The NBA MVP debate continued on Thursday as coach Stan Van Gundy weighed in. Derrick Rose and Dwight Howard are both great candidates for the award this season, but it seems that many media outlets have already handed the award to Rose. That drew a back-handed response from the Orlando Magic coach that actually makes a lot of sense.
ESPN quoted Van Gundy as he talked about the MVP race going on in the NBA this season. Van Gundy stated, “I don’t think it’s wide open. The media seems to have made their decision, and they’re the ones that vote. So I think it’s over.” The award isn’t given out until after the regular season, but it is clear that many people have already crowned Rose the winner this year. Van Gundy is not one of those people.
Van Gundy went on to say, “Look, and I’ve said this before, to me, with his rebounding his scoring and his defense, I don’t think there’s anybody that impacts as many possessions in a game as Dwight does.”
Is there any point in disagreeing with what Van Gundy has said on the issue? He is 100% correct, and some of the arguments being used by voters this year contradict what they have done in the past.
When comparing the two players who are standing out amongst a great group of superstars this year, some of their base statistics are very similar. Rose is seventh in the league in scoring per game at 24.9 points, and Howard is 11th at 23.1 per game. Rose is also 10th in the NBA in assists at 7.8 per game, compared to Howard, listed as second overall in rebounds per game at 14.2. Howard is also second in field goal percentage at 60 percent and second in blocks at 2.43 per game.
One stat that Rose leads the league in, which isn’t mentioned very often, is shots per game. He averages 20.2 attempts per game, putting him ahead of players like Kobe Bryant, Kevin Durant, and LeBron James. The reason it might not get mentioned is because his field goal percentage has been terrible. Rose is shooting at just 44 percent from the field — the worst of any player who has come up in the MVP discussions this year. So what exactly is the stat that voters should take away from all this?
Many voters seem to be focusing on which team has the best record, and not which player is the most valuable for their specific team. The Chicago Bulls have a 51-19 record while the Orlando Magic are at 46-26. Those five additional wins seem to have attracted many more Rose fans, but maybe the inherent argument here is that the fans of Rose have their own shows where they can talk about how much of a difference he makes. Do people really believe that the Bulls without Rose would be worse than the Magic without Howard?
It’s actually quite sad that Howard isn’t getting more attention this season: It’s not every year that someone averages more than 23 points and 14 rebounds a game.