Yesterday, The Rev made a very convincing case for Steve Nash to be this year’s Most Valuable Player. He noted his impact on the Suns, his mark on the league in general, and how his personality has pretty much rubbed off on the rest of his team. See, what The Rev did was make a case for a player who, while very much appreciated, somehow went under the radar, due to people not expecting much from the Phoenix Suns this season. Today, I will make a case for one of Steve Nash’s former teammates; a man who has made an impact for his team over the years as well; a man who is a former MVP of the league as well. Today, the case is made for none other than Dirk Nowitzki.
Now there are some people (such as Ed) who can’t comprehend how Nowitzki is an MVP candidate. For starters, he helped the Mavericks stay near the top of the Western Conference all season long, as well as bringing his usual production to the table. He was able to maintain his high level of play, even with the additions of Caron Butler, DeShawn Stevenson, and Brendan Haywood. A significant amount of credit should be given to Jason Kidd as well, but when people think of Dallas, they think of Dirk first, even with the all-time greatness of their point guard.
A case can be made that Dirk has been the best power forward in the NBA for the past three seasons. That’s right; the absolute best. Think about it; the man was the MVP in ’07, led his team into the second round of the playoffs last year, even when the Mavs having a serious identity complex, and has his team as the number two seed in the loaded Western Conference this year. There are only two power forwards who I will even entertain being better than him during that span of time, and those two are KG and Tim Duncan. Any other names brought up will get laughed at, and brushed to the side.
The man is more efficient than ever, offensively. People complain that Dirk doesn’t go the basket enough, but they don’t give him enough credit for being absolutely brilliant 20 feet and in. When he’s on, he’s unreal, and when he isn’t, he’s still more than a handful. He’s the best shooting big man in basketball, has more than enough moves in the post, and next to Steve Nash, he’s the best all-around shooter in the game. He’s too big for a smaller defender, and can go right by bigger defenders with deceptive quickness and strange awkwardness/grace (I love Dirk’s game, but some of those moves are awkward as hell, I will admit). Nobody, and I mean NOBODY, can guard this man, one-on-one. He’s lights-out at the free-throw line too, so it’s not like fouling him does any good either.
For people who wanna harp on the 2006 Finals, let that go…seriously. If that’s the case, we should harp on damn near every superstar who has come up short over the years, and hasn’t recovered to the point of our never-ending satisfaction. When the Mavs need a crucial bucket, they go to Dirk, and more often than not, he’s gonna take the shot, or make the right basketball play. NBA.com makes the case that Dirk is the sixth-best clutch player in basketball, and there can be a case that he should be higher than that. Bottom line is this: as the Mavericks continue to make their run in the postseason, they’ll continue to lean on the play of their All-NBA forward.