The NBA MVP debate has heated up, then cooled down. Then it heated up again, and then it cooled down, again. It seems that the MVP has come down to two players: Miami Heat forward LeBron James and Oklahoma City Thunder forward Kevin Durant.
Durant also has an argument for the award. He is averaging 27.8 ppg and 8 rpg. While he doesn’t boast the same assists per game like LeBron, Durant does something that James doesn’t: hits game-winning shots. Durant also shoots better from the free-throw and three-point lines and blocks more shots per game than James.
But both players have their teams in second place in their respective conferences. The Thunder is trying to catch the Western Conference leading San Antonio Spurs and Tony Parker. Yes, I have started to support TP for MVP and here is my case for him:
Steve Nash won back-to-back MVP’s in ’04-’05 and ’05-’06. In ’04-’05 Nash’s team had a record of 62-20, best in the league. His numbers were pretty good: 15.5 ppg and 11.5 apg with shooting splits of 50.2/43.1/88.7. Those are some pretty good numbers and Nash was in his first year with the Phoenix Suns after playing for the Dallas Mavericks the previous six seasons. Nash’s teammate, Amar’e Stoudemire averaged 26 ppg and nearly 9 rpg. He could have easily won the MVP that season but with Nash’s arrival and the fact that the Suns averaged 114 ppg, won the MVP for Nash. Shawn Marion and Joe Johnson were also on that team. This team lost in the Western Conference Finals. Allen Iverson averaged nearly 31 ppg and 8 apg and the talent on his team was nowhere near the level of Nash’s. Dwyane Wade posted numbers of 24.1 ppg, 5.2 rpg and 6.8 apg and the second best player on his team was a slowly wearing-down Shaquille O’Neal.
The next season, the Suns posted a record of 54-28 and Nash had another solid season: 18.8 ppg and 10.5 apg with shooting splits of 51.2/43.9/92.1. However, Stoudemire played in only three games that season (injury) so that season Nash was a more deserving MVP-recipient than the previous year. He also got the Suns back to the Western Conference NBA Finals.
So what does this have to do with Tony Parker?
Parker has been having the best season of his career and his team is in the driver’s seat in the Western Conference. They are not just “winning” games. It’s like they are robbing banks and jewelry stores, holding the police and FBI agents hostage while they do it. They have been averaging 103 ppg, but they have no problem scoring 130 or 140 on any given team. And it’s not like Tim Duncan and Manu Ginobili have had a helping hand in every single game. Head coach Gregg Popovich has given Duncan many nights off and Ginobili has had numerous little injuries.
The stabilizing force has been Parker. Like I said earlier, Parker is having the best season of his career: 18.4 ppg and 7.6 with shooting splits of 47.3/25/81. OK so his three-point percentage is terrible, but if you know what type of player Parker is, you’d know better than to not pay attention to his three-point percentage. He is a mid-range point guard and is the best player in the league at getting in and finishing in the lane.
Most nights he is playing with Daniel Green, DeJuan Blair, Tiago Splitter, Boris Diaw, Stephen Jackson, Cory Joseph, Gary Neal, and Kawhi Leonard. I am not saying those players are scrubs, because they aren’t. They have been playing out of their minds this season with Parker leading the way. Popovich said that Parker “grew up” after playing for the French national team this past offseason. Popovich also said that Parker basically “coached that team.”
I have made my case for Parker being the NBA MVP. He has produced and has his team in prime position for the playoffs. If Nash was deserving of MVP in 2004-2005, then Parker deserves it in 2011-2012.
- 2012 NBA MVP Watch: Kevin Durant In The Hunt (kansascity.sbnation.com)