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Coast to Coast: It’s time to change the MVP award

May 5, 2013; Miami, FL, USA; Miami Heat small forward LeBron James smiles before receiving his fourth MVP award at the American Airlines Arena. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

Coast to Coast is my bi-weekly column here at Fansided. Each week I’ll be taking a look at an interesting topic in the NBA, and giving my own spin on it. Feel free to disagree, because you most likely will anyways.

Value- Worth in usefulness or importance to the possessor; utility or merit.

The NBA gives out 6 awards every season to players. The top award that the game’s best players fight for is the MVP. For the last 2 years, Lebron James has won that award. Dirk Nowitzki has 1, Shaq has 1, Steve Nash has 2, Tim Duncan has 2, and Kobe Bryant has 1. Believe it or not, Michael Jordan has only 5, and Lebron trails him by 1 with many years left. The award was created back in 1955-56, but there have only been 29 different winners. The award will usually go to the player who preformed the best during the season.

It’s time to change the award.

When you look at the word value, it means importance or how much something means to the possessor. If the award was truly the Most Valuable Player, then it should mean the player who means the most to a team who has success should win. When you look at last season, Lebron James won the award, and he led the Heat to a 66-16 record with 26.8 points, 8 rebounds and 7 assists. He clearly was the best player in the league, but was he the most valuable? Lebron was just one vote shy of winning the award unanimously, because Gary Washburn of the Boston Globe voted for Carmelo Anthony instead. Washburn used his column to explain his vote:

 When I placed my NBA MVP vote a few weeks ago, I knew I would be in the minority. I knew LeBron James was the prohibitive favorite to win his fourth award because he unquestionably is the best player in the game.

I voted for Carmelo Anthony based on his importance to the New York Knicks, who, if you haven’t been paying attention the past decade, have failed to be relevant.

When the voting was announced Sunday afternoon, I was flabbergasted to learn I was the lone voter among 121 to not give LeBron a first-place vote, truly believing Anthony, Kevin Durant, Chris Paul, and perhaps even Kobe Bryant would snag a first-place vote or two.

Secondly, this isn’t the Best Player in the Game award, it’s the Most Valuable Player award, and I think what Anthony accomplished this season was worthy of my vote. He led the Knicks to their first division title in 19 years.

If you were to take Anthony off the Knicks, they are a lottery team. James plays with two other All-Stars, the league’s all-time 3-point leader, a defensive stalwart, and a fearless point guard. The Heat are loaded.

If LeBron was taken away from the Heat, they still would be a fifth or sixth seed. He is the best player of this generation, a multifaceted superstar with the physical prowess of Adonis, but I chose to reward a player who has lifted his team to new heights.

I agree with Washburn. The media, players, and fans were all outraged that Lebron didn’t collect every vote from the media, but Washburn did the right thing. No, I don’t have a vote, but if I did, mine would have went to Carmelo Anthony. Anthony took a roster who was old and made fun of, and won over 50 games and nabbed the 2nd seed.

I’m sure Lebron will probably top out at about 7 MVP’s because the voters will likely have voter fatigue, and will choose someone else just because Lebron can’t win them all. There would be no issue with Lebron winning them all if this was a different award. I can argue that Stephen Curry was more valuable to the Warriors last season than Lebron was to the Heat. Sure, Lebron was the best player on a back-to-back championship team, but that doesn’t mean that he was the most valuable player in the league.

If we are just going to give the award to the best player, then I petition that the NBA should either change the award, or create a new one. The award should be changed to the Most Outstanding Player Award, and that would end any arguments. Lebron James has been the most outstanding player in the NBA for some time now, but since he joined the Heat, he has not been the most valuable. You can’t tell me that Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh, Ray Allen, and Mario Chalmers wouldn’t make the playoffs as the 5th seed at least. The Warriors would probably be under .500 without Stephen Curry last season, but they made the 2nd round with him.

No one is saying that Lebron isn’t the best player in the league, but if you are going to vote for an award that goes to the player that meant most to a successful team, then it should truly go to that player. It will always go to the best player in the league, so why not change it to the Most Outstanding Player? It’s time.

Topics: Carmelo Anthony, Chicago Bulls, Derrick Rose, Kobe Bryant, Lebron James, Los Angeles Lakers, Miami Heat, Michael Jordan, New York Knicks

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  • Noah Yost

    I understand yours and Washburns view. But if without Carmelo, the Knicks would be a lottery team or just squeek in at 8. And without LeBron the heat would be a 5 seed. Can you look at how many players can you put on a 5 seed and guarantee they win a championship. THAT is value! A lot of superstars can get you into the playoffs. But Carmelo wouldn’t win the championship with the heat. And LeBron showed he could carry a horrible Cleveland team farther than Melo did. If the all important goal is winning a championship, and everyone KNOWS how hard it it. Having a guy that can get you there year after year is is more valuable in the NBA than getting to the middle of the playoffs with multiple stars have shown they can do…IMO…good article though

    • Ryan Donoho

      That’s a great point. I just think that valuable can be a dangerous word in this regard. You’re absolutely right though.

      • aquaadverse

        That works both ways. At what point does it flip from an award of achievement to one of “which team sucks worse without player X award” ? It’s pretty consistently gone to clearly best player on the team with the best regular season record when that exists historically. See Dirk for the Mavs and Rose for the Bulls. LeBron was the better player versus Rose when he won, but Rose lifted his team to a better record.

        When you run into a situation like the Spurs from a couple seasons back or the 2008 Celtics you don’t see an MVP from those teams because no single player was considered the biggest reason for their success. It was a popular belief that LeBron could kiss any more MVPs goodbye when he joined the Heat because he would be in the same position. He would never again be clearly the biggest reason for the level of team achievement.

        If you consider value from the standpoint, that a single player was equally responsible for the level of their team’s achievement but one lifted them to a higher level it looks less like the “best player award”. It’s not like Bird and Magic were playing with scrubs while they racked up MVPs. I’d argue that it is just as difficult to standout as clearly the biggest reason on a roster with elite players achieving a level of excellence as standing out on an average roster that achieved much less. If LeBron isn’t on this current Heat roster they’d drop as far as the Knicks would without Melo. Wade is forced to play hurt instead of sitting out 20 games. Maro Chalmers and Norris Cole have to be actual PGs Small ball an impossibility. Absolutely murdered on the boards and help defense severely exposed. The Knicks drop into lottery land and the Heat win under 50 games and 5 though 7th in seeding. The amount of drop is the same.

        I used LeBron and the Heat as an example since that seems to be the current argument. What it really comes down to do you reward a guy for lifting his team to achievement or do you reward a guy for keeping his team from the bottom.

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