SECAUCUS, N.J., April 17, 2007 -- I walked into my editor’s office the other day (actually, he has a cube) and tried to explain how traffic numbers would decrease without Race to the MVP on the site, like when we took down the Dance Team Bracket.

I told him that I still had columns I wanted to write about players like the Warriors’ Baron Davis and the Bobcats’ Gerald Wallace and how I needed another week or two in order to bump Chris Bosh up to the No. 5 spot.

I begged for the chance to write a few more articles so that I could break down how Magic Johnson and Michael Jordan never won three straight MVPs or how come Kobe Bryant, the best player in the game today, still hasn’t won one.

I pleaded my case to be allowed to wax poetic about how this could be the closest MVP vote ever and how after 24 weeks of using my secret scientific formula (it involves player’s names and a dart board), I’m not 100 percent sure of who the choice should be.

And my editor's response?

“Your last Race to the MVP column will come out Tuesday and if you want, you can write a mailbag on Friday.”

Disappointed, I walked away mumbling how I need more time.

I tried people, really I did. Unfortunately the most valuable player is a regular season award. The league starts playing for keeps on Saturday.

So, the winner of the 2006-07 MVP Award is … Tim Duncan.

Line of the Week
Kobe Bryant, Lakers
vs. Sonics, April 15
50 points, 8 rebounds, 3 assists
18-for-25 FG, 11-for-13 FT

Just kidding. Although it did cross my mind for a second. After all, Timmy basically does everything on the court perfectly.

From running the pick-and-roll to always being in the correct position on both ends of the floor, there aren't many things he can't do. He is the unquestioned leader of a Spurs team that will finish with the third-best record in the league.

Although his numbers aren't through the roof, they are definitely good enough to be in the MVP conversation. Still, the Spurs seem to win games when he puts up average stats like 12 points and 10 rebounds. And this year, more than any year in the past, Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili took on a bigger role for San Antonio.

Every season a case can be made for Duncan to be the winner. This season is the exception.

So that means Kobe Bryant is taking home the trophy, right?


No, Kobe Bean Bryant won’t be named MVP this season. Heck, Bryant, arguably the best basketball player in the world, probably won’t even finish second or third when the results are officially announced in a few weeks.

For all of the gifts he displays on the court, Bryant fell short in a key category needed to claim the league's most prestigious award - winning. With one game left in the season, the Lakers are only 41-40.

Phil Jackson set the team up for Kobe to take all of the shots, to have the ball in the key possessions and to get all of the credit for their success. With that being said, KB24 has to get the blame when they come up short.

So despite his 10 50-point games, Kobe is not the guy.

That opens the door for Tracy McGrady.

Stop laughing. I'm being serious. Who in the league is playing better than T-Mac right now? When Yao was sidelined with the leg injury it was McGrady that held the Rockets down. Now that Yao is back, McGrady is playing better than ever. When healthy, he meant as much to his team as any player in the league.

The main reason he won't win the award is because he didn't become a serious contender until right before the All-Star break and because Yao may steal a vote or two away from him.

So that means the more things change, the more they stay the same. Steve Nash does it again.

Nash, has taken home the trophy at the conclusion of the past two seasons. He is the heart and soul of a truly special team and is trying to join immortals Bill Russell, Wilt Chamberlain and Larry Bird as the only players to ever be named MVP three times in a row.

As great as he has been in this, his career season, it is hard to imagine Nash accomplishing something that legendary players such as Michael Jordan and Magic Johnson couldn’t accomplish. Watch a Suns game and it is almost impossible not to fall in love with what he does on the court. His game is beautiful.

Obviously he makes everyone around him better. He almost always makes the right decision with the ball and is just as good at scoring as he is at passing. Phoenix is 2-4 when Nash, who this season has career highs in field-goal percentage (53.4), three-point percentage (46.0), scoring (18.8) and assists (11.6), is out of the lineup.

After saying all of that, how can he not be the winner?

There won't be a three-peat this season because the winner of the Haier Race to the MVP is Dirk Nowitzki.

If you have been following the R2MVP, and I know you have been, you know by now that Nowitzki has been the man to beat for weeks. As soon as the Mavericks won their 60th game and had their sights set on 70, the award became his to win or lose and he has definitely done nothing to lose it.

He has become one of the most versatile players in the game. His limitless range on his jumper always has to be on a defense's mind, while he can also kill teams from the free-throw line, high post, mid post and low post.

Also, he is an above-average rebounder and his defense has improved.

The Mavericks, who started 0-4 and have gone 66-10 since, are having one of the best NBA seasons ever. Nowitzki is the biggest reason for their success. A year after they fell just short of winning the NBA title, he has made sure they haven't let down.

He is the team leader, both on and off the court, and the most deserving recipient of the 2006-07 MVP award.

Here are the final player rankings for the season.

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    Race to the MVP - Overall Player Rankings
    1. Dirk Nowitzki, Dallas
    24.6 8.9 3.4 0.7 0.8 .501 .903
  • Last Week's Rank - 1
    Besides being the winner of the Haier Race to the MVP, Nowitzki, who is from Germany, is in line to become the first player who didn't play high school or college basketball in the United States to win the Maurice Podoloff Trophy.

  • 2. Steve Nash, Phoenix
    18.8 3.5 11.6 0.8 0.1 .534 .898
  • Last Week's Rank - 2
    It may not be the holiday season but Nash is in a giving mood. He has handed out 47 assists in his past three games for Phoenix, which has won five of its past six.

  • 3. Tracy McGrady, Houston
    24.6 5.3 6.5 1.3 0.5 .431 .707
  • Last Week's Rank - 6
    Yes, Kobe is the No. 1 scorer in the league but don't sleep on T-Mac and his all-around offensive game. In his last five games, he has scored 40, 27, 32, 25 and 39. Just as impressive, he has handed out more than seven assists and grabbed at least seven rebounds four times over that period.

  • 4. Kobe Bryant, L.A. Lakers
    31.5 5.7 5.4 1.5 0.5 .461 .869
  • Last Week's Rank - 4
    Talk about going out in style. Bryant has reached the 50-point mark twice in the past three games. This season he has 10 games of 50 or more points. Wilt Chamberlain is the only other player to reach that mark that many times.

  • 5. Tim Duncan, San Antonio
    20.0 10.6 3.4 0.8 2.4 .546 .637
  • Last Week's Rank - 3
    We move Duncan up in the player rankings and he rewards us by getting ejected for laughing on the bench against the Mavericks on Sunday. Tim, do me a favor and stop thinking about the R2MVP mailbags during the game. Refs don't like that.

  • 6. LeBron James, Cleveland
    27.5 6.8 6.0 1.6 0.7 .476 .702
  • Last Week's Rank - 5
    Most experts picked James to win the MVP at the start of the season (yours truly picked Nash). Anyway, since missing the April 1 game against the Celtics, LBJ is averaging almost 29 points, eight assists and six rebounds a contest.

  • 7. Chris Bosh, Toronto
    22.6 10.8 2.5 0.6 1.3 .495 .783
  • Last Week's Rank - 7
    Despite wrapping up the Atlantic Division, the Raptors have shown no sign of a let down, winning six in a row. Bosh continues to play at a high level, despite having his streak of consecutive double-doubles snapped at 11.

  • 8. Carmelo Anthony, Denver
    28.9 6.0 3.8 1.2 0.3 .476 .808
  • Last Week's Rank - 10
    Carmelo Anthony needs to score 33 points in his final game to join Alex English and Kiki Vandeweghe as the only Nuggets to average at least 29 points per game in a season.

  • 9. Carlos Boozer, Utah
    21.1 11.8 3.0 1.0 0.3 .562 .685
  • Last Week's Rank - 12
    Although I don't get an official vote, if it were up to me Boozer would be on the second or third All-NBA teams. Not only is he averaging a double-double for a division winner, he is shooting an impressive 56 percent from the floor.

  • 10. Chauncey Billups, Detroit
    17.2 3.4 7.1 1.2 0.3 .430 .883
  • Last Week's Rank - 9
    The Pistons floor leader has been slowed since taking a knee to the thigh last Wednesday against the Magic. Hopefully that won't be a lingering problem for Mr. Big Shot come playoff time.
  • Close But No Cigar (season averages - last week's rank)
    11. Amare Stoudemire (PHX): 20.4 PPG, 9.7 RPG, 1.3 BPG - (11)
    12. Gilbert Arenas (WAS): 28.5 PPG, 4.6 RPG, 6.9 APG - (8)
    13. Vince Carter (NJN): 25.3 PPG, 6.0 RPG, 4.7 APG - (19)
    14. Josh Howard (DAL): 18.9 PPG, 6.9 RPG, 1.8 APG - (14)
    15. Dwight Howard (ORL): 17.7 PPG, 12.3 RPG, 1.9 BPG - (15)
    16. Deron Williams (UTA): 16.4 PPG, 3.4 RPG, 9.4 APG - (13)
    17. Yao Ming (HOU): 25.0 PPG, 9.4 RPG, 2.0 BPG - (20)
    18. Allen Iverson (DEN): 26.3 PPG, 3.0 RPG, 7.2 APG - (18)
    19. Shaquille O'Neal (MIA): 17.3 PPG, 7.4 RPG, 1.4 BPG - (17)
    20. Kevin Garnett (MIN): 22.4 PPG, 10.8 RPG, 4.1 APG - (16)
  • Just missed out: Baron Davis, Warriors; Zach Randolph, Blazers; Jason Kidd, Nets; Luol Deng, Bulls; Shawn Marion, Suns; Elton Brand, Clippers.

  • Running the Floor

    Eleven players have been named MVP more than once. Spurs forward Tim Duncan and Suns guard Steve Nash, who have both won the award twice, are the only active multiple winners.
    Maurice Podoloff, who the MVP Award is named after, founded the Basketball Association of America in 1946 and negotiated a merger with the National Basketball League to form the NBA in 1949. He was the first president of the NBA. The official MVP is voted on by a special group of media members.