Dwyane Wade - Miami Heat
Most Valuable Player

Named Eastern Conference Player of the Month for February ... Named Player of the Week twice ... Ranked fifth in the league in scoring (27.2), sixth in steals (1.95) and tenth in assists (6.7) ... One of two players in the league, along with Allen Iverson, to rank in the top 10 in scoring, assists and steals ... Set new franchise records for scoring average and total points (2,040) ... Scored 40 or more points four times ... Grabbed 10 or more rebounds eight times and dished out 10-plus assists nine times ... Voted in as a starter for the Eastern Conference All-Star team.

Our take:
Last year, Dan LeBatard and Bill Simmons were wrong.

You may remember that LeBatard wrote an article saying Shaq was jobbed for MVP. Simmons noted that everyone had jumped on the Steve Nash bandwagon and that Shaq was far more valuable to the Heat than Nash was to the Suns.

LeBatard and Simmons both missed the point. I don't think Shaq was even the MVP of his own team last year. That honor, to me, belonged to Dwyane Wade. And it does again this season, which makes the third-year superstar one of the leading candidates for MVP.

Wade has become a bona fide stud this season, averaging 27.2 points, 6.7 assists and 5.7 boards per game. He can do it on D as well, as he picked pockets to the tune of nearly two steals per game. The only other player to finish in the top 10 in scoring, assists and steals this season was perennial All-Star and 2001 MVP Allen Iverson.

So, while Shaq's wide body casts a shadow when it comes to people's thoughts about who's team it is, Wade, aka Flash, has more than shown that he's no flash in the pan and a force to be reckoned with -- with or without the rock.
-- Rob Peterson

From the media:
Not only is Wade one of the most athletic players in the league, be he is also a very intelligent player who generally lets the game come to him. Donít get me wrong, he can definitely take over when needed, but his court sense and basketball intellect may be unmatched by any young player in the league.
-- Black Athlete Sports Network

It was plain to see if we looked. Wade has been right in front of our eyes all season, but because his team isn't an unexpected surprise, and we already knew he was a star, we've been taking his tremendous season for granted.

For most of the season, that's blinded us to the fact that he's become the best player in the league and is far more deserving of the MVP award than any of the other candidates thus far anointed. Fortunately, it's not too late to rectify the mistake. We may not think of the Heat as "his" team, but for Dwyane Wade, this season certainly should be "his" MVP year.
-- ESPN Insider (reg. req'd)

A fan's take:
You want evidence for Wade getting MVP? There is nothing that guy can't do on the basketball court.For his height, he's probably the best shot blocker in the league and a shutdown defensive player that can stop someone whenever he wants. On the other side, he can score off of any other shutdown defender. Look at when he scored 17 straight points against the Pistons to beat them in a clutch performance. This guy can do it all and should get MVP.
-- James - Orlando, Fla.

The Numbers:
75 38.6 27.2 5.7 6.7 1.95 0.77 .495 .171 .783

Most Valuable Player - The Candidates:
Chauncey Billups - Detroit Pistons
Elton Brand - Los Angeles Clippers
Kobe Bryant - Los Angeles Lakers
LeBron James - Cleveland Cavaliers
Steve Nash - Phoenix Suns
Dirk Nowitzki - Dallas Mavericks
Dwyane Wade - Miami Heat

Others worth consideration: Carmelo Anthony, Tim Duncan, Pau Gasol, Shawn Marion

Most Improved Player
Rookie of the Year
Defensive Player of the Year
Sixth Man Award
Coach of the Year

Issac Baldizon/NBAE/Getty Images