Sunday, May 13

Is Dirk Deserving?

A few days from now, Dirk Nowitzki will be receiving his MVP trophy in a press conference. For those who aren't updated with the playoff situation and are asking "Why receive the trophy in a press conference? Why not in a game?". Ladies and Gentlemen, that is because Dirk Nowitzki and the Dallas Mavericks, owners of the 6th best regular season record in NBA history, have been ousted from the playoffs in the first round rather convincingly.

After being upset by Golden State in the first round, sparks flew and the prosecution of Dirk Nowitzki began. The media and the fans questioned Dirk's skill, clutch, and most importantly, his leadership. After a few days, the issue died down a bit, but as Dirk receives his trophy on Tuesday, the issue will revive and people will once again remember how Dirk failed to lead his 67-win team past the first round.

People question the MVP-voting standards and criteria about how the sportswriters and analysts cast their votes. A lot of people argue the claim that the MVP shouldn't be given to the "best player on the best team". But then, who should it be given to? There have been claims on a few MVP candidates that I assume take the words "Most Valuable Player" too literally. Come on, just because this superstar is crucial to a team's playoff hopes doesn't mean he deserves MVP honors. If so, then Dwight Howard should be in the top MVP picks, because without him, the Magic are a lottery team, right? What about Chris Bosh? Vince Carter? These are all GREAT players, but I doubt they deserve any MVP-honors this year. Maybe next year.

The MVP award shouldn't have boundaries on criteria. There are just too many intangibles and relativism when making a decision for the winner. Therefore, I have come up with my own criteria when deciding who should be MVP: The player with the best performance in the regular season while elevating others to the level he himself has achieved. The two go hand in hand.

Given that, I would like to discuss further arguments and questions that the random public comment about Dirk and his situation:

I just want to let everyone know that I am impartial with the situation. I would just like to view things from both sides of the point. Hey, I just want to make sure everything is fair for everyone. Let's start.

Why is Dirk MVP? He absolutely has no clutch, unlike Steve Nash!

A lot of people bring up the Double-OT classic match-up between the Mavs and the Suns. It was here where the controversy all started, when Nash was able to score the last 10 points for the Suns to force overtime, while Dirk was said to choke on game-clinching free-throws.

Praise becomes clouded with hate too quickly when the situation arises. Just to let everyone know, the Mavs and Suns season series was split 2-2. Meaning it was a tie, and you can't say for sure who was the better team.

But how can you say that when Nash came through with the clutch shots when it was needed the most?

Yes, Nash did. But like I said, how quickly we forget praise. Did you forget about Dirk's game winner in the earlier meeting of those two teams in the season? If so, click here, I'm sure it will refresh your memory. Talk about clutch shots. By the way, Jerry Stackhouse wasn't playing for the game.

What kind of MVP can't lead his team to a first round victory?

The playoffs aren't totally about regular season records. Team match-ups also play a huge role in the outcome of the series, and the Warriors have been giving the Mavs trouble since the world began. Remember, aside from Phoenix, only the Warriors were able to defeat the Mavs more than once.

Also remember that the Warriors are not rightfully the 8th seeded team. Their season was plagued with injuries, and was blessed with the 8-man trade only by mid-season, so they dropped to the 8th seed when they could have rightfully made it to around the 4th seed if they started the season healthy and with their current roster.

Dirk faded in the first round! Do you think an MVP does that?

Dirk indeed lost himself in the first round, but you have to give credit where credit is due. The Warriors clamped down on Dirk preventing him from stepping up his game. Remember that he was still having a decent series despite the Warrior defense on him. The only time he faded away was at the last game, where he couldn't even get the ball in low post because of the nasty clamp-down by the Warriors.

Claiming that your season is over if you are down 3-1? Nice confidence builder.

I agree. That was a bad statement to make. It shows your lack of confidence in yourself and in your teammates. However, I noticed something wrong with Dirk during this season's playoffs. You can't say he has no heart and fades away in crunch time. He practically carried the Mavs on his back towards the NBA Finals last year (3-point play to force OT and send the Spurs home, 50 points against Phoenix). This year however, the fire was just not there.

I was wondering what happened to that bad-ass German who was pissed like hell and claiming that they "gave it away" during last season's NBA Finals. It's a petty excuse, but at least he still has guts to have some fight still left in him.

Now he is saying that if they go down 3-1, the season is practically over? Something is really fishy about that switch in personality.

Maybe he sold the game for a hefty amount of money. Just kidding.

My thoughts on the Miami series by the way: The Mavs never choked that series. Sure, they were up 2-0 and by 13 points with half a quarter left in Game 3; but, Dwayne Wade was just absolutely phenomenal. His talent, skills, and heart rose above anybody else in those two teams. Dirk has heart, he has clutch: I remember him trading baskets with Wade in crunch time, jump shot after jump shot. I was for Miami, and all I could think of was: "Aw damn, it's in Dirk's hands... Sure basket, we're going to be down by 1 again with crumbs left on the game time". And indeed it was true. Dirk made shot after shot, but so did Wade. Miami eventually won the title.

So from all this Dirk-praising you've been doing, do you think he rightfully deserves the MVP?

No, I think Nash deserves it. Once again, I want to say that I am impartial. I just wanted to answer all the 'Dirk-doubters' who treat him like the worst player in the league and forget everything he has done as a player and everything he has given the Dallas franchise.

I think Nash should have won the award. Sure, the Mavs are 67-15 with Dirk manning the team, but I think most of the credit should go to Avery Johnson for developing team mentality: team defense, team offense, team humility, team support and other team aspects which contribute to winning. Which is why I also say that Avery should have won the 'Coach of The Year' and not Sam Mitchell, but that is a discussion for another time.

Nash is something phenomenal for the Phoenix Suns however, so I think he should have won the 'Most Valuable Player'.

Final Words:

The only important arguments however are the first two regarding Dirk's clutch since the MVP is given for the regular season performance. That's why we have the Finals MVP. The fact that Dirk was able to lead the Mavs to a 67-win season, or rather: be the best player on the team that owns the 6th best regular season in history, makes him a strong contender for the MVP. I still think the MVP decision is a very hard one between Nash and Nowitzki because both of them are just astounding. No doubt about it.

Congratulations to Dirk and best wishes to the him, along with Mark Cuban and the Dallas Mavericks fans, that he as he enters the prime of his career, improve his game and become powerful beyond measure.

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