Thursday, March 24, 2011

8 comments Dwight Howard For MVP

When NBA coaches speak their minds, it's hard to ignore their inherent bias. When Stan Van Gundy said that the media had already essentially named Derrick Rose the MVP, part of me thought "here goes Stan again." But then I remembered back to his bashing of David Stern and his dictatorial rule. Remarkably, Stern proved him right by saying that no one would hear from Stan again. Alas, o king, you were wrong.

I was one of those foul, disgusting and disrespectful media members (okay fine, I'm not a media member). I had dubbed Rose as my MVP (ya know, because my vote counts since I'm a media member). Once Stan opened his trap, I decided to give Dwight a fair shot and actually take a look at the statistics. Here's what I found:

(I'm ignoring LeBron in this article because he has Wade and Bosh. I simply cannot give the MVP award to a player with such high quality teammates. That said, LeBron is the best player in the NBA, hands down.)

Derrick Rose - 24.9 ppg (7th in NBA), .440 FG%, 7.8 APG (10th in NBA), 22.84 PER (15th in NBA)

For a clear cut MVP candidate, these numbers are less than impressive. Don't get me wrong, though. Take away Derrick Rose and the Bulls mirror the Nets and Cavs. His value, as the literal meaning of the award indicates, is extremely high. But the NBA MVP is not the most valuable player, but some arbitrary mixture of team winning percentage, most valuable player, best statistics in the league and that intangible "Wow" factor (when you watch him play, he's doing things no one else can). Using these four categories as the benchmark, Rose clearly has three of them. The Bulls are the leader of the Eastern Conference and Rose, as mentioned before, has LeBron James circa 2008-2010 value and "Wow"ness. Statistically, however, Rose is lacking as compared to his competitors. And not in a negligible way, either.

Dwight Howard - 23.1 PPG (12th in NBA), .602 FG% (1st in NBA), 14.2 RPG (2nd in NBA), 28.67 PER (2nd in NBA), 2.44 BPG (2nd in NBA).

Outside of scoring (and even that margin is not great), Dwight Howard has Rose statistically dominated, and it's not even close. In every category that a center can impact a game, Dwight is at the top of the league. His scoring is only down because he receives less touches than Rose, who handles the ball on every possession. Meanwhile, Dwight Howard has to pray that the non-pass happy combo of Jason Richardson, Gilbert Arenas, Jameer Nelson and Hedo Turkoglu find it in their hearts to dump it down low.

Looking at the Eastern Conference standings, Rose clearly has Howard beat. But the difference between 1st and 4th is a mere 6 games. Are we really going to punish Dwight because his team wins slightly fewer games? As this season has proven, basketball is a team game. So how can we vault one player over another with a small margin of wins as the deciding factor? Rose's skyrocketing to the best-player-in-the-NBA conversation has left most of the media dumbfounded and amazed. In a season in which the Magic, Celtics and Heat were expected to duke it out, the Bulls have snuck in and grabbed the conference's top spot. While this is very impressive, we have allowed this team accomplishment to cloud our view of Rose. Is he one of the league's best players? Yes. Are the Bulls terrible without him? Definitely. But would you say the same about Dwight Howard? Absolutely.

Those making the argument that Rose has worse teammates are sadly mistaken. Put simply, Howard has a group of jump shot happy teammates whose inclination towards defense and passing match that of Carmelo Anthony. To make matters worse, only Jameer Nelson can somewhat get to the basket. On the defensive end, Howard makes up for everyone's deficiencies. Orlando's defensive strategy, it seems, is to crowd all shooters and dare them to drive on Dwight. If I could tangible display a "wow", this would be it. Dwight's one fault, however, is that he does not possess this same magnificence on the offensive end. Rose, on the other hand, has a reinvigorated Loul Deng, a defensive anchor in Joakim Noah and an excellent inside scorer in Carlos Boozer. The only thing mitigating this disparity is the Bulls' constant injuries.

So let's go back to my 4 NBA MVP categories.

Statistical Winner: Dwight Howard (strong edge)

Most Valuable Player: Draw

Wow Factor: Draw

Team Winning Percentage: Derrick Rose (slight edge)

And that, my friends, is why Dwight Howard should be the MVP.

In my opinion, of course.


Dylan said...

Before anyone asks, yes, I did change the title 3 hours after I posted this. Mostly because it wasn't really "NBA MVP Watch," but instead "read my article pleading Stan Van Gundy style for Dwight Howard to get some recognition."

Bengoodfella said...

Dylan, you clearly have forgotten I have a huge grudge against Dwight Howard for reasons I can't this statement may not be true. As knowing such, you would never say something positive about Dwight Howard.

This is a tough call. Which player is the most valuable? The Bulls without Rose are probably better than the Cavs, but so then are the Magic. I think I would go with Rose over Howard though. I think the Magic would still be a good team an average center (like maybe they would have kept Gortat instead of trading him to the Suns) than the Bulls would be with an average PG.

Of course, I imagine the Magic can deal with having Turkoglu and some of the other forwards on the roster knowing Howard is back there on defense. Rose should be the MVP though. HE DOES SO MANY THINGS THAT DON'T SHOW UP IN THE BOX SCORE!

I have to admit it is closer than it appears and you made a good case. I am not sure who I would vote for. You make a good case against Rose.

Arjun Chandrasekhar said...

i've been a pretty stauch dirk for mvp guy - you can read my case here - - but i have to say this is a very convincing argument for dwight. i had rose ahead of dwight but this is the best case for howard that i have seen. I still believe that Lebron is a better candidate than both of them though, because he has the clear edge in statistical dominance and wow factor and is pretty much at a draw with them for winning percentage. people will say that they would be good without him because they have wade but that is nonsense, the rest of the roster is so flawed that they would never be this good without two superstars

Bengoodfella said...

Arjun, I guess my issue with LeBron is that it is so hard to call him the MVP w/ Wade on his team. Even with just Wade on the team, they would make the playoffs, at least with Bosh there too. I can see the Dirk argument given his supporting cast, but Dirk's numbers are down a bit. So it is a tough argument to sell.

I think it is coming down to Howard/Rose and Dylan made a good case for Howard...but I think Rose will get it.

Dylan said...

I agree that Rose will get it. Stan Van Gundy's comments were absolutely correct. And Arjun, I agree that LeBron is the best player in the NBA, but that's not what the award is about. That should be the award, but it isn't. Although if LeBron won MVP, I would be completely fine with that.

Arjun Chandrasekhar said...

i have no doubt that derrick rose will get the mvp, the media decided this a long time ago. they will never vote for lebron, and rose is the best and freshest storyline so that obviously makes him more valuable than a guy like howard that has been here before (at least this is how the mainstream media thinks). to me rose, howard, lebron, and dirk are the for guys that i would have no problem with but i think rose is the weakest candidate of the four.

here's my thing with dirk: his numbers are down, but his efficiency numbers are up (especially his shooting percentages). but when you watch the games it feels to me that he shoulder's the most load because they basically play 3 on 5 offensively and are completely dependent on his ability to create good shots despite facing an inordinate amount of deffensive pressure and attention. even his defense has been ok, and i feel like dallas would suffer more than any finals contender without him because they have the steepest dropoff from their top guy to the rest of the team. i would have no problem with howard though, because his impact on the game is so important for orlando. mainstream media members watch the ball and see how rose scores all the time; they don't notice how many of his team's defficiencies dwight covers up.

brent daniels said...

I think the backlash at Rose has nothing really to do with his game. When ever people hear someone is the favorite they have to go against him. Colin Cowherd and Skip Bayless have made a career out of it. MVP has been the best player on the best record the last few years. If a team doesn't have an individual they go to the next best record.(Lebron,Lebron, Kobe, Dirk, all one seed in their conference) By those standards its rose, since spurs lack a true candidate, same with the celtics. Surprised no one mentioned Kobe, I feel its between him Howard, and Rose for the MVP. As a Bulls fan I almost want Rose to lose the MVP just so it pisses him off to work harder. Besides MVP's seem to always lose in the playoffs. I can think of at least four times were the guy who should of won MVP knocked out the MVP. (Jordan vs. Barkley, Jordan vs. Malone, Kobe vs. KG, and Hakeem vs David Robinson)

Arjun Chandrasekhar said...

brent, i covered it on my blog, but i just can't justify voting for kobe. the fact is the lakers waited until the all-star break to turn it on. kobe certainly wasn't dogging it during the first half, but unlike the other candidates he hasn't been playing at an MVP level until the last 15 games. I also think that he easily has the most help of all the mvp candidates and shoulders the smallest load compared to rose, howard, lebron, and dirk. kobe and the lakers will be tough to beat in june but for the regular season i don't think you can vote for him.