Thursday, March 6, 2008

Chris Paul: A Leading MVP Candidate Despite Blatant Racial Bias by Mianstream Media.

A True Competitor:

Chris Paul's competitiveness has to be his most overlooked characteristic as a basketball player. Whenever he gets matched up against another upper-echelon point guard, Paul makes sure to bring his 'A-game.' The true measure of competitive greatness is how you perform against the best the game has to offer. Over the past 2 weeks Chris Paul has not disappointed.

Chris Paul vs Jason Kidd:

Paul: 31 points, 11 assists, 9 steals, 5 rebounds, 1 TO ( 11-20 FG)
Kidd: 8 points, 5 assists, 3 steals, 6 rebounds, 6 TO (3-6 FG)

Storyline: Paul dominates Kidd's debut in Dallas. Hornets win 104-93

Chris Paul vs. Steve Nash:

Paul: 25 points, 15 assists, 6 rebounds, 3 steals, 1 TO (9-21 FG)
Nash: 8 points, 13 assists, 0 rebounds 0 steals, 4 TO (1-6 FG)

Storyline: Paul dominates the game offensively and defensively, torching Nash with a 15:1 assist-turnover ratio. Hornets win 120-103.

Chris Paul vs. Deron Williams:

Paul: 24 points, 16 assists, 5 steals, 4 rebounds, 1 TO (5-15 FG)
Williams: 22 points, 10 assists, 0 steals, 2 rebounds, 4 TO (8-14 FG)

Storyline: Paul dominates Williams on National television. The Hornets 38-15 1st quarter lead was too much to overcome. Paul finishes a monstrous 16:1 assist-turnover ratio. Hornets win 110-98.

Racial Bias Against Chris Paul:

Chis Paul has been absolutely amazing all season long, yet the media has been consistently against him. Many so-called experts didn't even have the Hornets in their top 8 seeds, yet to everyone's surprise, Paul has lead his gang to the top of the Elite Western Conference (the toughest conference in NBA History). Many misinformed sportscasters are saying that this years' MVP contest is a two man race between Kobe Bryant and Lebron James. A couple of things strike me as odd:

1) How is Lebron James a top tier candidate? Look, numbers wise, Lebron is an absolute beast. His box scores bring back shades of Oscar Robertson and he is an undisputed force to be reckoned with. No one can argue there. But, the MVP award isn't about having the best numbers or being the best player, its about being the best player on the best team. Thats the unwritten definition that the media has interpreted for the award since 1981. The MVP award is a much a team award as it is an individual award. I don't agree with it, but thats what it has been defined as. So going of precedence alone, Lebron James should not be a legitimate candidate for the award, especially if his Cavs don't crack the 50-win mark.

2) Steve Nash won the MVP award in 2005-2006 for:

A) Making his teammates better
B) Thriving in the West, despite low expectations (Amare's Injury)

That being said, lets compare Nash's numbers in 05-06 to Paul's in 07-08:

Nash 05-06: 18.8 ppg, 10.5 apg, 4.2 rpg, 0.8 spg, 3.5 TO
Paul 07-08: 21.0 ppg, 10.9 apg, 4.0 rpg, 2.7 spg, 2.5 TO

Breakdown:
Not only is Paul besting Nash in points, assists and turnovers, but he is leading the NBA in steals per game. Paul is the best point guard on BOTH sides of the floor, unlike Nash who is a one-trick pony that plays absolutely no defense. On top of that, Paul has lower expectations in 2007-2008 than Nash did in 2005-2006.

Steve Nash won an overwhelming victory and was being talked about all season long by the media. They put Nash so high on a pedestal that you'd think he was the next best thing since sliced bread. Paul on the other hand, isn't even considered to be a candidate by most of the media. The media is hyping the 2007-2008 contest as a two man race, even though Paul is by definition both more valuable and more deserving. This proves that either:

A) Nash's 2005-2006 MVP award was illegitimate and was given to him because he was White. Subliminally, the voters were affected by Nash's ethnicity. After all, he is vertically challenged, white, and unathletic. In a sense, he shares a lot in common with the voters. They can relate to him easily because of these mutual similarities, thus subliminally affecting their voting process. This theory, isn't too implausible to believe either. After all, Larry Bird won three consecutive MVP's, but let's not go there.

or

B) That Chris Paul is being marginalized and overlooked because he's black and because he plays in a smaller market (New Orleans), which struggles to sell out its own home games. The past 3 MVP's have all been white, and apparently it is more impressive to be good at basketball and to be white, than it is to be black. Now, many people will point out that a majority of the MVP winners have been black in the course of NBA history. But that would be a gross oversimplification of what is truly a significant issue.

Conclusion: Do I feel that Chris Paul is being marginalized because he is black? Not necessarily. In fact, I don't feel it that way. After all, all of the five leading candidates are black, so I don't feel race is a factor in this years contest. However, I do feel that Steve Nash was put on a pedestal because he was white. Anyway you look at it, there is no doubt that race has and will continue to affect MVP voting. Chris Paul is doing everything Nash did and then some, yet he isn't getting nearly the same media coverage, appreciation, or recognition. So racially, compared to Steve Nash in 2005-2006, Paul is at a significant disadvantage.

The Ballot: To me, the two true frontrunner's for the award are Kobe Bryant and Chris Paul. Those two should be #1 and #2 on everyone's ballot. Then you have Lebron James, Kevin Garnett, and Dwight Howard as the remaining three candidates, although none of them is in any way deserving of the award. In the end, the winner of the Western Conference will likely take the award.