(In part 1 of the MVP Series, Ed lobbied for Mr. LeBron James for the MVP award. Today in Part 2, we will have Kenny showcase Dwyane Wade for the MVP award, and tomorrow Part 3 we will have a guest-post by Reverend Paul Revere to pub for Kobe Bryant. Should be an interesting 3 days. Let's go.)
Rewind one year ago today: the Miami Heat just completed a monumental fall from grace. Two years before that, they were the kings of the court, the NBA champions, and at the center stood a man who put on the greatest four-game stretch in Finals history, since The G.O.A.T. But in 2008, the team was a shell of itself, and he was injured, and pretty much left for dead by many in the mainstream.
Present-day: The Heat are now the #5 seed in the East, experienced a 27-win improvement from the previous season, despite starting a rookie point guard, untested role players, a rookie head coach, as well as a high-profile rookie that’s been relegated to the bench damn near all season. Once again, at the center of it stands the same man who was left for dead a year ago, came back with a vengeance, acted a fool during the Olympics, and carried over that same intensity to this season. That man is none other than The Great Dwyane Wade.
Now I know I’m fighting a losing battle. ESPN experts, the TNT crew, and darn near everyone else have bought into the notion that there is only one MVP, LeBron James, but hear me out. If you look at the effect this man has on every facet of the game, along with what he works with, you’ll be hard-pressed to show me another player who is more valuable than #3. We all know the obvious; leading scorer in the league, and makes his impact in other ways as well (passing and defense). Take Wade away from the Heat, and you get last year’s results. Arguably, if you take away James and Kobe Bryant, both of their squads would still make the playoffs (well, no arguably for the Lakers; they’d definitely still make it). To me, that’s a huge factor in determining value and worth to your team, and even the entire league.
He is the sole threat on the Miami Heat, the one player that every team game-plans for, and it leaves teams the ability to devise multiple schemes, trickery, or any type of defense geared just for him. As for the Cavs and Lakers, there are multiple players that must be accounted for, outside of the obvious with LeBron and Kobe. Mo Williams and Delonte West are capable to drop 30 if need be for the Cavs, and we know Pau Gasol, Lamar Odom, and Andrew Bynum can do it as well. Can the same be said for any secondary player on Miami? Before someone tries to say Michael Beasley, I’ll say no to him, due to the fact his minutes have been inconsistent all season.
This weekend, the Heat will square off against the Atlanta Hawks in the first round, and if they can advance, they’ll be on a collision course to face the Cavs in the Eastern Conference Semi-finals. By then, the MVP will be decided and awarded, but it will give the country a chance to see two classmates (both came out in 2003) duel again, and while one will be the popular choice, the other will be The People’s Choice, Mr. Fall-Down-Seven-Times-Get-Up-Eight, the last man to make Converse cool again, not named Chuck Taylor…the one and only Dwayne Wade. MV3.