NBA PM: Time for Two NBA MVP Awards?
You could just about have flipped a coin. When the NBA MVP vote came down to Oklahoma City Thunder star Kevin Durant and Miami HEAT star LeBron James, you had to split hairs to justify choosing one over the other. Durant lead the NBA in scoring with 28.0 points per game, but James was in third with 27.1. James was a little more efficient from the field, shooting 53 percent to Durant’s 49 percent, but Durant was better from three-point range, 38 percent to 36 percent and from the free throw line, 86 percent to 77 percent. Durant was also better in the clutch, often taking and making the game-winner and averaging 50.8 points per 48 minutes of clutch time, while James managed just 33.2 points per 48 minutes of clutch time.
Durant was slightly better on the glass, averaging 8.0 rebounds to James’ 7.9 per game. James gained an edge in assist numbers, with his 6.2 per game to Durant’s 3.5, but the rest of the stats across the board were a wash, with Durant owning a slight edge in blocks and James holding a slight edge in steals.
Statistically, it was pretty hard to distinguish between LeBron James and Kevin Durant as far as which was the better player, and it came as little surprise when the two met up in the NBA Finals.
But which one was MVP?
LeBron James won the award, of course, but it begs the question, why not do the same thing with the MVP award that the NBA does with all of the other awards throughout the season? Why not have a Western Conference MVP and an Eastern Conference MVP? Every month we have a Western and Eastern player, coach, and rookie of the month. Why not have an MVP from each conference when all is said and done?
Last season there was absolutely no argument against either of the two finalists. There was no way to say beyond all reasonable doubt that Kevin Durant was not the MVP. It came down to a choice, and many who had to make it admit that it was almost like a coin toss. Heads it’s LeBron, tails it’s Durant.
Why not simply reward both?
Fans ultimately want to know who the best player in the NBA is, and the MVP trophy is one way in which that distinction is made. But that would still exist, even if two players were named MVP. The NBA Finals MVP is really the most valuable player in the league, isn’t he? How does a player distinguish himself in a more important way than by leading his team to a championship?
The most valuable player in the NBA each season is the player who leads his team to a championship. Why not let the MVP award serve as a means to recognize the best player in each conference?
Last year it would have meant that instead of a virtual coin toss deciding who won, two very equally deserving players would have both taken home the hardware.
Who Makes The Cut in Houston?
There’s nothing quite as exciting as rebuilding a team from the ground up. It’s why fans love to play fantasy basketball, and it’s why all of the NBA video games have some kind of franchise mode, where you can draft a brand new team and then send them out to do battle against the rest of the NBA. It’s an invigorating process.
Admittedly, it’s not quite as exciting when it’s your favorite team rebuilding in real life. You almost have to be a purist to appreciate what the Charlotte Bobcats, New Orleans Hornets, and Houston Rockets are going through as we approach the 2012-13 NBA season. Still, Houston fans, in particular, seem to be on the edge of their seats waiting to see who might distinguish themselves in training camp and preseason to make the final cut and earn roster spots on opening night.
Make no mistake, the competition will be fierce. The Rockets don’t have a discernible starting lineup as of today, so there are spots that will have to be earned over the next few weeks. There are, however, some reasonable assumptions we can make going in.
The starting lineup will almost certainly feature Kevin Martin and Jeremy Lin in the backcourt, and since Omer Asik is the only center with extensive NBA experience, we can assume he’ll be there, too. The other two positions appear to be very much up for grabs. There is a logic to thinking Chandler Parsons will start at the three, since he was one of the most impressive an unheralded rookies last season, but he’s going to face plenty of competition from Royce White, Carlos Delfino and Terrence Jones.
Likewise, Patrick Patterson would seem to be the starting power forward going into camp, but will he still hold the position when the dust settles on preseason? There is a great deal of anticipation surrounding the arrival of Donatas Motiejunas, whom the Rockets are avoiding labeling, but hope to see develop into a player in a class with Andrea Bargnani and Dirk Nowitzki. What if Royce White blows the coaching staff away and winds up starting at the four? It’s safe to say that position is wide open.
Once the starters are determined, the fight to make the active roster will also be intense. We can assume that all of the aforementioned players will either start or be in the rotation somewhere, but who else makes the team? Shaun Livingston is a proven veteran whose leadership off the court will be at least as important as his actual play. Toney Douglas has played well at times, and could find his game in Houston. Scott Machado played quite well in summer league for the Rockets, and could carve out a spot. He seems more likely to be a D-League candidate due to the number of point guards already on the team, as does Courtney Fortson, but we’ll see. Gary Forbes has had his moments, but has struggled to endear himself to coaches and teammates with his all-around game.
JaJuan Johnson and Greg Smith have the advantage of at least being the right size to play center, which could earn either one or both a spot on the roster. At the same time, neither makes Houston’s top ten list of most exciting prospects. That still leaves Jon Brockman and Marcus Morris, who are both forwards and could fall victim to the extreme numbers game at that position.
Going into training camp, we have a pretty good idea about a core group of players who will likely make the Rockets’ opening day roster. After those seven or eight players, however, all bets are off. Few teams have as many roster spots dependent upon training camp performances as the Rockets do. That can make for an exciting camp, depending on how you look at it, and it certainly sets a great tone for the season going forward.
The Rockets are going to have to fight for everything they get this season.
Seattle Starting To Feel Super Sonic Again?
As we’ve discussed a number of times this season, the City of Seattle is working diligently to bring the NBA back to town, and today a major hurdle in that process was passed. The Associated Press is reporting the following:
The Seattle City Council is expected to approve a deal Monday that would help build an arena to bring NBA and NHL teams to the city.
Members of the council have indicated they’re ready to sign off on investor Chris Hansen’s plan to build a $490 million arena near the Seahawks and Mariners stadiums in the SoDo area, south of downtown. The plan calls for $200 million in public investment.
Changes in the plan still must be approved by the King County Council, and it must pass an environmental review. But, Hansen says city approval will allow him to start looking for a team that would replace the Sonics. After four decades in Seattle, the Sonics were moved to Oklahoma City in 2008 and became the Thunder.
Not only is Seattle one of the largest TV markets currently looking to bring in an NBA team . . .like, perhaps, the Sacramento Kings . . .but they also have a rich NBA tradition from before the Sonics moved to Oklahoma City and became the Thunder.
Don’t be surprised if the NBA returns to Seattle in the very near future.
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