SECAUCUS, N.J., Nov. 13, 2007 -- I have bad news Celtics fans. You know that championship parade you were planning for downtown Boston after acquiring Kevin Garnett this summer? I wouldn’t go out and buy any confetti or balloons just yet.
And no, it has nothing to do with the fact that the West is best.
If recent history is any indication, the reason that you won’t be hoisting the NBA Finals trophy is because Garnett has emerged as the favorite to be named MVP this season.
Over the past 10 years, that hasn’t exactly been a winning formula for team success.
Chicago’s Michael Jordan (1997-98), the Lakers’ Shaquille O'Neal (1999-2000) and the Spurs Tim Duncan (2002-03) are the only three players to combine winning the league’s most prestigious individual award with a ring.
As a matter of fact, being named MVP doesn’t even guarantee your team an invitation to the Finals.
Look at how the season ended for the past 10 MVPs.
1997-98: Michael Jordan, Chicago – Won NBA title. 1998-99: Karl Malone, Utah – Lost conference semis. 1999-00: Shaquille O'Neal, L.A. Lakers- Won NBA title. 2000-01:Allen Iverson, Philadelphia – Lost NBA Finals. 2001-02: Tim Duncan, San Antonio – Lost conference semis. 2002-03: Tim Duncan, San Antonio- Won NBA title. 2003-04: Kevin Garnett, Minnesota - Lost conference finals. 2004-05:Steve Nash, Phoenix – Lost conference finals. 2005-06: Steve Nash, Phoenix - Lost conference finals. 2006-07:Dirk Nowitzki, Dallas – Lost first round.
Last Week's Rank - 2
Hey KG, knock it off. I thought you and I had a deal where you would start the season off slowly and then pick up steam so that I wouldn't have to keep you in the top spot for the next 20-something weeks? So much for you being a man of your word. But seriously, as well as Garnett played in Minnesota, was he ever this good?
Last Week's Rank - 4
The Rude E-Mail of the Week winner: Chris in North Carolina - "Carlos Boozer? Are you serious? All he does is average a double-double. You can take any forward like Zach Randolph and put him in Utah and the Jazz would still win." Right Chris, and if you starred in American Gangster instead of Russell Crowe, it would still be the No. 2 movie in America. It's not that easy my friend.
Last Week's Rank - 1
Have you ever ended a relationship by saying "It's not you, it's me"? That is kind of the thinking behind me dropping T-Mac two places this week. With the exception of his 12-point outing last Tuesday, he has been exceptional.
Last Week's Rank - 6
With the Hornets off to a 6-2 start and Paul leading the league in helpers, the flavor of the week has been comparing CP3 to Utah's rising point guard Deron Williams. After watching him toy with the Nets on Monday, a better comparison might be against Phoenix's Steve Nash or New Jersey's Jason Kidd - the best two quarterbacks in the league.
Last Week's Rank - 8
I know the Nuggets are supposed to be Carmelo Anthony's team, but apparently someone forgot to tell Iverson. His shooting percentage and assists per game are both up and as he showed Monday night when he torched the Cavs for 37 points, he's still a big-time scorer.
Last Week's Rank - 3
I don't know about you, but I'm pretty excited to turn on NBA TV tonight at 8:30 ET to see Kobe go head-to-head with San Antonio's Bruce Bowen. The league's best offensive player against the league's best one-on-one defender.
Last Week's Rank - 5
Duncan's numbers aren't off the chart, but the Spurs are still winning and that is all that has ever mattered to him. With the team focused on repeating, expect TD to get a lot more rest during the regular season than normal.
Last Week's Rank - 15
Not a bad few days for Yao. He had over 200,000,000 viewers tune in for his matchup against Yi's Bucks, was named the Western Conference Player of the Week and is off to the best start of his career.
Last Week's Rank - 14
How do you follow up a 22-point, 20-rebound, three-block performance against the Knicks? By dropping 33 points and grabbing 18 rebounds the next night on the Suns. I thought Moses Malone was retired?
Last Week's Rank - 9
Talk about doing whatever the team needs in order to get a win. With Amare slowed because of a knee problem, Nash has decided to play the role of scorer. The result? He has topped the 30-point mark in three of his last five games.
On the Outside Looking In (averages - last week's rank)
Dropped out: Danny Granger (Pacers), Jason Terry (Mavericks)
Running the Floor
Like Santa Claus during the holidays, I checked my list twice and couldn't find a way to squeeze Cleveland's LeBron James into the top 10. Through eight games, King James' gang sports a 4-4 record, including a 22-point loss the night before the player rankings were compiled. That's not exactly the best way to impress the judges.
If you read this, then you know I'm a huge fan of Utah's Deron Williams. Still, he dropped a few places in this week's player rankings despite the fact that the Jazz went a perfect 4-0 because of his turnovers. D-Will (is that his nickname?) started the week by committing eight miscues against the Cavaliers and ended it by having the same amount of turnovers (six) as he did points against the Kings. R2MVP Mailbag curse? Nah, just a couple of bad games, he'll be fine.