Don't dismiss Dirk as MVP candidate
“The best player in the league is LeBron James,” Hollinger writes in his Insider column. “It's not even close.”
There’s really no way to argue against that. I certainly couldn’t debate that Dirk Nowitzki is a better player than King James.
But it’s the award that goes to the most valuable player, not the best player. And a strong case can be made that no player is more valuable to his team than Dirk is to the Mavericks.
The proof is in the plus-minus differential, which Rick Carlisle pointed to when pumping up Nowitzki as an MVP candidate to the New York media last week. According to 82games.com, Dirk has the largest positive differential in the league, as the Mavs are plus-12 per 48 minutes with him on the floor and minus-10.1 when he sits. That’s a swing of 22.1 points, more than doubling LeBron’s differential.
“That means he’s more valuable to our team than any other star is to theirs,” Carlisle said.
Or you could just look at the Mavericks’ record with and without Nowitzki. They are 34-8 when Nowitzki plays, including a sweep of the season series over a certain star-studded team from South Beach. They are 2-7 when he wears a designer suit.
Hollinger anticipates this argument like Jason Kidd anticipates a cutter coming open, noting that the Cavaliers’ first-to-worst misery trumps the dead-without-Dirk logic. No question that LeBron was the league’s most valuable player to his team while working in Cleveland the last two years, which is why he has a pair of pretty Maurice Podoloff Trophies.
But no team this season depends on a superstar more than the Mavs do with Dirk, which is why he shouldn’t be dismissed as an MVP candidate before the All-Star break.
103.3 FM ESPN PODCASTS
Play Podcast Dallas Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle joins Fitzsimmons and Durrett at Mavericks media day to discuss his expectations for the upcoming season.
Play Podcast Mark Cuban joins Galloway and Company to discuss the Mavericks' new GM Gersson Rosas and much more.
Play Podcast Fitzsimmons and Durrett discuss Mark Cuban's comments from Las Vegas about the Mavericks' offseason, how he sees the team without Dwight Howard and more.
Play Podcast Marc Stein joins Ian Fitzsimmons and Tim MacMahon to discuss why the Mavericks didn't want to match Cleveland's offer to Andrew Bynum, what's next for the Mavs and the possibility of Dirk Nowitzki ending his career elsewhere.
Play Podcast Jeff Platt fires quick-hitters at Ian Fitzsimmons and Tim MacMahon in the weekly sports standoff about Andrew Bynum, the Mavs' current backcourt, a potential Nelson Cruz suspension and more.
Play Podcast ESPN Los Angeles' Ramona Shelburne joins Ian Fitzsimmons and Tim MacMahon to discuss why she thinks Andrew Bynum got a bad rap in Los Angeles and how he would fit in with the Mavericks.
Play Podcast Buy, sell or hold? If Dwight Howard goes to another team, what are the Mavs' options? The guys take a look at a list of potential fallback options.
Play Podcast ESPN's Marc Stein joins Fitzsimmons and Durrett to discuss the latest news on the Mavericks' meeting with Dwight Howard.