Chris Sheridan covers the NBA as a writer and reporter for ESPN. He recently wrote about his Case For Kevin Garnett as this years MVP. Of course we have a rebuttal and want to make it clear to Chris Sheridan that you are wasting your time! Here’s our response to each one of your points. Words in Italics are those of Chris Sheridan’s, and those in regular font are ours:
His numbers? Well, if you’re judging him solely by his individual numbers, maybe it’s true that he doesn’t belong in the debate. Garnett does not lead his team in scoring (he’s averaging 19.0 points, second on the team to Paul Pierce’s 20.1), is third in minutes played and does not lead the Celtics in either of the two defensive stats, steals and blocks — all stats the numbers-oriented people get so hyped up about when it comes to choosing an MVP.
These numbers have always been a critical component when choosing the MVP each and every season. It’s largely how Kevin Garnett won his first MVP back in the 03-04 season. So to say that the numbers are not that important is just ridiculous. Nearly every year an MVP is chosen, that MVP has had a fantastic season statistically. Most recently, cite Dirk Nowitzki and Steve Nash!
The No. 90.5, which is the average number of points being scored per game against the Celtics’ league-leading defense. (Wednesday’s game was broken open in the third quarter, by the way, when Garnett began aggressively denying Amare Stoudemire the ball and held him to a scoreless third quarter in which Stoudemire committed four turnovers as Boston broke the game open.)
This is a fantastic team statistic. It should be noted that they play a majority of their games in a very struggling Eastern Conference with teams who do not put a bunch of points on the scoreboard. This is a great statistic, but too small to influence the MVP race.
The No. 24, which is the number of victories the Celtics have accumulated in 29 games against teams from the Western Conference. Yes, you can make the case that the West is the much stronger conference, but you can’t use that argument against Garnett in the MVP race when you look at how the Celtics have performed against those teams.
Many teams have been quoted explaining the different style of play the Celtics play, particularly on the defensive end. The Western Conference has so many high powered offensive teams that they are used to playing against each other’s styles. When they go up against the Celtics only 2 times during the season, they have a difficult time adjusting. Either way, it’s a very impressive stat. It should be noted the high level play that Paul Pierce has played on those western conference road trips.
That last nugget brings us to our second Garnett-for-MVP story, the one that happened afterward as Garnett and Pierce sat together at the interview podium and Garnett had just finished explaining how he had been trying to tune out the crowd’s “MVP” chants when they started up with six minutes left.
“This is my MVP right here,” Garnett kept saying, pointing to Pierce while repeating a line he has been uttering ad nauseam throughout this season.
Oh that’s cute! KG and Pierce having a tender moment. Seriously Chris Sheridan is this the kind of crap ESPN pays you to put together. Don’t waste our time with Oprah moments in debating the MVP award.
The MVP debate will continue over the final three weeks of the regular season, and the thinking here is that Bryant will ultimately edge Garnett when the votes are counted, with Paul finishing third, LeBron James fourth and Dwight Howard fifth. But that does not mean that Bryant is clearly the most deserving.
Could not disagree more. Read what Charles Barkley says about why Kobe Bryant is clearly the most deserving. He’s the one on Inside the NBA on TNT, while you Chris Sheridan are stuck writing on the back pages for ESPN.com. Who’s the real expert.