For the first time in quite a while....there are a multitude of MVP candidates and most have a realistic shot at winning the thing. While there are about 10 candidates [Elton Brand, Pau Gasol, Carmelo Anthony, Tony Parker are others] there is only six guys who look to have a shot at bringing home the hardware.
STEVE NASH, SUNS
YES.....He is having a better season than his MVP season of last year. Only Larry Bird has improved his scoring higher the season after winning the MVP than Nash. In the definition of "valuable", Nash is considered to be the best player at making his eammates better.
NO.....Some voters may not be willing to put Nash up on quite a high pedastal. He'd join Russell, Chamberlain, Kareem, Moses Malone, Bird, Magic, Jordan and Duncan as the only back-to-back winners and some people don't see Nash in that light. And with excuses to give the award to Bryant or James....it may be a struggle.
DIRK NOWITZKI, MAVERICKS
YES....Since voting was taken over by the media back in 1980-81, only twice has an MVP been on a team that won less than 56 games [Moses Malone in '82 and Michael Jordan in '88]. Only three teams finished with that total and there is only one other MVP candidate.
NO....Nowitzki would be the first pure foreign player to win the award. Sure, Steve Nash, Tim Duncan and Hakeem Olajuwon won the award previously. But all three of those guys also played college ball in the United States.
LEBRON JAMES, CAVALIERS
YES......After missing the playoff in his first two seasons, James has his Cavs in the playoffs and with, possibly, the 3rd best record in the East.
NO......He'd be the youngest MVP in the history of the NBA. Also, to make the argument about how James has gotten this far with inferior teammates doesn't fly as well when Kobe Bryant supporters can say the same thing....and in a much tougher conference.
KOBE BRYANT, LAKERS
YES....He's the leading scorer and has had one of the most unbelievable seasons in quite some time. He dumped 62 in three quarters againt Dallas [outscoring them] and then knocked in 81 points....the 2nd best game in NBA history. He will have the highest scoring average in nearly two decades and will have the 9th best scoring average season in NBA history. Also, he most likely wins the "take him off his team" argument.
NO.....His team will win just 44 or 45 games, easily the worst of any of these candidates and the worst record since Kareem Abdul Jabbar won the award for a playoff-less Lakers squad. Also, the scoring feats don't matter. Of the 8 better scoring seasons....only Wilt Chamberlain in 1960 won the MVP award. Also, he's not quite beloved by the media, which votes for this thing.
CHAUNCEY BILLUPS, PISTONS
YES.....There is the "best player on the best team" argument. He's also one of the NBA's clutch players. Maybe not hitting game winners....but making smart decisions late and able to knock down free throws to ice games.
NO.....Well, he's one of four All Stars on the Pistons, so it isn't like his team isn't pretty good.
DWAYNE WADE, HEAT
YES.....Superstats site 82games.com says that the Heat are +8 per game with Wade on the floor, and -8 when he isn't. Valuable?
NO.....Well, his team has been a mild disappointment. And while Wade has definitely made a splash, he hasn't made as big a splash as Kobe and LeBron have made this year. And the Shaq Factor will hurt him, as many will feel he has it a tad easier with Shaq inside.
I pick Bryant. Again, I think that if you took all these guys off their teams and inserted Joe Q AveragePlayer in their slot....the Lakers would suffer the worst. To me, it is unreal that this team is in the playoffs and having a shot at winning a series.