2013 MVP Shares: Part Two

In case you missed Part One, which explains what this made up idea is all about, check it out right here.

Stephen Curry (2 Shares)- 22.9 points, 4.0 rebounds, 6.9 assists, 45% FG, 272 3 Pointers Made (NBA Record)
Maybe Curry should’ve been mentioned in part one as one of the honorable mentions. Or maybe I should be giving these two shares to Curry’s right ankle, because it held up so well so far this year (Knocking on wood as I type). But it’s hard to ignore the catalyst of maybe the biggest surprise of the season; the Golden State Warriors, who have qualified for the playoffs for the first time since Baron Davis dunked on Andrei Kirilenko so badly that when you type in “Baro” in a YouTube search, one of the suggestions is “Baron Davis dunks on Kirilenko.”

Apr 12, 2013; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Golden State Warriors point guard Stephen Curry (30) dribbles against the Los Angeles Lakers during the game at Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports

Curry won’t be putting anyone on any posters this postseason, but his lightning quick release and silky smooth jumper will definitely be on display in the 1st round, and I couldn’t be happier about that. I hate to put on my fan cap, but I’ve been a Curry supporter since his freshman year at Davidson, and even before Davidson’s Elite Eight run in 2008 I saw that Curry could have a future in the NBA. He’s always had this weird sort of aura about him where it’s you felt it was the slightest bit possible that he could go into Madison Square Garden or Staples Center and score 54 and 47 points respectively. Doesn’t it kind of make sense that he’s the first player in NBA history to average 20 or more points, 6 plus assists and at least three 3 pointers per game? And is it a total shock, or even a stretch to be able to say that if Curry can play a healthy 16 year or so career (A rather large if) he could end up the all-time leader in three pointers made (he’s on pace)? None of those statements seem like they would’ve been completely out of the question a few years ago. Still, to see Curry even mentioned in the discussion of players on the outside looking when it comes to the MVP makes me, a Stephen Curry fan, do a bit of a double take. I’m pleasantly surprised.

Tony Parker (2 Shares)- 20.3 points, 3.0 rebounds, 7.6 assists, 52% FG
Before Tony Parker went down with ankle, shin and neck injuries, there would’ve ended up being at least one writer who would’ve thought it would be a fun idea to give Tony Parker a first place MVP vote, justifying it by saying “The Spurs are the best team in the West and Parker is having a career year. Plus he’s French!” Would he have deserved that MVP vote? No, not really. But the fact that he could play himself that highly into the MVP discussion is a testament of what kind of season he was having when healthy.

Parker is one of just two point guards (Jose Calderon being the other) who will finish in the top 40 of field goal percentage in the entire league. This might seem like an statistical oddity for those who don’t know any better, but Parker has shot at least 48% from the field in the last nine seasons, and has shot over 50% five times in that stretch. He gets into the paint and finishes with more ease than just about any other point guard in the league. The biggest feather in the cap of Parker’s MVP candidacy is the fact that he and Tim Duncan together were able to spearhead yet another 50 plus win season despite a young and relatively unproven supporting cast.

Dwyane Wade (2 Shares)- 21.2 points, 5.0 rebounds, 5.1 assists, 1.9 steals, 52% FG
Before you scroll down and rip me apart in the comments for giving Dwyane Wade only 2 MVP shares consider a few things:
1: There is no such thing as MVP Shares. They are a completely imaginary idea that I made up.
2: I’m not an expert, and never claimed to be. I’m just a kid offering his opinion on the NBA, because I watch quite a bit of it.
3: In the last three seasons, the Miami Heat are 29-7 without Dwyane Wade in the lineup.
4: Wade is a teammate of the overwhelming and deserving favorite to win the actual MVP unanimously, thus diminishing the argument that Wade is the most “valuable” player in the league.

Please, just hold off on your scathing comments for a minute. This is the part where I talk really good about Dwyane Wade. I’d be foolish and ignorant not too. There is a lot about Wade that I can praise.
1: He’s arguably the 3rd or 4th best shooting guard of all-time.
2: He’s the 2nd or 3rd best shooting guard in the league right now.
3: I still maintain the belief that Dwyane Wade’s acceptance of being the number two option for the Heat is one of the biggest reasons why Miami won the title last year, why they won 66 games this year, and why they are the odds on favorites to win the title this year. And that is in no way meant to be a backhanded compliment. Wade’s the most overqualified 2nd option in the NBA, and his willingness to accept this role has been extremely underrated.
4: For various reasons, Wade’s 2012-13 campaign was perhaps the most underrated of any player in the league. Again, when you play with LeBron James you aren’t going to get as much of the spotlight as you might deserve because he’s busy doing things that haven’t been done before. However, Wade should get the credit, even if it’s in the form of only two MVP shares.

Apr 15, 2013; Oklahoma City, OK, USA; Oklahoma City Thunder guard Russell Westbrook (0) puts up a defensive front against the Sacramento Kings during the first half at Chesapeake Energy Arena. Mandatory Credit: Mark D. Smith-USA TODAY Sports

Russell Westbrook (2 Shares)- 23.2 points, 5.2 rebounds, 7.4 assists, 1.8 steals, 44% FG
I’m going to make a prediction. Actually, it’s more of a statement because it’s incredibly unlikely that this scenario would ever be possible. Alright, here it is: If Russell Westbrook played for any average to good team that was only missing a star player at the shooting guard position he would lead the league in scoring, be the unanimous choice as best shooting guard in the league, and be a top three MVP candidate.

Look, I’m sick of people, myself included, criticizing Westbrook for not being the “prototypical point guard” that I usually enjoy watching. Are there any other legitimate criticisms against Russell Westbrook other than “sometimes he takes shots away from Kevin Durant?” There are absolutely none. He’s a freak athlete who has played every single game in his five year NBA career while playing an average of 34 minutes a night and going 150 miles per hour at all time. Seriously, is there anyone who plays harder than Russell Westbrook? If there is, it’s an extremely short list. He’s almost impossible to cover defensively because of his combination of size, speed, and athleticism. And that’s before you even talk about his pull up jumper (impossible to stop), ability to get into the paint and finish (breathtaking and impossible to stop) and perimeter shooting (improving). It’s easy to look at the situation and say that Westbrook is taking shots away from Kevin Durant. He definitely is. But at the same time, you could easily say that Durant is taking shots away from Westbrook too.

Tim Duncan (3 Shares)- 17.8 points, 9.9 rebounds, 2.7 assists, 2.7 blocks, 50% FG
Marc Gasol (3 Shares)- 14.1 points, 7.8 rebounds, 4.0 assists, 1.7 blocks, 49% FG
The race for 1st team All-NBA center and perhaps Defensive Player of the Year as well comes down to two players, and two players only. They are each getting three MVP shares regardless, but I might as well sort out my 1st team All-NBA vote while I’m here. Just so you know, before I type this entire mess out, my vote is completely up in the air. I have no preference whatsoever, especially because both guys are so similar. They don’t stand out for their flash or even their numbers. There is a whole lot more steak than sizzle. And there are few things in life that are better than a delicious steak.

The case for Marc Gasol- The younger Gasol brother makes his argument for best big man in the league with a well-rounded and uber-intelligent game. His numbers won’t blow you away, but Gasol thrives in a similar way that greats like Bill Walton and even Tim Duncan have in the past: Anchor of the defense (The Grizzlies are statistically one of the best in the league), hub of the offense (Gasol has clearly established himself as the best passing big man in the league, and although he’s not a willing scorer, he’s capable), and almost always the smartest player on the floor.

The case for Tim Duncan- Couldn’t I just copy everything I just wrote about Marc Gasol and paste it right here, since Duncan and Gasol are similar in so many ways? They are each vitally important to their respective teams success, more so than any of their teammates (with all due respect to Tony Parker). The difference between the two is Duncan’s numbers are a little more impressive, and Duncan is 36 years old and in his 16th season in the league.

Tentatively, I have Duncan a smidgen ahead of Gasol, and therefore the starting center on my 1st Team All-NBA ballot. It was damn close though. It’s like choosing between a steak at Outback or a steak at Longhorns. Frankly, I don’t even know the difference between the two restaurants, and you’re getting a damn good steak either way. 

Topics: MVP

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