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Most Valuable Player - De File
Does Collecting Make You Feel Dirty?
Most Valuable Player
There's no end to debate about what constitutes the sine qua non of an NBA champion. Is it a top big man? Is it an all-star point guard? Is it outside shooting by committee, so one or two cold streaks won't bring the team down? Obviously, all those ingredients are important. From where I sit, though, there have been many champions over the past two decades that lacked at least one of these qualities. The one thing I rarely remember a team doing without since Michael Jordan's ascendancy, however, is a player who can consistently create off the dribble during crunch time, who has the capacity, as the color commentators like to say, to "get his own shot."

The Magic have Turkgolu, who comes close when single-teamed, but lacks the quickness and dribbling prowess to get space when he's doubled in earnest. The Lakers, on the other hand, have Kobe, who was crucial to their success even when Shaq was in his prim. Think about it: Pierce, Wade, Ginobili and Parker, Kobe, Jordan. The only possible exceptions might be the pre-Parker Spurs and the Rockets during Jordan's "retirement" years. I don't remember those teams well enough to speak with authority. Maybe some of you remember better than I do and can fill in my gaps.

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barca_k From: barca_k Date: June 13th, 2009 01:42 am (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
I'm a Spurs fan, so.... Before Parker the Spurs had Avery Johnson & Stephen Jackson - Johnson was not nearly the scorer Parker is but he could attack off the dribble & penetrate nearly as well. Jackson was able to do any number of things - almost like a less consistent Ginobili. I remember the experts saying the Spurs could never win with a tiny point guard who couldn't shoot nor defend bigger guards, but Johnson did well enough running the team & getting Duncan & Sean Elliot involved that it worked.

For what it's worth, I agree entirely with your assessment that you need someone who can create his own shot - even if that guy isn't necessarily a top 3 or 4 in the rotation guy. My answer to the question would have been "world class point guard," but in the pro game I have to agree with you - in the college game, I'm still a believer that point guards win titles.

Also, I think the days of a team being able to cobble together some talent around one or two imposing front line stars & winning are over... used to be it if you got ahold of an Elvin Hayes or Lew Alcindor or Bill Walton you instantly became a contender... no longer.
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