Of all the NBA writers on the web, my favorite has always been Jack McCallum from SI. Maybe it's because I took a journalism school class at Oregon from a former co-worker of his, or maybe it's because he has a better sense of history than most of the guys in his business, I'm not sure.
That said, his recent column about why Steve Nash should be MVP is an absolute joke. McCallum was nice enough to lay out his argument in 5 sections, so I'll destroy them point by point.
1. Nash improved his team more than Shaq improved his. FALSE.
Phoenix averaged 36 wins/season over the past 3 years and Miami averaged 34. Yes, the Heat made it to the semis of the East last year, but does anyone think they'd be this good this year without Shaq? Furthermore, let's look at how the teams both players left did without them. Dallas? 52-30 last year, on pace to win 57 this year. The Lakers? I don't even have to go into that one, do I?
2. Miami can win without Shaq. FALSE.
The Heat are 4-4 without the big man, while the Suns are 2-4 without Nash. Not much of a difference there. Or look at it this way; the Suns' 4 best players other than Nash are Stoudamire, Marion, Joe Johnson, and Quentin Richardson. The Heat's top 4 are Wade, Eddie and Damon Jones, and Udonis Haslem. Let's say you're the GM of the Heat, would you trade your 4 for the Suns' 4? If you said no, please stop reading this blog and go back to reading Bowling Monthly.
3. Nash has changed the game. FALSE.
If this was true, then what about the years he spent in Dallas? Didn't he play the exact same way there? Sorry, but the reason the NBA is scoring more has nothing to do with Steve Nash and everything to do with rule changes and David Stern's grasp of the fact that 82-75 scores do not translate to high ratings.
4. Nash can beat you in numerous ways. TRUE.
Of course, so can Shaq. McCallum lists 5 ways Nash can beat you, 4 of which are actually true (his assertion that Nash gets to the line often is a flat-out mistruth; Nash ranks behind Earl Boykins and ahead of Rafer Alston on the FTA/gm chart for guards). Well, Shaq can rebound, block shots, dunk, and get to the line. Okay, when he gets to the line he misses, but he gets there doesn't he?
5. Nash is fun. HUH?
What does that have to do with anything? Is Nash any more fun than Luke Ridnour? What about Jason Kidd? Geez, Reggie Miller's always been a favorite of mine, let's make him the MVP!
In all seriousness, if someone can give me a logical, thought-out argument for why Nash should be MVP, I'm all ears. But if your argument contains the words "intangibles," "leadership," or any other nonsense like that, I'm turning a deaf ear, because I'll take Shaq's one intangible ability that surpasses any that Nash has: To dunk on any living human being at will.