By Steve Aschburner, NBA.com
Posted Nov 5 2010 4:13PM
Here at The Race, members of the MVP committee expect instant gratification as much as the next impatient guy or gal.
Just the other morning, we were forced to wait an ungodly amount of time (probably 37 seconds) for our morning cup of Joe, while coping with a ridiculously slow Wi-Fi connection and sneering at the discarded, dead-tree news product lying on the next table, so feeble in its seven-hours-old attempt to report the outcome of a particularly close gubernatorial race.
It was a trifecta of pokiness, an interminable delay of our inalienable right to immediate satisfaction. For a moment, we were reminded of what life felt like back in the stone age of, oh, 1993. And, rats, even that moment of snarky reflection lasted too darn long! No wonder we live in a time of ... One. Word. Sentences.
We share this tale to assure faithful followers of The Race that we, too, are frustrated by the need to withhold final judgment on the NBA's 2010-11 Most Valuable Player until three-and-a-half months into, you know, 2011. We understand the impatience that had so many of you e-mailing -- the committee does not accept snail mail because it's just too darn s-l-o-w -- your desires for verdicts to be pronounced a week ago, when the season was three days old.
One game worth of data? Two games? Good enough for many of you. Let's go! Get on with it! What do you have against Monta Ellis anyway?! And where's Luis Scola?!
In the inaugural edition of the 2010-11 Race, the committee sought a balance between the NBA's quick starters and its proven contenders, guided by the maxim that cream rises to the top (and flukes eventually fall). The alternative approach -- being whipsawed back and forth, up and down, by a sample size of one or two performances -- just seemed too rash.
It also has some inherent problems that the committee has decided to demonstrate this week. But then, a lot of folks apparently like rash.
To show how limiting a rush to coronation might be, it seemed logical to apply standards typically used in MVP selection near the end of a long regular season to a league that has been open for business a whole 10 days.
First, we limited consideration to those players whose teams had winning records through Thursday's games. After all, MVPs don't come from clubs that are .500 or worse, right? There were 12 such teams.
Then the committee focused on the leaders in four statistical categories: Points per game, rebounds per game, assists per game and player efficiency. MVP winners traditionally rank high on one or more of those lists. Of the players who sat among the Top 20 in those categories as of Friday morning, 25 come from the aforementioned dozen winning teams. Eleven guys appear on two or more, with 14 showing up just once.
But wait, more filtering is required. Over the past 10 years, every MVP winner finished not just in the Top 20 but in the Top 10 in at least one of those stats. Seven of them showed up on more than one list and the other three -- Dirk Nowitzki (2007), Steve Nash (2006) and Nash again (2005) -- ranked No. 1 respectively in efficiency, assists and assists.
So to satisfy the small but vocal "Who's The MVP Right NOW?" faction of readers, we applied that Top 10 standard to stats leaders from the 12 winning teams. That left us with a field of just 13 possible candidates. A limiting and unrealistic 13, neglecting several heavyweights -- notably from Miami -- who almost certainly will play themselves and their teams into consideration over their next 77 games or so.
But for a week, to show what can happen by overreacting to a few good performances, we're lining up our MVP picks only from the list of 13. And with all due respect to David Lee, Marcus Camby and Andre Miller, the committee just could not find room in its weekly list of 10. Better luck next time, after everyone has logged 17 days of 2010-11:
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