A coach for most valuable player
My latest hoopshype column makes the case for a coach, Mike D'Antoni of the Phoenix Suns, as the NBA's most valuable player. Here's the opening to the counterintuitive essay:
Mike D’Antoni is the 2005-06 NBA Most Valuable Player. By a mile.
Yes, I’m aware that D’Antoni coaches, rather than plays for, the Phoenix Suns. We’re breaking new ground by picking a coach, which is even more radical than baseball giving its MVP — generally the preserve of everyday players — to a pitcher.
But what is the cliché we hear whenever commentators debate the merits of the various MVP candidates? So-and-so deserves the award because he “makes his teammates better.” Well, it says here that D’Antoni is even more responsible for the stellar performance of Steve Nash’s teammates than Nash is.
One big advantage D’Antoni has over Nash — the reigning MVP and a strong candidate to win again — is that the coach is largely responsible for the dramatic improvement of the one Sun who is not a teammate of Nash. That would be Nash himself. Until the pass-happy humanitarian moved to the Arizona desert, no one considered him to be even a remote candidate for MVP. Throughout his Mav years, he wasn’t even a lock to be selected as an All-Star reserve, as he made the Western squad in only two of six seasons.
Click on the link above to read the rest. And here are my thoughts on the pro prospects of some of the Final Four participants, one of whom, the great Joakim Noah of Florida, has just decided to stay in school at least another year.