Week 4: Suggestion Box
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SECAUCUS, N.J., Nov. 27, 2007 -- Humor me for a second. Go ask the next five people you see if they like the shirt you are wearing. And don’t be mad at me if you hear comments like, “It’s nice, but I wouldn’t have worn it with those pants”; “Is that your little brother’s shirt because if not, you should have gotten a bigger size”; or “Personally, I wouldn’t rock it, but I guess it is OK for you.”

My point wasn’t to make you feel self conscious about your style of dress (even though you do realize that flannel shirts got played out in the early 1990s, don’t you?), but to make you understand that not everyone agrees on what is hot and what is not.

Line of the Week
Baron Davis, Warriors
Win vs. Wizards, November 23
33 points, 11 rebounds, 15 assists

For that reason, I’ve decided to open up the Race to the MVP suggestion box today. You know, like at those trendy restaurants where they have the place for customers to put slips of paper commenting on the service even though the eatery will never read or grant the request.

Here are actual improvements e-mailed to me about the current MVP voting system.

1. How come there isn’t an Eastern Conference MVP and a Western Conference MVP like in baseball?

In Major League Baseball, the National and American League play with different sets of rules so I understand having two different award winners for both. Obviously, that is not the case in the NBA. Also, like ordering an adult beverage at a bar, the award would become watered down if it is for only half of the 30 teams instead of the entire league so I'm against it.

For kicks and giggles, let’s see who the East and West MVPs would have been for the past 10 years going by the official results.

1998 – Michael Jordan, Bulls (East), Karl Malone, Jazz (West)
1999Alonzo Mourning, Heat (East), Karl Malone, Jazz (West)
2000 - Alonzo Mourning, Heat (East), Shaquille O'Neal, Lakers (West)
2001 - Allen Iverson, Sixers (East), Tim Duncan, Spurs (West)
2002 - Jason Kidd, Nets (East), Tim Duncan, Spurs (West)
2003 - Allen Iverson, Sixers (East), Tim Duncan, Spurs (West)
2004 - Jermaine O'Neal, Pacers (East), Kevin Garnett, Wolves (West)
2005 - Shaquille O’Neal, Heat (East), Steve Nash, Suns (West)
2006 - LeBron James, Cavs (East), Steve Nash, Suns (West)
2007 - LeBron James, Cavs (East), Dirk Nowitzki, Mavs (West)

2. I think it would be cool if there was an MVP award and a best player award.

I agree, that way Kobe Bryant won’t end up playing his entire career without receiving an individual trophy to recognize his greatness. In its current system, the MVP goes to the best player on one of the top teams in the league. Only one time since 1982 has the league’s most valuable player been awarded to a player on a team that didn’t win at least 50 games (Malone's Jazz) and that was during the lockout-shortened season of 1998-99.

3. Why don’t the players or fans get to vote for the MVP?

Up until the 1979-80 campaign, the players did decide who the MVP was. I don’t really have a problem with that process, and I think the general managers and coaches should also be allowed to weigh in. Currently, 125 members of the media do the official voting. As far as fans getting to vote, we already allow that – it’s called the All-Star Game. Hey, Houston’s Yao Ming is a tremendous player, but does he deserve to be a 15-time league MVP? Of course not, and that is what would happen if fan voting was allowed.

4. To keep from having mistakes like last season, the MVP voting shouldn’t be done until after the playoffs are over.

I couldn’t disagree more. As bad as it looked when Dirk Nowitzki and the Mavs were upset in the first round of the postseason by the underdog Warriors, choosing him as the MVP was the correct call. Like I’ve said 1,234 times, the Maurice Podoloff Trophy goes to the MVP of the regular season, not the playoffs.

  • If you have some more suggestions or want to talk about the ones listed above, go to the R2MVP open forum.

    Race to the MVP - The Top 10
    1. Dwight Howard, Orlando
    22.5 14.4 1.5 0.8 2.6 .605 .602
  • Last Week's Rank - 1
    I had a real tough time deciding on who should be No. 1 this week. For a second, I thought about moving Kevin Garnett or jumping LeBron James to the top spot, but how can I lower a player whose team went 3-1 and had back-to-back games of 34 points and 16 rebounds and 34 points and 17 rebounds? I can't.

  • 2. Kevin Garnett, Boston
    20.9 12.7 4.2 2.1 1.5 .561 .845
  • Last Week's Rank - 2
    Garnett is the East Coast version of Tim Duncan. Pencil him in for 20 points, 10 rebounds and a victory.

  • 3. LeBron James, Cleveland
    31.3 8.3 8.1 2.1 1.6 .491 .693
  • Last Week's Rank - 5
    Nobody on the planet is playing as well as LBJ right now and it is not even close. The only negative mark he had on his checklist was the Cavs record and now that they have won three straight, it appears that no longer will be a problem. It is scary how well this guy is balling.

  • 4. Steve Nash, Phoenix
    19.2 3.4 11.0 0.8 0.1 .551 1.000
  • Last Week's Rank - 6
    Steve, what are you doing to me? Last night while thinking about the rankings, I decide it was time to move you up and then you guys go out and get clobbered by the Warriors. Still, you have 10 double-doubles in just 14 games this season and you're a perfect 40-for-40 from the foul line.

  • 5. Tracy McGrady, Houston
    26.6 5.5 5.4 1.1 0.4 .460 .753
  • Last Week's Rank - 8
    The Rockets had lost six games in a row before T-Mac decided enough was enough. He lit up the Nuggets for 35 points and followed that effort by firing in 36 in a win over the Clippers.

  • 6. Kobe Bryant, L.A. Lakers
    27.3 6.2 4.8 2.1 0.8 .447 .863
  • Last Week's Rank - 4
    Kobe's point reduction looked good on paper two weeks ago when the Lakers were riding a four-game winning streak. Now, three losses in a row later, fans are calling for KB24 to resume his gunning ways. Word out of Los Angeles is that knee tendinitis is to blame for the lack of Superman-type performances we've all become accustomed to.

  • 7. Carlos Boozer, Utah
    25.3 11.5 2.7 0.9 0.7 .569 .776
  • Last Week's Rank - 7
    It can be argued that Boozer is second to teammate Deron Williams as far as who is more valuable in Utah. I reward the big man, who has 12 double-doubles in 15 games, for doing a lot of the dirty work.

  • 8. Chris Paul, New Orleans
    18.6 4.1 10.4 3.0 0.0 .475 .900
  • Last Week's Rank - 9
    After missing a couple of games with a sprained ankle, Paul returned to the lineup last week. His best showing was a 31-point, 11-assist effort, albeit in a loss to the Timberwolves, on Monday.

  • 9. Tim Duncan, San Antonio
    18.5 9.1 2.7 1.1 1.9 .538 .712
  • Last Week's Rank - 10
    Hey Tim, the points are right where they need to be, but can you do me a favor and start hitting the glass? You only have 19 rebounds in the last three games. It almost seems like Dwight Howard grabs that many in a half. Other than that, you're perfect.

  • 10. Allen Iverson, Denver
    23.6 2.9 7.2 2.5 0.1 .450 .811
  • Last Week's Rank - 3
    While combing the box scores, I noticed a few interesting things about Iverson's play. Two games ago, he made just two baskets - on 12 shot attempts - against the Wolves. He followed that up by handing out zero assists against the Rockets. What's going on?
  • On the Outside Looking In (averages - last week's rank)
    11. Carmelo Anthony (DEN): 25.2 PPG, 4.9 RPG, 4.6 APG - (11)
    12. Manu Ginobili (SAS): 19.2 PPG, 5.1 RPG. 4.6 APG - (13)
    13. Paul Pierce (BOS): 22.2 PPG, 5.3 RPG, 5.2 APG - (17)
    14. Yao Ming (HOU): 21.9 PPG, 10.1 RPG, 2.6 APG - (14)
    15. Dirk Nowitzki (DAL): 21.4 PPG, 8.6 RPG, 4.1 APG - (12)
    16. Deron Williams (UTA): 18.2 PPG, 3.1 RPG, 8.7 APG - (16)
    17. Jason Kidd (NJN): 11.4 PPG, 8.4 RPG, 10.4 APG - (20)
    18. Shawn Marion (PHX): 16.8 PPG, 11.7 RPG, 1.1 APG - (15)
    19. Baron Davis (GSW): 24.4 PPG, 5.5 RPG, 8.8 APG - (NR)
    20. Michael Redd (MIL): 24.5 PPG, 5.7 RPG, 4.0 APG - (NR)
  • Dropped out: Chauncey Billups (Pistons), Rashard Lewis (Magic).

  • Running the Floor

    The Wizards Caron Butler had a career year last season and was rewarded with a berth on the Eastern Conference All-Star team. Who knew that a season later the versatile forward would be even better? With teammate Gilbert Arenas sidelined with an injury for the next three months, it is up to Butler to carry the load. So far he has been up to the challenge. In the last four Washington games, he has posted a career-high 39 points once, scored at least 26 in all four games and notched a triple-double.

    Welcome back, Chris Bosh. After a slow start, the Raptors forward has regained his All-Star touch. In four games last week, he notched three double-doubles. In the one game where he failed to pull down double digits in rebounds, he scored 41.