Handicapping the MVP Race

Handicapping the MVP race

Great article about who should win this year’s NBA MVP award.  Love Bill Simmons’ his case for Kevin Love, I’ve been saying it for most of the season.  The link to the article is listed above.  If you don’t have time to read the whole article at least read his case for Kevin Love which I will post below, because I’ve been saying this for quite some time.  

Bill Simmons: 

“3. Kevin Love (+1200)

Fact: Love is averaging 26.5 points and 13.6 rebounds with 45/39/82 shooting splits right now. This seems impossible, I know. I checked five times. It’s definitely true.

Fact: Neither Tim Duncan, Kevin Garnett, Charles Barkley, Chris Webber, Larry Bird nor Karl Malone ever averaged 27 points and 13 rebounds per game in the same season.

Fact: Love’s low-post game has really turned into something special. He can make 20-foot stepbacks, jump hooks or up-and-unders. He can back guys down and get easy five-footers. He can pull bigger guys away from the hoop and shoot 3s over them. And if you double-team him, he’s one of the best low-post passers we have.

Fact: I’m not a giant fan of adjusted plus-minus stats, especially for individual players, but it’s worth mentioning that Minnesota averages about 107 points per 100 possessions when Love plays and about 97 points per 100 when he sits (one of the highest discrepancies in the league). Check out this really confusing and über-dorky page for more details.14

Fact: Even after Minnesota’s inspiring postseason run was derailed by Kobe pulling a Bernard Pollard on Ricky Rubio’s right knee,15 Love simply refused to allow them to stink — and by the way, when the rest of your top eight is Luke Ridnour, JJ Barea, Nik Pekovic, Darko Milicic, Mike Beasley, Martell Webster and Wesley “What Happened to Me????” Johnson, you stink — averaging a Moses-at-his-apex-like 31 and 15 for the month of March. 31 and 15???????? Sorry, I have to swear … ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME???16

Fact: Love sent an Oklahoma City game into overtime two weeks ago by posting up 25 feet from the basket, sealing his guy off, then draining a buzzer-beating stepback 3 that was so blatantly ripped off from Larry Bird that he should have just worn a blond permafro wig. If you’re ripping off the Legend successfully, you have my attention.

Fact: Watching Love and Rubio run high screens was my single favorite thing about this season. They were on another level of … everything. It was just sublime. I can’t tell you how much I loved it. It was basketball porn. DVDs of Love-Rubio high screens should be edited and handed out at basketball camps with the title, “How to Run High Screens.”

Fact: In back-to-back summers, Chris Wallace traded Love’s rights for O.J. Mayo’s rights17 and drafted Hasheem Thabeet over James Harden and Ricky Rubio … and somehow, Memphis is still my favorite 2012 sleeper. I know, this has nothing to do with Love’s MVP campaign. I just didn’t know where else to put it in the column. The Love/Mayo swap doesn’t get mentioned nearly enough.

Fact: Love rates off the charts on the most crucial MVP question: Would the difference in his team’s victory total drop dramatically if you replaced him with a half-decent player all season? The answer? Hell yes. You can’t blame Love because he’s playing for a .500 team in a stacked conference, or because that team fell out of the playoff race only because its second-best player went down. That’s a 13-win team if you flipped him with, say, Brandon Bass. It’s true.

Fact: Despite everything you just read, Love can’t make First-Team All-NBA because of our next two guys.”

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