Planet News Views

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

My Notes On MVP Candidates

By Scott McLean

Vince Carter would have been on my first-half MVP list, but he also made a huge impact after the middle of the season.

Lots of fans think Kobe Bryant deserves to be the MVP. Kobe had an outstanding season, leading the league in scoring. But the Los Angeles Lakers struggled at times.

Steve Nash might win the award for a second time in two seasons. He made the Phoenix Suns a contender and did it without Amare Stoudamire most of the season.

Chauncey Billups is a lot like Nash in terms of excellent ball handling, passing and creating scoring opportunities for teammates. They are unselfish players in an era of superstars who demand to shoot all the time.

Assists win basketball games. Passing to the open man for high-percentage shots is what Nash and Billups do best, and that's why their teams are championship contenders.

Billups and the Pistons have homecourt advantage throughout the playoffs, while Nash and the Suns were second in the Western Conference.

LeBron James was phenomenal all season, but I felt he was at his best in the second half of the season when he turned the Cleveland Cavaliers into a contender.

Scoring in many different ways, from jump shots and dunks to three pointers, LeBron was unstoppable. However, scoring was just part of his game. His great passing and leadership were wonderful to watch, and they made the Cavaliers a legitimate playoff team.

Some players did not make my MVP lists, but they deserve recognition, too. Elton Brand is the main reason for the other Los Angeles team reaching the playoffs. The Clippers, not the Lakers, are now the best L.A. team in the NBA.

Yao Ming had a great second half of the season, dominating at the center position. He gave the Houston Rockets hope with several huge scoring and rebounding performances.

Yao became a real leader on the team, with Tracy McGrady out a large number of games.

Carmelo Anthony led the Denver Nuggets to the division title, but the team struggled at times. Carmelo should be mentioned because he had a fine season and didn't have that much help.

In a last minute decision, I chose to put Dirk Nowitzki on the MVP list, instead of Brand or Yao, because his Dallas Mavericks battled the San Antonio Spurs for best record in the Western Conference.

The Mavericks have quite a few good players, so they are a strong title contender. Nowitzki is phenomenal scorer, good passer and all-around great player, and that is why I picked him for the list.

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