What is the NBA’s Most Valuable Player award worth in 2020?
It would’ve been impossible to imagine a few years ago, but the most prestigious award in the association has become little more than a laughingstock for a large portion of the community – fans, coaches, and players alike. Even the mission statement of what the award is given out for has been lost in translation over the years. The official description of the MVP award states that it is given to “The best performing player of the regular season” but, according to some of the voters, it’s awarded to the most VALUABLE player in the league and not necessarily the BEST. My response to that would be: What’s the difference?
The entire concept of “Most Valuable > Best” or vice versa can simply be summed up as a distinction without a difference. Who cares if someone drags a not-so-stellar supporting cast to a 7th seed (Like Russell Westbrook’s MVP campaign in 2017) if it results in a first-round exit? This notion that a player is more “valuable” than another simply because he has a worse team around him, even if that player’s team has fewer wins, is asinine. These are the excuses that voters use to pick someone that isn’t the obvious choice. The sad fact is that, for a lot of people, true greatness is boring. It’s uninteresting. The term “Voters’ Fatigue” is thrown around a lot, and it is absolutely a real thing and not something that has just come around in the last few years.
Let’s look at the 1990s for example. Michael Jordan was the undisputed best player in the world from 1990-1998 (save for the 93-94 season when he didn’t play, of course). From the 90-91 season through 97-98, MJ only won the MVP award four times (91, 92, 96, & 98). That means there were three seasons where the best player in the league by a country mile did not walk away with the award for “The best performing player of the regular season”. If you think that’s bad, just look at the career of LeBron James. The king has been almost inarguably the best player on the planet since 2009 (his first MVP season). Since that season, James has only added three more of those trophies to his collection (2010, 12, & 13). That means that EIGHT times In the past 11 years the league’s best player didn’t walk away with the award given to the league’s best player.
Every season they try to convince us that LeBron may not actually be the best player in the world, and then come June (when the chosen MVP is, more often than not, already bounced from the playoffs) they just end up looking silly when LeBron is preparing for his 85th finals appearance in a row. That is exactly where we find ourselves today. LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers are heading to the NBA Finals after the king’s virtuoso 38 Point – 16 Rebound – 10 Assist performance to clinch the Western Conference crown last night. Meanwhile, Giannis Antetokounmpo, the man who beat out James for the MVP for the second year in a row, is sitting at home since his team was eliminated from the playoffs over two weeks ago.
Point is: What does anyone achieve from the award constantly being given to someone who everyone knows isn’t the best player in the league? Does Giannis get any rub from winning an award that a vast majority of fans don’t believe he deserves? Of course, he doesn’t. It’s arguably to the point where these awards are surrounding the winners with such a negative perception that the last few MVP’s would be better off having not won the award in the first place. The NBA’s MVP award has become the most worthless player-of-the-year award in all of American sports over the last four years, and changes need to be made ASAP.
To every member of the media with a vote for the MVP: Please stop making these decisions more complicated than they have to be. We all know who the best player in the world is, so let’s stop pretending he’s not and start giving him the respect he deserves. The MVP should be awarded to the best player in the world, not the player who’s stats look best on paper.
Follow Me on Twitter: @TrentOsborneFS