Saturday, January 21, 2012

The Meaning of the MVP

The most prized individual award in the NBA, the Maurice Podoloff trophy, is given to the player who throughout the season displayed his skills the best, and meant the most to his team. Or is given to the player with a big name that has done better than other big names in the league? Let's break M.V.P. down. Most Valuable Player, I know, is the meaning of that acronym, but what does that mean? It means out of EVERYBODY you have the most value to your team or any team. 

Which got me thinking, what if the NBA just restarted? And all of the players were free agents. In pickup game style, what if by luck the Milwaukee Bucks get the first pick? Who is David Stern walking to the podium to announce first? Is it a big name? Wade? James? Bryant? Rose? Howard? Nowitzki? Or will it be a secondary star name in the NBA? Gay? Deng? Odom? Boozer? Love? Allen? Or a bottom feeder like Anthony Tolliver? Obviously, you and me both know that the first pick will not be Tolliver. But he, like other names are up for grabs big and small in this situation. 

Here's the scenario, the only way to truly see who the Most Valuable is, what if next season the NBA reboots, and all the names are up for grabs? (Based on records right now let's say that Washington gets the first pick) Who do they choose? Well it depends on what kind of style they want to play. Also, the type of player they need to fulfill their desired style. Do they want a team that plays a half-court style, then they will choose the best floor general which is Chris Paul. If you want a up tempo, showtime-like offense, then you choose speed and strength, in Derrick Rose, or Lebron James. Do you want to build around one player? Then you would want a scorer, who can score at will. You can't go wrong with Bryant, or Durant, or Anthony. But would picking any one of those 6 First Overall make them the Most Valuable Player? Technically yes, it would, because they were picked first out of everyone. But with that big variable of what do you prefer in a player, still in the picture, how can you say that he is the Most Valuable? Sure, you think that way but what if another team got first pick, do you think they would pick the same person? I don't. So can the MVP really be one league wide player? Or is the MVP different for every team? A half court team like the Mavericks would think it's Chris Paul. A fast break team like the Warriors might think it's Steve Nash or LeBron James. The point is, the MVP isn't universal. It's different for everybody, every franchise, every team. Nobody thinks the same, so the MVP could really go to different people every year. Right?

Please comment and give feedback, I will respond back to all no matter how brutal. I hope you all enjoyed it.


  1. If the NBA just restarted and all of the players were free agents as you suggested and GM ranked the players they'd like to bid on in order, you would answer the question of who the consider the most valuable in the abstract.

    If you did this and told GMs they could protect one of their own players from the bidding / taking, you would probably answer who they consider most valuable on their team, though salary / contract length could complicate that decisionmaking.

    If you gave GMs a choice between keeping their top guy on their full existing team or taking any other star and losing their top guy in exchange the choice might be different. Some might pass on other stars because they already have a star who fits and may be most valuable to their team context.

    As you note MVP can have 2 basic meanings. Voters and fans may go either way or maybe they try to balance them. A debate that sometimes doesn't lead to consensus, though often their is an obvious answer of a player who would get picked first and protected against all others.


    1. Good Response and thanks for commenting, but who is to say what type of players the GM's want to have. In your presented scenario, If they want a different style of play than they obviously drop the star player that doesn't fit that style, but that doesn't dwindle his value, because that same player could be of the most value to another GM.

  2. Let's be real. The first pick would be LBJ, Durant, Dwight or Kobe. Those would be the only four players in contention for the top pick.

    The only reason Rose won the MVP last year is because people had LBJ fatigue and it was impossible to pick Durant over LBJ because they played the same position and LBJ was statistically superior. Since Rose is a pg he brought a different angle to the conversation and thus an excuse to not give the MVP to LBJ.

    Don't misunderstand. I'm a huge Rose fan and I hope for his success more than I want LBJ to be successful. However, it was clear that LBJ was the superior player last year during the season and in the playoffs.


  3. Good response, however last year, Rose WAS the Bulls last year. He had no help and for them to produce the best record in the NBA, a huge part of it was because of him. And I do agree James was the superior player last year in the playoffs and if the NBA gave out playoff MVP awards LeBron would've won last year, but unfortunately they don't. In the regular season Rose was the best player.