MVP Thoughts - Because Forget yfBB

(This is in response to the discussion this thread.)

First, it seems that most here have conceded that Rose is not the best player in the NBA this season. However, that doesn't matter because we can see that, throughout history, the award has often NOT gone to the best player, so it's okay if Rose gets it. It doesn't seem as if anyone is seriously arguing, at this point, that Rose is the best player in the NBA this year. What they argue for him, is that: because he's the best/most exciting player on the best team in the East, and the most surprising team, he thus has the claim for it.*

I have a few problems with this line of thinking.

First, the problem with this argument that "they've got it 'wrong' before, so it's okay if it's wrong again" has a implied premise that I believe is wrong: that the people who were voting for the MVP at that time knew they were NOT voting for the best player but instead were voting for the best story of the season. I don't think they knew this explicitly. I don't think that sportswriters in general know how to properly objectively evaluate the worth of a player to his team. I think that teams, too, and even the general NBA public, aren't exact on this. I don't think most sportswriter nor most sports fans really care to truly understand the worth in objective terms of a single player to his team. My point is: in general, most sportswriters weren't voting for the best story in spite of thinking that someone else was truly the best player. They have voted for the best story, but that's merely because they thought, "How could someone have the best story for the season if he wasn't the best player."

This is the true arc of history. We get things wrong through trial and error. Sometimes we have principles and morals that we get correct the first time around. But much more often, we get it wrong. We then learn from our mistakes, or just learn new information in general. There is resistance to this change in favor of some sort of stability or continuity, but eventually we come to see the error of our old ways and slowly adapt the new ways of thinking. Because some of the news are uncertain and imprecise, we often decree them as just plain wrong. And maybe they are. Not every new idea is a good idea. But eventually, we come to a consensus, or at least a new majority thought, and we've effectively moved on to a better understanding of how the world works.

I believe we are in this transition period in how to evaluate players in the NBA.This occurred in MLB in the 90's and 00's, but I can't imagine any organization that doesn't used advanced statistics and can maintain being good long-term. Basketball is much more difficult to evaluate because there are so many moving parts and interactions and variables. Baseball offense is one-on-one. It doesn't much matter the uniforms of the players when Carlos Zambrano is pitching to Paul Kanerko. With extremely small variances, the outcome is largely going to be the same. As is essentially self-evident, basketball has soooo many more things that can affect the outcome or effectiveness of a player, on offense and defense. That said, because it is difficult does not mean it is impossible. The search for the "truth" marches on through the muddy marshes.

That said, I also don't like this idea that the MVP award is irrelevant and/or meaningless because, time and again, it hasn't gone to the best player in the league. That's horseshit and should be evident for a couple of reasons. For one, I don't think anyone would be so vociferously defending Rose time and again if they thought the award didn't have meaning. The MVP award is meaningful to the players. It legitimizes them if they aren't there yet. It solidifies their career if they're already considered great. It heightens the respect they get from their teammates, colleagues, refs, sportswriters, etc.

Of course, this all comes down to how one defines the word "value" in terms of this award. That argument has been rehashed so many times in baseball alone, that I won't get into it here.

None of this is to say that Rose shouldn't be inconsideration for the MVP this year. He clearly should be. Out of the four players widely recognized as the Bulls' best - Rose, Deng, Noah and Boozer - he's the one who has been uninjured, clearly the most exciting, and certainly the on-court leader. For those reasons, he should definitely be considered. Of course, whether he is or is not the MVP is not quite so clear-cut as those on either side of the debate would have believe.

*this, of course, is strange, because most people will acknowledge that the team defense, headed by Thibodeau, is perhaps the biggest reason for the Bulls' turnaround.

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