A few weeks ago I jotted down my top 10 candidates for the season finale of the Blogger MVP/ROY rankings. They are being hosted by the good fellows at Sactown Royalty, so go check them out – ROY Rankings & MVP Rankings. Below are my rankings in full, and keep in mind they were written a few weeks ago.
And if you haven’t already heard the unofficial news, it looks like Lebron has been named MVP.
MOST VALUABLE PLAYER 2008-2009
1. Lebron James – Plain and simple, the most impressive MVP season we’ve seen by any player since Michael Jordan was a Bull.
2. Kobe Bryant – This season Kobe upgraded his inner-engine from the high-octane V8 that had served him for so many years, to a more advanced hybrid-electric model: the power output isn’t as great and it’s not as flashy, but it’s more efficient (best FG% of his career), better for the environment (his teammates), charges its own batteries when cruising (sitting out the 4th during blow-outs) and the combustion engine still kicks in when necessary (61 vs the Knicks). This is the Kobe of the future.
3. Dwyane Wade – Individually, what Wade did this season amounts to nothing less than historic. You take Lebron off the Cavs and they would still compete with most teams out East. You take Wade off the Heat and you’re left with a basketball punchline. A joke of a team. Are they worse than the talent that surrounded Kobe in 2005-06? F—k yes.
4. Chris Paul – Quite possibly the best ever back-to-back seasons by a player without winning the MVP. Had a once-in-twenty-years season in 07-08 and then somehow topped it this season. It’s been the Godfather II of seasons for CP3.
5. Brandon Roy – Unlike everyone else on this list, Roy has had to earn MVP attention without the weight of reputation behind him. Every other player is a perennial MVP candidate or at least multiple All-Star, and you can’t tell me that sort of pedigree doesn’t add to MVP credibility. The fact that Roy doesn’t have it and is still this high on the list means that the dude kicks ass more than you realize.
6. Chauncey Billups – Disregard the fact that the Nuggets only finished five games better this season than last. Last season the Nuggets were a volatile high-scoring star-littered NBA novelty. A team so talented yet so hot-headed they could beat you up bad without necessarily knowing how they did it. This season, they know how. Chauncey taught them.
7. Dwight Howard – Losing the chance to steal second spot in the East while Boston struggle with an injured KG = EPIC FAIL. The fact that every low-seeded East team was desperate to draw the Magic should give some indication of Dwight’s MVP worth. Shouldn’t this hulking seven-foot specimen and probable Defensive Player of the Year instill a little more fear into his opponents?
8. Tim Duncan – Duncan inevitably slipped down the MVP scale when it became clear the Spurs could no longer lay claim to the unquestioned “Second Best Team in the West” title. Incredibly, the Spurs 54 wins this season is their lowest since 1999-2000. But despite his age, Duncan has proved irresistibly consistent all season long as well as being fairly durable (missed 7 games) on a team that most agree, if Ginobili was healthy, would have been the only real challenge for the Lakers out West.
9. Dirk Nowitzki – I keep saying it. Apart from the Spurs, the Mavs are the most experienced playoff team out West. They finished the season with a flurry and over the last month Dirk has been the equal West MVP along with Roy. And they get to face the hobbling Spurs in the first round. Ok let me just cut to the chase – I would not be surprised to see the Mavs in the West Finals. The more I think about it, the more I see it happening.
10. Deron Williams – I watched him intently against the Lakers a few days ago. Deron Williams is so unstoppable it’s not funny. He toys with every guard he plays against, Chris Paul included. When it comes to point guards going one-on-one, mano-e-mano, Deron Williams has no peer in this league.
ROOKIE OF THE YEAR 2008-2009
1. Derrick Rose – The level of composure and poise this kid has is almost unfair – I thought that stuff was supposed to come with experience? Could already be the best Bulls player since Michael Jordan. Yes I went there.
2. OJ Mayo – Faded a little over the last two months in the ROY race, but only because he set the bar so high early in the season. Could be ready to come back with one of those “don’t forget about me just because the other top rookies made the playoffs and I didn’t” sophomore seasons.
3. Brooke Lopez – If you didn’t already know, now you know: Lopez has finished his rookie season as a top 10 center in this league. After Dwight, Yao, Duncan, Shaq, Bogut!!, Bynum and Okafor, I don’t know who next to put other than BL.
4. Eric Gordon – Eric Gordon has been doing big things for a team that most people have ignored all season (for good reasons, they are terrible). I saw him in person go up against Kobe a couple of weeks back and he didn’t back down for one second – the three he hit over Kobe in the final seconds was cold-blooded. He left an impression on me. My favorite from this year’s rookie class.
5. Russell Westbrook – Faded late in the season and ended up with one of the worst FG% amongst his rookie class. But we already knew shooting wasn’t his strong point, and with the strides he’s made in every other area of his game there’s no denying this has been a really solid rooking campaign. Has fully justified his higher-than-expected pick at #4 in the 2008 draft.