Jackson: The Right Choice
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SECAUCUS, N.J., Dec. 6, 2007 -- I canít lie. I thought Don Nelson had fallen and bumped his head when he decided to name Stephen Jackson captain of the Warriors prior to the start of the season.

And that was before I found out about the tattoo he got this summer that I wonít even bother going into detail to describe. Letís just say I donít approve.

This was the same Jackson who was going to start the season serving a seven-game suspension for an incident that had happened at a club? The same Jackson who had been suspended 30 games while playing for the Pacers three years ago? The same Jackson who had been ejected from two playoff games?

I found myself thinking, "Is Golden State really that desperate?"

And now I see why Nelson is often referred to as a genius.

Here we are a little over five weeks into the season and if the voting were done today, that same Jackson would receive MVP votes.

Nobody ever questioned the emotion he brought to the court, but his fiery leadership has been more contagious to the rest of the Warriors than even Nelson could have hoped.

As the Mavericksí Dirk Nowitzki found out last year in the postseason, Jackson is an excellent one-on-one defender. That toughness has carried over this season for Golden State, which is a much better defensive club with Jackson on the floor. They allow 14 fewer points per game when he plays.

Also, when Jackson is playing, Baron Davis doesnít have to try and do everything offensively by himself. Jackson can handle the ball, pass out of the post and score from the perimeter.

For the season, he is averaging 21.6 points, 4.9 rebounds and 4.1 assists per game. Last week he was rewarded for his strong play by being named the Western Conference Player of the Week.

In all of the e-mails Iíve received, people have pointed out the fact that Golden State started out 0-6 without Jackson and their record now sits at a respectable 10-8.

While his team's 9-2 record with him in uniform speaks volumes about his importance, the intangibles he brings to the game say a lot more.

Time to respond to some of your e-mails.

Bar in China: Just a suggestion, you should post some of the e-mails you get and have a trash talk forum.

Brooks: Been there, done that. Click here.

Muzzy in Colorado: My question: Yao Ming isn't in the top 10? He has been unstoppable this year. C'mon Mr. Brooks, you're killing him like Kevin Costner.

Brooks: My answer: I was in Blockbuster the other day and thought about renting that movie, but just like with Yao, after careful consideration I decided against it. Yes, Yao is arguably the top center in the West, but I don't feel like he is even the most valuable player on his own team. That honor belongs to Tracy McGrady. And with the Rockets struggling, there is no way they deserve to have two players in the top 10.

Nap in Canada: I like the Suns and I think they should get Baron Davis from the Warriors for Steve Nash. I really want to see Davis win a championship and Nash has tried for many years in Phoenix and failed. Can you pass this message on to the Phoenix Suns management?

Brooks: No problem. Mike D'Antoni, did you read that? Davis and Nash are both wonderful guards who thrive in their current systems. I don't think it is fair to blame Nash for the Suns failure to win a title and, last time I checked, Davis was ringless too.

Dan in Ohio: Hey Mo, what more does the Wizards Caron Butler have to do to make it into your rankings? He has been playing great since Gilbert Arenas went down.

Brooks: Danny, you're right. I actually had the Warriors Stephen Jackson at No. 21 this week and Butler at No. 22. The Wizards have won two in a row and their record now stands at .500. With the way that Butler has been playing (23.2 points, 6.7 rebounds, 3.5 assists), Arenas may have to get used to being a second option when he returns.

Sasha in Michigan: I'm having trouble understanding how the Pistons, who are dominating teams when they are healthy, do not have one player on your list. Explain yourself.

Brooks: OK, I'll put Tayshaun Prince on. No wait, Rasheed Wallace. No wait, Chauncey Billups. No wait, Richard Hamilton. Get it? The Pistons are probably the most balanced team in the league. They don't have one player that carries them. From scoring to leadership, they spread things out.

Fady in Canada: I think you are one of the best writers in the NBA today. Even though I disagree with you at times, I still think you always make a good case about your picks. I will be so happy when you finally take Kobe Bryant out of your top 10. Also, I think Kevin Garnett should be first, but it is hard to argue against Dwight Howard. Anyway, after reading your column every week last year, you inspried me to write a little something myself. The only way you can see it is on Facebook, so check it out.

Brooks: Two comments: First, I don't even know what Facebook is. Secondly, reading my rankings made you think, "If this guy can write, anyone can write." Come on, give me some credit.

Ahmad in California: Yo, Mo B, the reason you win fantasy championship trophies is because you play against yourself. I looked at your order for drafting and it stinks. Come on, Jason Kidd is my favorite player in real life, but in fantasy, there are a lot of better options. The guy on NBA TV, Rick Kamla, knows more about fantasy than you. Trust me, stick to writing the Race to the MVP.

Brooks: Sure Kidd may miss a game every now and then because of a migraine headache, but when it comes to fantasy hoops, there aren't many players I'd rather have over him. Remember, each league uses a different scoring system. And as far as your comment about Kamla, he doesn't want to see me. Neither does NBA.com fantasy guru Jon Loomer.

XD in Mexico: Hey, how about opening a fantasy league among some of the Race to MVP readers? It can be one massive one. You, me and the first 98 people to respond are in.

Brooks: I was never good with math, but, you, me and 98 others equals an 100-person league. So each team will have four players? Good idea, but I think it needs tweaking.

Mike in New York: If you have three Spurs in your rankings, then you need to have three Celtics in your rankings. They are the two best teams in the league so it's only right.

Brooks: If you read this, you know how I feel on this debate.

Tomas in Houston: Has anyone ever said you look like Cleveland from Family Guy?

Brooks: Not to my face.

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