that Jordan never won 3 in a row and that he’d join Wilt and Russell. To me, that’s like the baseball writers refusing to give anyone a unanimous vote because “Well, Hank Aaron never got 100%, so…” Besides, Nash could win 5 MVPs and I don’t think knowledgeable basketball fans would put him in those guys’ class. If his retired after this year, it wouldn’t take me more than a second to evaluate his career and say, “No, he doesn’t deserve the Hall of Fame.”

    But MVP is a single-season award. All it’d mean is that Nash had 3 amazing seasons out of 10+. In fact, even with the tear he’s been on since going to Phoenix, I think his career averages are still around 12 points, 7 assists. He’s not an all-time great, but these seasons are among the best ever. The league hasn’t seen 20 points/12 assists since Magic was in his prime. He’s got a chance to lead the league in FG% (he won’t, but he’s up there), 3-point percentage and FT%, all while leading the league in assists by a WIDE margin. And doing it on the team that has a chance to finish with the league’s best record.

    Also, it’s a regular season award. It gets voted on before the playoffs so championships, I don’t think, should play any factor. And Dirk ain’t got one, either. He was part of the biggest sports choke since the Yankees’ Heimlich-couldn’t-help-’em meltdown in the ’04 ALCS.

    I’m a Dirk fan (the Mavs were my pre-season pick to win the title last season and this season, so I’m riding with them), but I think Nash contributes more than him. Dirk’s 9 rebounds and decent defense isn’t enough to offset the offensive disparity. Nash, on average, has a part in at least 44 of his team’s points – if every assist goes for a 2-pointer – per game. There’s also leadership and the way his game helps space the court for their perimeter shooters. Check out this Nike commercial: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tMblYzDUZO0

    It highlights how his teammates averaged career highs with him. I don’t always buy into the “He makes the guys around him better,” but this is an exception.

    And Dirk has help. He isn’t THE reason the Mavs have the best record. That whole squad is tight. The DeSagana Diop/Erick Dampier plattoon gives them solid defense down low and allows Dirk to roam around and do his outside thing. Devin Harris can handle and shoots close to 50% from the floor. Among small forwards in the West, Josh Howard is probably only behind Carmelo and Shawn Marion. And there probably aren’t 6 or 7 better point guards than Jason Terry. Plus Dallas has a deep bench. It’s an all-around great team.

    I’m also a fan of Gilbert Arenas (who’s part of The Game’s Black Wallstreet clique), but his 64-point game notwithstanding, this season isn’t that much better than his ’05 and not that many people were touting him for MVP then. His average is up just 0.2 points and his FG% is down. He’s taking 22 shots per game compared to Nash’s 13. Shooting over 53% from the field and close to 50% from deep, Nash could make up the -9 in scoring averages if he took a few more shots.

    Barring injury, I think it’s his, and he deserves it.

  15. I think you could make a case for both players (Nash and Dirk). Nash has a bunch of athletic guys around him that can flat out go get the rock out of the air. In spite of that the Suns and Nash are going to have to learn to defend. Let’s be honest, greatness in the NBA is measured by Championships and Nash has a goose egg. if the Spurs were a little deeper off the bench both Phoenix and Dallas would be watching this year.

    Roy can we talk about the idiocy of the All-Star Snubs. I could throw up better line-ups. Actually its funny because a lot of the players will enjoy just being able to hangout instead of participating in the dog and pony show. Since this year the game is in Vegas look for a lot less defense. In fact, I would be totally surprised if either team shot over 35% (take away dunks and layups) from the field.

    Gilbert and Kobe won’t see the MVP because the writers (voters) simply don’t like their game. The pair reminds them too much of the ball hog who doesn’t pass them the ball during pick-up at the Y. Even Jordan passed the ball to Steve Kerr.

    Holla 😉 :p

  16. Daryl says:

    Juan, your analysis is not bad. Last year Coach Avery Johnson challenged Dirk in a press conference before the NBA finals to elevate his low post play in response to Miami’s huge front court. Unfortunately, he failed to do so. The result was a sweeping Miami victory. Dirk must be held to the same standards as all of the other NBA players who have been branded, “fundamentally flawed” Now Steve Nash is the text book point guard that any coach would love to have. He is a player who makes his team so much better. Thumbs up for Steve Nash.

  17. Larry Bird won three straight MVPs: 84, 85, and 86.

  18. manu says:

    Stop Arguing Nash is MVP and HE is playing better than ever…..u probably would have seen the impact of steve’s injury on Suns.ryt? Nash is the backbone of SUns and he deserves 3-peat….haters respect the man..

  19. Kev says:

    I think if the mvp this year isn’t nash, it has to be dirk. however, my preference now would be nash. if dirk keeps his game up like that, then he’ll win it simply because nash is becoming inconsistant. i can’t think of any player more consistant this year than dirk other than KG who i don’t think anyone will beat in that consistancy area in this era (double doubles!)
    KG is the one who doesn’t have a good team or teamate, not dirk. and even when comparing dirk’s team to nash’s team, i don’t think nash necessarily have a better team. amare and marion are voted to all star because they way they play, which is almost directly related to nash, the more offense plays. they get good stats because of nash ability to let them get open shots. but how about terry? howard? all those players play way better team games than any of the suns. in my opinion, dirk actually has a better teamates. because a team doesnt rely on individual stats, it’s team work that determines all.
    and unless nash starts being as good as he was before all star weekend, then dirk will win. if he does, then dirk will have only dreams in holding the trophy

  20. Ryan says:

    This is madness, we all know Nash is a MVP 3-timer. When a team plays the Suns, whether its a team with a Kobe or a LeBron they are forced to play Nash’s game, anyone can see that. People are praising Arenas’ 40 point games or Kobe’s 50 or 60 point games, are they looking at their FG%? Absolutely not, they see 60 and there eyes drop. Nash makes over half his FG attempted and not to mention his 3-point skills are all-too clutch. He deserves all the glory and another MVP award.

  21. Roy S. says:

    Ryan, here are Kobe’s shooting percentages during his now four-game, 50-point-plus streak: Field goals: .543; three-point range: .545; free-throws: .934 FT. Wow. But don’t let the facts get in the way of a good rant!

  22. DurfNo-winski says:

    I believe that Dirk will win the MVP. HE SHOULDNT!!! Nash will prove this in the Western Conference finals this year. You Dallas fans are rediculious. Haters.

  23. Jason.Detrick says:

    I fear the world doesn’t want to put a short Canadian in the same class as Wilt and Russel. I know from watching many of his games this year that he is the MVP. I can’t wait till they show a Suns game and I am not even a fan and do you know why? Because he makes basketball fun and exciting and selfless and the team sport it should be. He embodies everything that basketball is about. He is someone no one thought would be very good, he is selfless and modest, he is the first one to say blame me if they loose and also the first to say it was a team effort and I couldn’t have done without my teammates when they win. He doesn’t need a ring or a trip to the finals (even though this year I believe they will win it) to be the MVP. If they don’t give it to him they have done a great disservice to not only the fans of the NBA but the game itself.

  24. Milly says:

    Are you an idiot, Larry Bird DID win it three times…

  25. DurfNo-winski says:

    I agree 100% Jason.

  26. Mboya says:

    3-Peat for Nash – how? Nash has now played 11 seasons, his career #’s are 14 pts, 7.6 dimes, .8 stls, 48% fg’s and 89% ft’s. Stockton after 19 seasons averaged: 13.1 pts, 10.5 dimes, 2.17 stls, 51% fg’s and 82 ft’s. The guy was a 10 time all star, made all NBA teams 9 times and 5 all NBA defensive teams. Nash at 33 has 2 MVP’s and 4 all NBA teams. Is he better than Stockton, a two way player and the all time leader in assists and steals with tons of playoff experience? Is Nash really 3 MVP’s better than
    Stockton, Zeke, The Glove, Timmy “who takes it the” Hardaway, JKidd, Nate Archibald, Clyde Frazier and Dennis Johnson? Please, it’s an absolute joke and the
    whole thing has turned into a media jobblow (reverse those words).

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