Thursday, April 17, 2008

Simmons Wises Up, Puts Kobe Behind CP3 in MVP race...Oh, no...

Bill Simmons = Star Wars, Episode 3

I became a fan of the early works (re: pre-2005 Simmons and pre-prequel trilogy, respectively), but both have tapered off dramatically over the years. Sure, I'll get one or two moments of joy here and there, but to quote B.B. King: the thrill is gone. I can still cling to my old VHS copies of the original, non-special edition trilogy with all the special effect imperfections and linear story telling that I loved...and yeah, I can reread Billy Boy's column about Ward-Gatti, picking an EPL team or even his post 2003 ALCS disaster stuff.

It's just not the same. Both have disappointed me over the years.

I was all set to give Mr. West Coast a pat on the back for landing an interview with Barack Obama, but ESPN apparently nixed that idea. (Hat Tip to The Big Lead) But yesterday as I was perusing Page 2, I saw Bill had posted his NBA MVP column and decided to give it a look to see if he was in the "give it to Kobe cause he's earned it over the years" camp or not. Bill was definitely not in that camp:

"In short, I don't get the Kobe argument unless you're playing the "career achievement award" angle, which is just a moronic way to look at it. That's the type of thinking that led to Marty Scorcese finally winning an Oscar for a movie that ended with a rat crawling on the balcony as a big neon "SYMBOLISM! SYMBOLISM!" sign flashed in the background. Come on."

Best of all? He had Kobe ranked BEHIND Chris Paul! This should be good news for Hornets fans, right? That a guy who's bread and butter is the NBA actually recognizing the contributions CP3 has made for his city, his team and the game itself. Right? Right?


Simmons ranked Kobe 3rd and Chris Paul 2nd. Behind who, you might ask? A certain Boston Celtic named Kevin Garnett. Now, let's just bookend his comments about putting K.G. atop his mock ballot:

"Let's get the bad stuff out of the way so you don't think this is a homer vote: I don't think Garnett is the most talented player in the league; I don't trust him at the end of games because he gets too wound up; it drives me crazy that he relies on his fall-away so much (especially in fourth quarters); and I'd rather have Tim Duncan for a playoff series if my life depended on it. Of course, none of that stuff matters in an MVP discussion." and "Just remember, the "V" stands for "valuable.""

You're right that the "V" stands for valuable, Bill. (It also stands for Vendetta, but that's beside the point...) Kevin Garnett absolutely was the most valuable guy in the Eastern Conference. He helped turn around a franchise in a total 180 move, made his teammates better, etc. Here's the thing: CP3 did all that AND MORE in the most competitive Western Conference the NBA has seen in recent memory.

The only thing Garnett did that Chris Paul could not was make Doc Rivers look like a great coach. Newsflash: Byron Scott was already a good coach (he's got NBA Finals credentials), so CP3 didn't have to make his coach look brilliant. KG did. Kudos to you, sir.

But here's Bill's own words on CP3:

"The most talented 6-foot-and-under player ever (sorry, Isiah), he just submitted the greatest all-around season of any point guard since Oscar Robertson (including a scintillating 22-13-4 with 50-82-41 percentages after the All-Star break) and played the position with particular style (nobody converted more alley-oop passes with a high degree of difficulty). Over the course of six months, I only saw him neutralized by two teams out of 29 (the Celtics because of their team defense, and the Jazz because of Deron Williams)."

The greatest season by a point guard since The Big O? And this guy isn't the MVP? To borrow a line from you, Bill, I will now go light myself on fire.

Yep, it's a blatant homer call putting K.G. ahead of CP3, Billy Boy. More blatant than me, a former New Orleans resident, stumping for CP3. I'm right, you're wrong; deal with it!

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