Top 11: My NBA MVP Power Rankings

Derrick Rose won the MVP yesterday. Officially, at least. He sort of won a long time ago. I’ve already talked about it. Here’s exactly how the real MVP voting ended up shaking out:

1. Derrick Rose – 1182 total points
2. Dwight Howard – 643 total points
3. LeBron James – 522 total points
4. Kobe Bryant – 428 total points
5. Kevin Durant – 190 total points
6. Dirk Nowitzki – 113 total points
7. Dwyane Wade – 24 total points
8. Manu Ginobili – 20 total points
9. Amar’e Stoudemire – 9 total points
10. Blake Griffin – 5 total points
10. Rajon Rondo – 5 total points
12. Tony Parker – 3 total points
13. Chris Paul – 2 total points

Congratulations to all those guys. They’re all great players and all that. I don’t know what the official qualifications are to vote for this award, but I imagine that I’m significantly short of eligibility. Still, I don’t want to rob you guys of my MVP picks.

Here’s what you can expect from my personal MVP top 11: No stats, just observations of how players affect the game and who I think is actually the most valuable player, taking the liberty of defining “most valuable” as “providing the most value” rather than the more common “best player on the best team.”

I don’t need to explain the criteria any further, take this list for what it is.

2010-2011 NBA MVP Top 11:

*Tier 1: guys that could win it

The duo of Dwight Howard and Dwight Howard led the Magic to a 4-seed in the East this season. Hedo Turkoglo has both of their autographs.

1. Dwight Howard — I don’t know if anyone who voted for this award watched any Magic games, particularly down the stretch, because Howard is an absolute force. Recently I described Howard as the first and second best players on the Magic, a team without a third best player. He affects the game on the defensive end like no other player in the league. I just don’t think anyone in the league provides for his team what Dwight Howard gives to the Magic. I wrote about it in my NBA regular season wrap-up. Read that for more.

2. Derrick Rose  — Rose and Howard were the only two players that could have won the MVP this year. The Bulls were better than the Magic and I think that’s what it came down to. Rose is qualitatively faster than any player in the league and his strength is something that 0.00% of players with his size possess. Like Howard, Rose is a nightmare that cannot be guarded with one player. The only knock I have on him is his low shooting percentages. I hate to talk about stats, but it’s noticeable in watching the Bulls that Rose misses too many threes. Rose is still good, and I don’t want to say he isn’t worthy of the MVP award, I just want to say that someone else deserves it more.

*Tier 2: The next best

3. Dirk Nowitzki — Dirk is a little bit like Dwight Howard. His team would be terrible without him. Actually in an injury-related scientific study of this hypothesis, his team did suck without him. Hard. What I love about Dirk is that no matter how many times I’ve watched him play, I’m still surprised that he can get all of his body parts to work together to get up a shot. And one of the most accurate shots in the league, at that. I imagine that an actual courtside microphone could prove what the television suggests — his knees sound like a car with no brake pads. Or the Tin Man before the oil. Still, Dirk is close to unguardable and the Mavs are a great team almost solely because of him.

4. LeBron James — Does LeBron get knicked because Dwyane Wade is also on this team? No. That doesn’t make any sense. What he gets dinged for is the public displays of poor chemistry with teammates and his impotence at the end of basketball games, where it is clear that he is not making plays. Maybe it’s not LeBron’s fault, but his team has the reigning three-point contest champion (James Jones) and a guy who was put on this team exclusively to shoot three-pointers (Mike Miller) and at the end of games, LeBron is still missing game-tying or –winning threes. It appears that he doesn’t care who wins or loses as long as he has a shot at being the hero. Still, he affects the game in a number of ways that few other players can, and the quantity of basketball that he can play at full speed is truly unique. He’s always in the right place, and he gets up and down the court like no other wing can.

*Tier 3: The best of the rest

5. Kevin Durant — In terms of flat-out scoring ability, Durant is the best in the league, and with maybe the exception of Carmelo, it isn’t even close. He can shoot, he can drive, he dunks, it’s just disgusting. Even scarier, I don’t have the actual data here, but he’s rumored to be 13 years old. So he’s only going to get better.

6. Rajon Rondo — Do you remember when Boston had a Big 3? Then a Big 4. And now it’s just Rondo and three really good guys. He has more control over this offense than any other player in the league has over his team’s offense, and what’s truly terrifying is that there isn’t a player in the league who I see as a nightly threat to deliver 20 assists in a given game the way Rondo can. The Celtics are great (and I give more credit to Rondo than anyone else for that) but the fatal flaw is that the core is a little too veteran *wink* (except for Rondo). If he works o that jump shot, he’ll be top 5 soon.

7. Kobe Bryant — Kobe’s good, and probably still possesses a gear that no other player in this tier has. Actually, he might possess a gear that no player in the rest of the league has. But still, some teams have best players that falter occasionally and cause an off-game. This year Kobe was mostly as dominant as he’s been in recent years, except he led the Lakers through a couple of cold stretches that were way too long for comfort. There is a lot of talent on that team, but they’re only as good as Kobe, and this year, that wasn’t a great thing.

8. Kevin Love — I know Kevin Love’s double-double streak got a lot of press this year and maybe that was more of a testament to how bad the ‘Wolves were than it is to how good Kevin Love was. Still, there’s no way to watch Kevin Love without being overwhelmed by how much he does for that team. He rebounds, he shoots threes, he brings the ball up the court, he rebounds some more. I might overrate Kevin Love, but pop quiz, who else plays on the ‘Wolves? Who coaches them? Exactly.

9. Monta Ellis — I know this is a guy that I like more than anyone. But I also probably watch the Warriors more than anyone, and I can’t get enough of Ellis. I made a very significant effort to watch more NBA games this year and there is no player that I find myself saying “He just did something that I don’t think anyone else in the league could do” about that Monta. He’s  the best player in the league that no one cares about. Maybe it’s different for you, but this is my list.

He just does things like this. Every night he does something incredible that no one sees.

10. Carmelo Anthony — One of the elite scorers in the NBA, Carmelo has a bizarre season because of the whole trade situation. Even then, it’s hard to evaluate how he fits in with the Knicks how because he wasn’t there for long and that team never really got into a definitive style of play. Still, Carmelo is going to be a force in the league next year.

11. Dwyane Wade — There are times when Wade is the best player in the NBA. The playoffs have shown that. But this award doesn’t factor in the postseason And I can’t think of anything that affected the Heat’s season the way Wade’s health did. He can put up some insane numbers, but if his team can’t rely on him to be healthy every game, he’d going to fall down my list.

Honorable Mention ‑ Manu Ginobili, Chris Paul and Amar’e Stoudemire in that order.

There it is. How do you readers feel about the NBA MVP? Tell me in the comments. Then tell your friends to tell me in the comments.