For the last month, Dwyane Wade has been the best basketball player on the planet. In his last 10 games, he has averaged 35.8 points per game while shooting 53.7% overall and 44% from three, plus is adding in 9.6 assists and 6 rebounds a game.
Those are MVP-like numbers. And Wade’s name is now mentioned in the same breath with frontrunners LeBron James an Kobe Bryant.
But one of those two is going to win, and Wade is not. Because far too many voters think MVP is about the best player on the best team, not the best basketball player. Not the guy who was most valuable to the team. Just the guy whose GM gave him the most help.
Kobe Bryant is living proof. He won the MVP last year when pundits decided he had finally seen the light and started passing the ball and trusting out his teammates. The reality is that Kobe finally had teammates worth trusting — if you have the chance to pass to an open Pau Gasol you do, but if two years ago the choice was to pass to the open Kwame “Manos de Piedra" Brown, you might take the 18-foot jumper because the odds are better. A kickout pass from Kobe to Derek Fisher is going to succeed a lot more than a kickout to Smush Parker, so maybe Kobe just takes the shot over a couple defenders three years ago.
A couple years back, when Kobe was carrying starters who should not have even been in the NBA to the playoffs, he was playing as good or better basketball than he is now. But he wasn’t winning enough to be MVP. Now he is.
Kobe and LeBron lead the two teams fighting for the best record in basketball, Wade’s team is good but middle of the pack in the East, even though he has had to carry them there seemingly single-handedly some nights. Enough voters will not be able to see past the overall team record, and not to how that record was achieved.
But if things go well in Miami, in a couple years maybe Wade can be in the conversation for all the voters. No matter the criteria.
Kurt Helin’s crossover dribble was good enough to land him a desk job, from where he started Forum Blue & Gold.