Monday, May 09, 2005


So, my exam period has finally come to a merciful end, and I am now off of - as Jeff so eloquently put it - the "15-day DL." I missed you, baby. We've had some good times in the past, and I'm sorry I had to treat you so bad. But I's takes care of my bitches; you had to know I'd be back soon, back and, uh, about as good as ever.

So ... things have happened since last we spoke and shared and slapped and stooled. The NBA playoffs started. There was apparently a pretty lively Kentucky Derby, but I wouldn't know because who the fuck cares about horseracing. (Note: NASCAR sucks too. In fact, in my book, the only kinds of races that are worth paying attention to are in MarioKart and midget racing. But that's just me. Those are just things I like.) Hockey's still dead. The Miz got voted into the Inferno for about the eleventy-billionth time. Everyone's starting to get scared about the summer doldrums, when the only sports going on are boring-ass baseball games. And CFN released their preview on the Buckeyes ... in friggin' April, much earlier than usual, causing the likelihood of my head actually exploding from anticipation of college football to rise from 2% to about 35%.

Also, Steve Nash won the MVP award for the NBA. Now, Nash is a nice player. I've personally been a big fan of his work ever since his freshman year of college, when he and Pete Eisenrich led Santa Clara to a 64-61 win over 2-seed Arizona in the 1993 NCAA tournament. A classic game, to be sure.

Now, watching Phoenix, it's clear that Nash is the engine that makes that team go. He's unquestionably the impetus behind the resurgence of the Suns this year (which is why I don't understand why Mike D'Antoni is apparently about to win Coach of the Year: Phoenix had a fantastic turnaround this year, but if it was because of Nash - as seems to be implied if he is going to receive the MVP award - then how can you say that the coaching was so great that it warranted the coach being named the best in the league? I don't get it), and he's playing for the team that everyone wants to see win the title this season (more on that at a later time). But, of course, there is controversy around the award.

The thing is, you could make a helluvan argument that Shaq O'Neal should have been the MVP instead of Nash. Fine. And yes, I have a hard time giving a "Most Valuable" anything award to a guy who is such an obvious defensive liability. But I think that arguing about who is more deserving in this case is ultimately just going to lead to irksome nitpicking of two guys who had fantastic seasons. The argument for Shaq is that he is ALWAYS the game's more dominant player, along with the fact that the Lakers fell apart without him this season while the Mavs actually improved after getting rid of Nash. The argument for Nash is that he improved the team by 30+ games this season, and that, when he was injured for a 5-game stretch in January, the Suns lost all five games.* It's extraordinarily tough to pick one guy over the other, so I think that this would have been a perfect year in which to split the baby and give out a co-MVP, like the League did when it gave Grant Hill and Jason Kidd the co-rookies of the year back in '95.

Two other things are notable about Nash getting this award. Firstly, it prompted Miami Herald lead bonehead Dan LeBastard to write a column claiming that at least some of the reason "the little white guy beat the big black guy" had to do with race. This is so absurd that it should probably have no attention paid to it whatsoever, but it's always fun whenever the uber-annoying LeBastard makes an ass out of himself ... which is frequently. It's a blatant cry for attention from a guy who has made a living out of doing exactly that, and he's also one of the leaders of a group of columnists who make the MWB's blood boil: the jackasses who feel the need to constantly take the "devil's advocate" position, and make arguments that run contrary to all human decency and common sense, just so they can seem "edgy" and get more airtime on ESPN. Fuck that.

The other thing: P.J. Brown apparently garnered one 5th-place vote in the MVP balloting. This is idiotic to the point that I almost had a conniption when I heard it on the radio. P.J. Brown? What the fuck? This is just one more reason to make the voting for these things public, so people who do stupid shit like this have to answer to the public for their moronic decisions.

Ooh, also, it seems that in this day and age, we are defining "most valuable" less as "best plasyer," and more as "biggest difference-maker." A classic case is obviously Steve Nash, as the Suns improved by 30 games from one season to the next simply because of his acquisition. And I guess I'm okay with that. But it bears mentioning that, going by that definition of "MVP," there is a clear-cut NBA Anti-MVP, and his name is Stephon Marbury. He's the prototypical "shoot first" point guard that came around in the 90s (and was just as big a reason for the decline in level of play as things like "physical defense" were), a guy who doesn't make anyone better and needs the ball in his hands at all times. And every time he leaves a team, that team almost immediately gets better. He was teamed with KG in Minnesota, but couldn't get along with the Big Ticket, so they shipped him out of town and replaced him with Terrell Brandon. Bingo, the teams sets a franchise record by winning 50 games. Marbury ends up in New Jersey, and the team languishes in less-than-mediocrity for several years, until the Nets' management gets fed up with him and trades him to Phoenix for Jason Kidd (surely the anti-Marbury, if one exists). Guess what? The team sets a franchise record by getting 50 wins, and goes to the NBA finals in each of the first two years after the trade. Is this sounding familiar? And then, of course, Marbury left Phoenix halfway through last season, and Steve Nash came in this year and the Suns non-coincidentally turned around and won more games than any other team in the league. The lesson? If Team Stern really wants the Knicks to turn it around and be a true marquee franchise for the league, the key step in that process is NOT acquiring LeBron James. It's forcing the Knicks to trade Stephon Marbury.

* - Another big point in Nash's favor: some of you may remember that ol' Stevie Boy dated Elizabeth Hurley for a while a few years ago. This little fact was very memorably dissected by Chuck Klosterman thusly:

"You gotta give Steve Nash this: on December 11, 2001, Nash scored 39 points against the Portland Trail Blazers on 12 of 16 shooting. He scored 17 points over the final 6:23 of regulation, including two free throws with 3.9 seconds remaining that gave Dallas the win. And then he went back to his hotel room AND PROBABLY HAD SEX WITH ELIZABETH HURLEY. Nice night, dude."

Nice night, indeed. Pretty good resume for an MVP. Model-hot.


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