Dirk Deserves MVP For What He Did During Regular Season

By Greg Moore
Updated: May 16, 2007

SAN ANTONIO — There are many in the NBA world who are thinking that maybe Dallas Mavericks’ Dirk Nowitzki is undeserving of the Most Valuable Player award this week and they are basing their assumptions and/or conclusions on his performance during the first round of the playoffs. While that maybe an easy way quantify a failure of a basketball team that was predestined to be in the NBA Finals, it is not the proper conclusion as to who is deserving of the regular season award for being very valuable to the success of the team they play for.

In reality, the premise that the award should be given to a player who is still in the playoffs is very much an uneducated assumption based upon unwritten rules of how the award is voted on in the first place.

When given the ballot sheet, NBA writers really do not have a set criteria as to who is deserving of the award. There were several candidates this year that could have garnered this distinction and they all were valuable members to their teams.

For example, Gilbert Arenas could be considered an MVP candidate. Without Arenas, the Washington Wizards had no chance of advancing in the playoffs this year.

Tracy McGrady, Yao Ming, Carlos Boozier, Baron Davis, Josh Howard, Jerry Stackhouse, Tim Duncan, Amare Stoudamire and LeBron James could all be candidates because of the contributions they gave to their respective clubs.

And in the case of Howard, Stackhouse and Stoudamire, without their immediate input, the Mavericks and Phoenix Suns may not have been as good as they were this season.

Even though there are probably thirty players that could be listed as MVP candidates, Dirk was the most deserving of the regular season award. Keep in mind what that means.

For 82 games, a player has been on top of his game and has led his team to a position they were not at in previous years. For the Mavs, that meant the best record in the NBA this season; something that had never happened. At 65-17, they were the best regular season team and he was the best player during that time.

So to deny him the honor at this time, or to demean it because his team faltered in the first round of the playoffs is unfair by sports journalist standards. If there is culpability to be had in this process, then it goes to the NBA writers who were voting on this particular award and in the rules for awarding the end of season achievement.

No winner of the regular MVP trophy has been as vilified as Dirk is being right now. Not David Robinson who won it in 1995 and yet Hakeem Olajuwan was the 1995 NBA Finals MVP.

Not Steve Nash who is a two-time winner but saw Tim Duncan and Dwyane Wade get NBA Finals MVP trophies in 2005 and 2006. And it is rare that the regular season MVP winner gets the NBA Finals MVP trophy.

The most recent player to garnish both awards is Duncan (2002-2003 season). Dirk is deserving of this award despite what many fans, writers and pundits may say. To lead a team like he led the Mavs during the regular season fits the criteria of this award and until the rules are clarified or re-written, awarding a participant this trophy for the regular season will remain what it is; the regular season MVP trophy.