The MVP award To be the new Dunk Contest, not $#*!
Every year the talent that comes to the NBA gets better. Body types change and the league is becoming more athletic. Players like Giannis Antetokounmpo are denying the laws of physicality while others like Devin Booker decide they want to drop 70 points only 2 years in. LeBron is doing what he does best and Kawhi is as lethal as ever. Then, of course, we have our top MVP candidates in James Harden and Russell Westbrook. These guys are playing unbelievable basketball right now. So much so that it is leaving the NBA in a tough spot.
As the league develops, the players are getting better. As a result, the competition level grows. This is one of the main reasons we are seeing such phenomenal seasons from both Russell and James Harden. In fact, the two have played so well this season that no one can decide who should be MVP. For the NBA this spells trouble and here’s why:
The NBA has already been criticized for handing out undeserved awards. Some fans believe LeBron has been robbed of several MVP awards over the years. This season as well people criticized the league for allowing Russell to come off the bench as an all-star despite his MVP performance this season. One would be a fool to think the players don’t have some gripe against this as well.
The question now is “How important do you think the All-star game is to Russell now that he was swiped of a deserving position”? I can say confidently not much. If the NBA cannot tighten up on their calculations certain awards will begin to lose value amongst players.
Specifically this season with the MVP. This year is going to be a tough battle between Harden and Westbrook. The two are both playing MVP caliber basketball but someone has to win. Based on Russell’s record-breaking season we would hope it be him. Regardless, If the league doesn’t choose the right candidate it could mean the end of the MVP Award’s importance. Take the dunk contest for instance, Once the league’s marquee players decided it was no longer important the award value plummeted. This same pattern can happen with any of the NBA’s awards, but especially with the MVP.
Let’s say the league picks James Harden for MVP. What would compel Russell to play nearly as much and as hard as he did this year when the NBA is just going to give away his trophy? Instead, Russell could find the benefits of resting more like one of his fellow stars LeBron James. Rather than play for these “inaccurate” accolades he can devote his time to something more meaningful, like championships. Of course, this idea comes with the idea that the NBA is going to screw up again.
The idea that the MVP or any of the league’s awards could become of lesser value is not impossible. If the league continues to misfire on these awards eventually players will get fed up. It seems like LeBron James has already chosen to sit rather than compete for the MVP as he does with the dunk contest. What you don’t want if your the NBA is other marquee players following suit.