Posted by Royce Young
MIAMI -- Amazing how public opinion can shift so quickly. During the regular season, most everyone agreed that Derrick Rose was everything an MVP should be. He led his team to the league's best record, carried them through injury and had a number of MVP-ish performances. There was debate but that largely stemmed from the stat-inclined community lashing out at Rose's Win Shares and plus-minus more than anything else.
But now, after Rose's unceremonious five-game exit where he was thoroughly outplayed by LeBron James, some are wondering: Why doesn't the MVP include the postseason?
"It's an idea that should get some traction," David Stern said before Game 1 of the NBA Finals. "I have no particular opinion on it one way or the other. And the worst answer I can give you is the truth -- it's always been done this way. That doesn't mean it's the best way to do it."
Rick Carlisle, who has a player on his team in Dirk Nowitzki that's made quite the postseason statement, said he likes the way the league does it now.
"I agree with the way they do it," he said. "And I believe the media does a good job of kind of keeping our fans informed of the difference between that award and whoever becomes the Finals MVP or the playoff MVP. I like it the way it is."
Obviously, as Carlisle points out, the Finals MVP sort of serves as a playoff MVP of sorts. But there's no doubt that in terms of legacy, a Finals MVP doesn't carry near the weight a regular MVP. Hench why this has been brought up. Some soured on Rose after what seemed to be a lackluster postseason and wanted to annoint someone new. And with the heightened level of play, visibility and importance of playoff games, some feel like a re-vote is in order.
"It's something we would consider if there was any momentum for it amongst the Competition Committee, our ownership," Stern said. "It's something we can always consider for next season."
Stern said that with sort of an air of, "Yeah, we're not really ever going to change it, but I'm answering your question as if we actually might." No sport awards its MVP to include the playoffs. Not even college athletics. It's pretty much commonplace to have the MVP given to the player that was best over the 82 games of the regular season.
If the MVP was given out after the playoffs, it would be natural though to just give it to the Finals MVP. That would be the lasting image in everyone's mind. For instance: Whoever plays better between Dirk and LeBron in this series would be the MVP. Worthy? Of course. But what about in a season like 2009 where LeBron was the obvious MVP, but Kobe Bryant won the Finals MVP? It seems like that would be a mistake to make that switch.
The last MVP to win a title came in 2003 when Tim Duncan took home both trophies. Of the 40 MVP winners, only 13 have won both. Which means I don't think we'd get a "true" MVP each season. In terms of weighing both the regular and postseason, at least.
What if you extrapolate a bit though? Should Coach of the Year be voted on after the season? Sixth Man? I mean, Jason Terry has been a much better sixth man than Lamar Odom was. It's understandable to get wrapped up in the importance of the playoffs and feel like the MVP should include that, but remember, in terms of the grand picture, the playoffs are only about 25 percent of an NBA season. More important? Definitely. But it doesn't tell the whole story.
Like Stern said though, it's worth the debate. When you see MVPs fizzle out like Rose to a better player in LeBron like this year, it makes you wonder.