Dirk for MVP

A team loses last years MVP of the NBA.

Then it loses its 2nd leading scorer to a division rival.

Its coach is inhis firstyear as an NBA coach.

The team is successful in turning its approach to the game around 180 degrees from offense first, to defense first.

Four of its top 8 players are injured for weeks or months at a time.

This isnt a team of 4 all stars.

This isnt a team of 2 all stars, like the teams in the standings ahead of it.

this is a team of 1 All Star.

This is a team that most sportswriters picked to be in the bottom half of the playoff hunt with some saying they would barelymake the playoffs and could fall out with injuries. This is a team that no sportswriter I can think of, predicted would win anywhere near 60 games. This is a team that has clearly exceeded the expectations of everyone who follows the game.

Its a team carried by a player who has improved in every area that the team has needed him to improve. While some talk about making the players around thembetter as a sign of value, this player has made the team around him a better , more successful team. The true sign of value.

So what happens to this team ?

It can set a record for most wins in franchise history this week, 61.

Besides winning 60 or more games, what has the leader of this team accomplished ?

He has hit game winning shots.

He has blocked game winning shots.

He has made passes to game winning shots.

He has been a leader on the court and off.

He has taken the responsibility to carry this team on his back.

He isnt out doing endorsements, selling basketball videos, doing commercials, doing the interview circuit or promoting himself in any way. He just goes to work and busts his ass every single day.

He is a role model in every sense of the word, on the court and off.

There is no player more valuable to his team than Dirk Nowitzki.

Dirk should be the MVP of the NBA.

151 thoughts on “Dirk for MVP

  1. I think Dirk definitely deserved the MVP award last season. I have predicted him to take fourth in votes for the 2007-2008 season. Please let me know if you agree. http://www.nbamvprace.com

    Comment by Matthew Rolnick -

  2. Though you make a good point for Dirk being the MVP, He is not deserving. Let me explain. First off, I am in Phoenix so my ideas may be bias, but, that being said, Nash is undoubtedly the MVP. Dirk could easily be replaced, He is nothing more than a 7\’ jump shooter. He does not attack the basket at 7\’ which is very soft if you ask me. He passes up the big shots, ie; the double OT loss to Phoenix and he does not regularly make the big shots.

    Imagine if you put a player like KG on the Mavs, how many points would he have, how many boards? He would basically be unstoppable on that team. I could give a list of shooters who would put up the same #s on that team. Take away Dirk and the Mavs are still one of the best, if not the best, TEAM in the NBA.
    Take Nash away from the Suns and they dont reach the playoffs, period, fact. His #s are the best of his career, He is the reigning MVP. Just like the Heat are the reigning Champs and they will be until someone knocks them out. Dirk did not do enough to take the award from Nash in my opinion.

    Comment by james -

  3. I know for a fact that Dirk and others across the league have played with far more serious injuries. Daniel’s is just injured entirely too much. He needs to go.

    Comment by Grand -

  4. dirk is great nash is great kobe and the rest but who is the best at drawing all attention to himself and making the pass. Who is the best when not scoring and dishing the ball and who makes the most steals when necessary and who has the best ability to put team on shoulders and who plays the most minutes because they have too. Lebron James ask Washington and Detroit who they must contain

    Comment by aaron -

  5. Everyone on the Suns are having career years. I feel Nash deserves it even more than last year.

    Comment by Michael -

  6. I love Steve Nash and I backed him 100% kast year when he won the MVP award, but I think there were a handful of players this year that should have been in competition for the MVP award.

    Hands down you are dead on about Dirk MVP choice no. 1
    Tim Duncan has to be no. 2 on that list
    Lebron James is MVP material
    Kobe Bryant carried the Lakers

    I think if nash got hurt and was out for awhile the suns are still a good team with a good record, they have the confidense to overcome that obstical but the players above mentioned I am not sure what would happen to those teams, the mavs would win games but could they win the big games?

    Comment by John Reid -

  7. Mr. Mark Cuban always right ! I am the number one fan of the (not only Dirk) MAVS. Dirk is an awsome 360degree player. What i most love about our MAVS is that it doesn’t have to always be about Dirk getting us that high score or a win. (to: Mick Ring) All players show up. But i agree Dirk is my MVP and the city of Dallas MVP and surrounding areas. Don’t Miss With The MaVs !!! GO MAVS GO MAVS DON’T HATE CONGRATULATE THEM!!

    Comment by Esmeralda Uribe -

  8. Are you serious? Dirk MVP? An MVP player is “The Man” on his team. I look at the players on the Mavericks and listen to them. The always says he is the no. 1 guy but if you look in the game the never rely on him to be clutch. I have seen Terry and Stack shoot more clutch shots and want the ball in their hands when it is clutch time. Dirk is a good player but he will never be a MVP player cause everyone outside of Dallas can see how is exposed as a average player when it becomes crucial.

    Comment by Duane Johnson -

  9. You make some great points. Duncan deserves it every bit as much as Dirk.
    Lebron is good and of coruse Nash your old pal.

    This year was a tough one. Nobody truly outshined the rest. Kobe should be dropped off the list. He does not make those around him better. He is a self promoter unlike Dirk.

    I do love Avery!!!

    Comment by JAQ -

  10. Mr. Cuban, Dirk has been a phenomenal player and perhaps the best international player in the NBA, and Dirk probably had just as much claim to that MVP trophy as Steve Nash. However, so did Lebron James, Kobe Bryant, and Chauncey Billups. This year’s race was so wide open, that honestly their should have at least been a CO-MVP. Yet, the league couldn’t do that, so the next best option was to do what most competitions come down to: Give the award to the best player on the best team. That way no one player would feel slighted, because the award was given becasue the team was just as highly successful as that player. I wish you and your Mavericks Good Luck in the Playoffs and if you not to busy maybe you could check out my blog and leave me a few pointers. Thank you
    Godspeed
    Kool-Ice

    P.S. Honestly, it would be kind of nice to see you guys win after being on the cusp for so long!

    Comment by Vaughn Hines -

  11. MVP is suppose to be the best player on the best team folks. Sorry Dirk, I got three of your jerseys and I love ya, but Billups needed to win it this year.

    Comment by Elias -

  12. Despite of Steve Nash being MVP, I think that Dirk Nowitzki really deserved this award.
    And I think he will be the NBA FINALS MVP because the Mavericks swill win the NBA Championship.
    GO Dirk, Go MAVS…

    Comment by Elie -

  13. I’m a fan of Mavs in China.My favourite player is Dirk.Now,MVP has been awarded to Nash,I feel very woeful.But I believe,Mavs will win the champion,MVP in the finals will sure to belong to Dirk!Go Mavs!
    By the way,Mark,you’re so good a boss!

    Comment by Deng -

  14. Dear Mark,

    In my opinion, after playing and following basketball for over 30 years now, the MVP should be the player who contributes the greatest individual performance to the team’s overall success. So here’s one way to replace the silly subjective opinions with some objective and supportable criteria:

    If one takes each Player’s Efficiency Rating as defined by ESPN (a pretty good measure, I think) and multiplies that by the Team’s Winning percentage, then guess who comes out on top? Yep, Dirk at 31.70.

    Fyi, Lebron is #2 at 30.56, while Nash is only 8th at 25.96. Take a look, the numbers don’t lie, and I happen to be a Laker loyalist, so there’s no bias here.

    Hopefully you can use this next year as Dirk is only getting better and better!

    Bob Bacon

    Comment by Bob Bacon -

  15. Nash is the only MVP. Without him the suns are not in the playoffs. ANY team in the NBA instantly becomes a playoff contender with Nash in the lineup. Exibit A: First round comeback against L.A. The thing is, I think you know this Mark, and I can see why you won’t admit it seeing as you were the one who let Nashy go. Dirk is a great player and his leadership of the Mavs has taken some of the pressure off you for letting Nash go. But you know deep down that Steve’s the MVP. And it breaks your heart for letting him go. Admit it.

    Comment by nate -

  16. I think it is awesome that Nash won again. Amazing FG%, 3FG%, FT%, and top in assists. He is the only player in the league with intelligence and emotional quotient to lead a team on and off the court. Look at how he gets his teammates (Diaw, Barbosa, Bell, Jones)to exceed expectations. He’s even got Tim Thomas playing like a superstar.

    Dirk would have been my number 2 pick; he’ll win the MVP if he keeps performing at this level for a few more years. It wouldn’t hurt if Dallas won the West and he’d be a lock for next year if he lead the Mavs past Detroit in the Finals… if only he had a pt guard that actually passes the ball off a pick and roll.

    Go Mavs!

    Comment by Mike -

  17. Aren’t Dirk and the Mav’s averaging more points per game without Steve Nash?

    Comment by Patrick -

  18. Dirk for MVP? Are you serious Mr. Cuban?

    The teams only All-Star. Is that REALLY a reson to make him MVP? An MVP may make All Stars out of other players around him. Like Ray Allen last year. Ray’s terrific shooting, passing, and rebounding year from a shooting guard not only elevated his play but helped make Rashard Lewis an All-Star.

    Dirk is a very valuable player and most likely the MAVS most valuable man- although I think you could make an argument that Josh Howard was the first to buy into Avery’s defensive style of play and is the most valuable Mav on both sides of the court.

    But this year’s MVP goes to last years MVP. That’s right. Former Mav Steve Nash is still the MVP of the league. Suns lost Amare Stoudamire (an All-Star and an MVP candidate last season), Joe Johnson, and Quentin Richardson. But they didn’t miss a beat because the the Suns whole game plan is designed around NASH. Under Nash’s guidance Boris (who?) Diaw won Most Improved Player award, and 6 Suns had there highest scoring average ever. Nash is the Suns. And he again showed his MVP-ness in this years playoffs. Like any human will at any time in their life he failed miserably. Giving up game 4 in ugly fashion. But like a true MVP he did not berate his teamates (ie Dirk last postseason, instead he took full blame and vowed to do better. Now the Suns are up one game to nada over the Clippers and are headed straight for a Dirk vs. Nash 2 duel in the Western Conference Finals (we all know how the first one went). I am confident Nash will lead his team there and I hope Dirk will too.

    Go Mavs

    JC

    Comment by JC -

  19. Dirk is overrated. He was locked down by Bruce Bowen in the first game and shows obvious frurstration. He doesn’t carry your team, your team carries itself. You had 3 other players on your team avergaing over 15 points pergame that were very good players. I admit the team made great strides from last year and that Dirk is an exceptional player, but by no means is he the Most Valuable player in the NBA. He wasn’t the best player in the NBA offensively or defensively by a long shot. Steve Nash, the winner, was most valuable to his team. Kobe Bryant is hands-down the best player in the NBA. LeBron James carried his team much more than did Dirk. Without LeBron the Cavaliers would have been looking at last place in the central and no playoff spot. Dwyane Wade averaged comparable numbers and took over more games in the second half than I have ever seen. Dirk was good. He wasn’t the MVP.

    Comment by Gerard -

  20. Actually, Chauncey Billups deserves MVP award. Dirk is great but Chauncey has the ability to get his teammates involved, as well as take over a game when needed. Detroit Pistons won 64 games this season, if Chauncey wasn’t present, we wouldn’t have someone to close out close games.

    Comment by Nick E. -

  21. come on Mark, admit it – you wish Steve is still playing for Mavs. Dont ya?. Dirk definitely elevated the team with his performance but Nash deserves the MVP. Without him Suns are no where near Playoff contention.

    Comment by Kishore -

  22. The man has stepped up to the new challenges he faces each and every year, and has Dallas always near the top.

    So Steve Nash is the best!!!

    Comment by Tub -

  23. The man has stepped up to the new challenges he faces each and every year, and has Dallas always near the top.

    So Steve Nash is the best!!!

    Comment by Dhw -

  24. I was at the Mavs game in NJ, when Dallas got blown out. As a big Nets fan who doesnt get to see Dirk in person a lot I was amazed. The only reason it ever looked like the Mavs could get back in was because Dirk put he team on his shoulders. He may not be the player of the year but he’s probably the MVP.

    Comment by phil -

  25. I am shocked at how I hear about this player and that player for MVP, yet hardly anyone really seriously puts Dirk as anything more than one of “those players who should receive MVP consideration.” People were complaining all of last summer about how the Mavs did nothing to get better and how the Spurs added Finley and Van Exel, the Lakers got Phil back, the Suns got an inside presence in Kurt Thomas, McGrady and Yao had finally meshed in Houston, etc.
    Dirk carried this team all year and stayed primarily injury-free in doing so (I think he had a sprained ankle one game). He did so when Stack was out…when Howard was out….Van Horn….Harris…you name it. He really stepped into the limelight this year. I think last year he was just getting acclimated to being the man and being without Nash. I think Dirk gained alot of confidence this year….especially after there was alot of Dirk bashing after he called out Dampier against the Suns and then they lost.

    Elton Brand…good player, but their team only won 45 games and Cassell/Kaman are as responsible for their success. Kobe is Kobe…he is the best player in the league but his stats are misleading because he has no one else on that team and is allowed to take ALL of the shots (and DON’T try to mention Lamar Odom). Nash….another great year, but that offense does alot for them and somewhat skews his stats too. You could plug anyone in there who can shoot and he would be doing the same thing. Is he really doing that much more now than in Dallas? No. Phoenix was just so bad before and that is why people put more weight in it.

    Dirk has improved defensively….has stepped up in big games this year….has become a vocal leader and a leader on the floor….and continues to put the stats up even better than when Nash and Finley were around. He does all this (and I love JET-not criticizing) with a shoot first point guard. If Nash were on this team this year….Dirk would be averaging 30 easy.

    Comment by Matt -

  26. You should have seen Lebron James play 24 comeback victories best shooter in the last three minutes of games. hughes hurt 45 games snow average 4 points a game gooden 11 z 15 and who ever else that played guard 7 a game. If these guys could finish lebron would have easily avg 13 dimes a game. Not only that ask yourself would you trade for lebron i wouldn’t trade my mvp player if you would think about it! Lebron carried a team with no previuos connection to sucess and the hopes of an entire city

    Comment by aaron -

  27. As Steve Nash wins yet another MVP, one can’t help but play the ‘what if’ game…yes Mark I thoroughly read all your postings about the scenarios that led up to Steve’s departure, but let’s be honest here…Steve has (to his credit) taken his game to a totally new level…how would that game have impacted the current Mavs team? Might we have taken game 1 from SA…I know Steve can shoot clutch free throws that’s for sure and I counted 7 missed in the 4th qtr alone…what if, what if , what if…

    Comment by Scott -

  28. Dirk has been great, but he should not be MVP.

    * Look at the numbers. They are great. But all the improvement has been at the OFFENSIVE end – career high shooting percentages. His rebounds, steals, blocks are all down, though I think he’s playing better position defense.

    Yet the entire story about the Mavs this season has been about an improved defensive mindset! So how much can you attribute the Mavs’ success this season to Dirk?

    * Dirk’s the Mavs’ stud, no doubt. But is he their leader? Giving encouragement to teammates during timeouts? Leading huddles? NOT berating teammates? Mentoring younger guys? I am not sure about that. How many times have his teammates called him THE leader of this team??? Leadership is a prerequisite for MVPhood, and Dirk has IMO a lot of ground to make up in this field.

    But all in all, Dirk is pretty close to breaking through. I’d rank Lebron and Nash ahead of him, and Chauncey, Kobe neck-in-neck.

    And, of course, the very first sentence of this blog was already misleading, because Nash wasn’t MVP caliber when he played for the Mavs.

    Comment by Jason -

  29. Dirk should be amongst the top MVP candidates, no doubt about that. But the arguments Cuban makes are ridiculous. Dirk has suffered nothing like the injury losses Pheonix has had to deal with. Dirk has been as great as ever, but the difference between last season and this season for the Mavs is Diop, a more consistent Dampier(coming off the bench, gives them even more depth), and the emerging Devin Harris. Add to that Stackhouse providing strong minutes off the bench, Terry becoming more comfortable as the on-court leader, rather than just Nash’s replacement, and Griffin’s contributions as a starter. Cuban makes it sound like Dirk won 60 games all by himself, but the truth is this is the deepest, most talented Mavericks team since 1988. Dirk has improved his game, taken it to the next level, there’s no doubt about that. But he’s never had a better supporting cast backing him up. That shouldn’t take away from his accomplishments, but you can’t argue that he hasn’t had a ton of help in leading the Mavs to 60 wins.

    True, most sportswriters underestimated this team. But that was based on assumptions such as not having a solid backup center(turns out the backup was good enough to become the starter). No sportwriter could have predicted Diop’s impact, because there was no precedent for it. If Diop hadn’t worked out the way he did(and obviously Avery deserves a lot of credit along with Diop), but if he had been a bust, the Mavs don’t win 60 games, they probably don’t make it out of the first round of the playoffs. Without Devin Harris, the Mavs are still thin at point guard and can’t compete against teams such as Phoenix and the Spurs(which is why it is so crucial that Harris be healthy and back to near 100% for the series against the Spurs/Kings). Memphis was one of the weaker teams in the west playoffs. Without a healthy Devin Harris in the second round, though, it won’t be easy to get past the Spurs. Hopefully he will be close enough to 100% to give the Mavs the lift they need.

    Go Mavs, Go Mavs.

    Comment by Tim -

  30. It’s sad that we have to listen to ric bucher, who knows absolutely nothing, diddly-sqwat, about basketball.

    Grant (Denver): How you feeling about Dirk now?

    Ric Bucher: Same as I always have: I love Dirk. Love how he’s transformed his game to fit the Mavs’ new look. Love how he’s emerged as more of a leader with Nash and Finley gone. Love how he handles the ball for a big. Love that textbook J. Love that Teutonic shag. He proved he’s a level above Pau Gasol. Has he proved he belonged on my MVP ballot? No, for the same reason he wasn’t there at the end of the regular season: there are a lot of factors contributing to the Mavs’ success. He is their biggest. Bigger than Kobe, Nash, Billups, Duncan and LeBron were to their teams? Not in my opinion.

    A level above Gasol? Give me a break.

    Comment by raf -

  31. Look at the gaps between the MVP’s and the second-best player on the team. Dirk and Kobe would own the MVP award with that statistic. Steve nash Marion, an All-Star, Billups has 3 All-Stars right next to him in the starting lineup, Wade has Shaq (or Shaq has Wade, if you prefer it that way), and the list goes on.

    I also have two graphs I made showing why Dirk should be MVP, but even if he isn’t, hopefully he’ll be FINALS MVP.

    http://free.hostdepartment.com/m/mavsgameday/Articles/dirksmvpcase0506/graph2.JPG
    http://free.hostdepartment.com/m/mavsgameday/Articles/dirksmvpcase0506/graph.JPG

    Comment by Waqas -

  32. I’m really sick of the NBA MVP voting process. It seems like the voters are coming up with new reasons to vote for someone year after year, when the award should really be based on who was the best player that season. The best way to do this in my opinion would be to follow John Hollinger’s PER formula, and I’m not really sure why NBA fans haven’t adopted it more yet. This season, the best player was Dirk, and I think by the time the playoffs are over we’ll remember him as that.

    Comment by stephen -

  33. I am for the idea of having a post season MVP, with a regular season MVP, along with the finals MVP.

    Kobe deserved this years MVP. HE had one of the best offensive seasons ever, and his team has greatly over achieved… no way should have Nash won it again…

    BUT DIRK is playing better than any one player in the playoffs, and the Mavs have provided the only sweep, in probaly the most competitive first round in over ten years, if not ever….

    I love this game!

    -gb

    Comment by Gregory Brandt -

  34. I’m not quite ready to make Dirk the MVP, yet. And, it’s not because I’m not a Maverick fan. I will give Dallas a lot of credit, because to everybody’s surprise they’ve played great defense thus far in the playoffs – even if it is only against Memphis.

    Comment by Ronald -

  35. As usual Dirk did what he always does…hit the big shots when they matter!! He’s the only MVP. Nash blew in 2 games in a row, San Anton can’t buy a win and Detroit got took by the Bucks. Who’s the ONLY team still undeteated in the Playoffs? Mavs Baby! 3-0..Let’s make it 4-0 tonight and get some deserved rest while everyone else in the NBA fights for their playoff lives! 3 down..13 to go! MAVS ALL THE WAY! MFFL

    Comment by Sherri Stidham -

  36. Based solely on the regular season, I believe that although Dirk has put together an MVP-caliber season, there are other players in the league that have had career-best and MVP-type seasons too. Based on experience, there’s now only one factor that determines who wins the MVP award – how far the player’s team reaches in the playoffs. Check it out yourself – the MVP’s of the past tend to AT LEAST reach the conference finals.

    Thus, an MVP is the player who leads his team to go REALLY far in the playoffs. That being said, it sure looks like that if Dirk keeps up what he’s been doing in the first round, he’s probably going to win it. Just look at how well he’s playing the last 3 games of round 1! Without a doubt, he is doing a lot more and accomplishing a lot more compared to the other MVP candidates out there. Kobe’s scoring is down, Nash’s Suns are losing and Wade’s Heat have been struggling two games in a row against the Bulls. Brand’s and Billups’ teams are doing well, but they aren’t putting up the numbers or clutch performances that Dirk’s putting up.

    So, if Dirk can lead his team to the conference finals and be playing at the same level he’s been playing the last 3 games – my bet is that he’ll win it. =)

    Comment by Daniel -

  37. Hey Mark,
    I’m following the whole Mavs season from Germany. Unfortunately there are not that many games televised over here, but I check the box scores every morning. You are absolutely right, there can only be one MVP! And it is Dirk. In my oppinion he is the best German sportsman ever. But to be honest, I would more like him to be this years Finals MVP after your team has won game 7 at Auburn Hills!!!

    Comment by Martin -

  38. Yes, I find the lack of respect for the teammates of Lebron and Kobe disturbing. People act as if the players from Cleveland and LA are people picked from Rucker Park or something.

    Comment by Topnba -

  39. i like your site – look’s good

    Comment by Article -

  40. If you want to be totally objective about it, I think LeBron James deserves the MVP this year. Dirk, Kobe and Nash have nearly as good a case, but not quite.

    LeBron has the numbers and missed only a handful of games. He has the ‘making his teammates better’ argument. Also, his team made significant strides this year (3rd best record in the East), despite having the same or some would argue, less talent around him. Hughes, Z have both spent much time on the IL this year.

    If indeed Nash got his 2nd in a row, it’d be a shame, cause James would be robbed.

    Comment by Richard -

  41. yeah, but he’s still soft.

    Comment by Mike -

  42. i really, really agree to what you’re saying. i just hope and pray that people will realize that those who sort of show off don’t really deserve the title. those who are humble deserve it. it hurts that my cousins keep insulting him as a player because he really is underrated. i just hope that one day he would rub it in the world’s face that he can still rock like shaq or kobe– or even better– and still reamin humble.

    Comment by Inna Dizon -

  43. I agree completely. Unfortunately Dirk does not get the recognition he deserves from the national sports media, namely those clowns at TNT, but ESPN as well. NBA “analysts” still think of him as a 7-foot softy who just shoots and does nothing else. No one talks about Dirk’s rebounding, passing, shot-blocking, or his leadership on and off the court. Until Dirk either leads the Mavericks to an NBA title or starts doing a bunch of commercials like Kobe, K.G. Shaq, or LeBron, he will continue to be misunderstood and ignored by the morons who claim to know everything about every basketball team and player.

    Comment by Will -

  44. My son and I were watching the Mavs last week and at 11 Conner says to me “Dad this guy does it all!” He is a true MVP!. I could not agree more. With the possible exception of Ron Artest. He has done more for our Pacers by leaving than any single player has done by playing. Hope to see the Mavs down the road in the playoffs. .

    Comment by mike K Indy -

  45. Well the Arizona Republic has printed today, citing a league source familiar with the voting, that Steve Nash will become the 10th player to repeat as MVP. Magic Johnson is currently the only point guard to have won the award twice.
    Announcement may not come for 2 weeks.

    Looking to get some more Canadians on your payroll Mark with the Penguins?

    I’m just messing with ya, but it is cool in my books that Nash will repeat.

    Comment by Jim Dorey -

  46. Dirk Nowitzki is the clear choice for MVP. You measure an MVP by this…an MVP is a player that him and him alone gives his team a legitiamate chance to win the title…without Dirk they (as good asthey are) are not contenders. You can argue “Well without Shaq or Wade Miami doesn’t have a chance and you’d be right…but in my opinion, they don’t stand a chance with OR without them…don’t get me wrong they are both MVP calibur of course but, they don’t make a team… their players don’t funtion as a COMPLETE TEAM. You can say phoenix doesn’t contend without Nash…but again…they won’t contend with OR without him, you won’t have an all offensive teamlike them winning a grind it out 7 game series with a team that plays D…they shoot great but when those shots aren’t falling and you’re playing a High calibur team such as the Mavs, Spurs, and Detoit…teams that play solid D and still have offense…they simply can’t hang. Who on San Antonio can u call a MVP this year??? Don’t say Parker…San Antonio can contend without him…they can contend without Duncan and his hurt foot (I’ll say why later)…I am not saying they would win but i am saying that they would still be legit contenders for the title. Chauncey???Please…their most important player is by far Rasheed…if not him then Ben and they can’t win without ANY of their players. THEY NEED THAT STARTING 5…why? Because they have depended on it ALL YEAR. Without any one of them they wouldn’t stand a chance against San Antonio and certainly not Dallas. KOBE???WHATEVER!!!!!! He can barely get his team into the PLAYOFFS. He may be a great offensive player and a decent defender but let me say this…YOU CAN’T GIVE MVP TO SOMONE THAT HAD TO FIGHT LIKE A DOG TO STAY IN THE PLAYOFFS!! Lakers are NO WHERE near contention. Brand i do like and I see him emerging as an MV{ calibur player…but this is his first year to step into the light and while he plays extremely well he just does not have the precendent yet to make a strong case…let him do it for another year or two all the while improving on aspects he once lacked and then I’ll take him into serious consideration. Lebron…Ok he is agreat player…so I admit that…having said that I revert to 2 staements I previously said…(One about Brand) precedent…and the other and most important…they ARE NOT contenders with OR without him. So, In sumation, YES these teams have better shots with these players…but the bottom line is EITHER THEY DON’T HAVE A CHANCE WITH OR WITHOUT THEM OR THEY DO HAVE A CHANCE WITH OR WITHOUT THEM. These players DO NOT determine whether or not their teams are legit contenderd. SAN ANTONIO IS a legit contender BECAUSE they are a Great team and THEY ARE WELL COACHED!! DETROIT….SAME THING!!!! PHOENIX ISN’T b/c they are a HORRIBLE defensive team, MIAMI ISN”T b/c 2 people beleiving in a system DOES NOT A CHAMPION MAKE!!!! CLIPS AREN”T contenders b/c 2 or 3 players do NOT make EXPIERIENCE!! CAVS HAVE NO SHOT for 2 reasons…Even Jordan NEEDED Pippen and NOT NEAR ENOUGH EXPIERIENCE!!! LAKERS, Please don’t make me laugh…they have no shot b/c the only 2 people on the same page are KOBE and PHIL and even they look like strangers at times. So WHO does that leave you with??? A 7-footer that many revere as “An Impossible Match-Up for ANYONE”…he can shoot outside and drive to the hoop …This year he became ONLY the third player in NBA HISTORY to average 26 PPG and shoot 90 % from the line…who are the other 2??? West and Bird! It leaves you with a guy that shoots 48% from the field, only missed one game this year and that was b/c the game didn’t matter so he was rested, an guy that got picked as Player of the Month TWICE this season, the guy that won European Player of the YEAR, a guy that won the Three-Point Shooing contest against a sharpshooter in Ray Allen…A Guy that beat out NASH’S old free throw shooing record by going 50 STRAIGHT. A GUY that when some of his teams TOP PLAYERS are HURT steps up his game to a whole new dimension…a guy that is THE ONLY ALL-STAR (though Myself and many others would beg to differ) on his team. He has improved in so many aspecst of his game…improving weakness’s into strength’s and has made everyone around him better in the process!!! He hits GAME WINNING SHOTS, BLOCKS, and ASSIST’S…He has been their LEADER ALL YEAR LONG!!!! HE HAS LITERALLY TAKEN IT ALL ON HIS SHOULDERS!!!! He isn’t selling himself out IN ANY FORM OR FASHION!!!!! All he does is come out and play phenominal b-ball for his team and fans. After all that, the fact that some do not even consider him a CANDIDATE is beyond me. DIRK IS THE MVP!!! No Quesiton!!

    Comment by Sherri Stidham -

  47. Going one further, say LeBron & Kobe both got season-ending injuries the first week of training camp. Phil Jackson would still get 35 wins out of the Lakers by strategy and motivation.

    Comment by law -

  48. Anyone who thinks that the Cavs would only drop to the #9 spot without LeBron haven’t watched much of them.
    Hughes could drive, and Z would get some double teams, but there wouldn’t be the open floor for the rest of the players that there is now. We saw what it looked like B.J. (Before James) when Z was the option. It doesn’t work. Snow has been horrible shooting some nights, and wouldn’t be getting the rest to be useful down the stretch. (Besides the fact that LeBron plays the point down the stretch.)

    Going one further, say LeBron & Kobe both got season-ending injuries the first week of training camp. Phil Jackson would still get 35 wins out of the Lakers by strategy and motivation. Mike Brown admitted many times this year that he was lost. The Cavs don’t win 20 games without LeBron, and they have the most balls in the lottery.

    To pick an MVP, you also have to decide what you value. Give Kobe the choice between personal accolades and a championship, and we know his choice. He is valuable to your team only if it benefits him. LeBron could have averaged 50+ / night in HS, but was content to win and get other kids involved. The secret to being a superstar and a leader is to get your team to not resent you. LeBron got criticized for passing the ball out of double and triple teams to WIDE open shooters. How rediculous was that?

    Dirk or Nash should be the MVP. I pick Dirk because Nash put up his worst games when I needed him most on my fantasy team. LeBron is the MVP of the final month and a half, but the award is for the season, and he didn’t do it for the whole season. And I would put Wade and possibly Brand ahead of Kobe.

    Comment by Bill -

  49. An MVP is a player who makes his team mates much better. It’s not necessarily that the MVP is the best player, but he is the player who is a team-player. Well, take a look at the league’s (NBA) front runners for the MVP Race.

    Chauncey Billups of the Pistons
    Elton Brand of the Clippers
    Kobe Bryant of the Lakers
    Lebron James of the Cavaliers
    Steve Nash of the Suns
    Dirk Nowitzki of the Mavericks
    Dwyane Wade of the Heat

    Well, I’d try to comment on each of the MVP FrontRunners.
    1. Billups- Well for him, he plays really good. Can play offense and defense. But if he should be the MVP, you must take out the Wallaces, Prince and Hamilton. If he can lead the Pistons to 60+ wins without those guys, well he can be the MVP.
    2. Brand- An excellent PF of the Clippers. He’s got enough fuel to run. An all-around player, and can play defense and offense. He led the Clippers to the playoffs, and does the old-school type of play. A good choice as an MVP.
    3. Bryant- One of the unstoppable guys in the history of the NBA. He led the Lakers to the playoffs. Yet, he didn’t influence his co-players to obtain stellar statistics. A great player, but not a valuable player.
    4. James- The king comes. Lebron is really the diamond of the Cavaliers. Take a look at Cleveland when James was not yet drafted. The Cavs were a poor team before. But when James arrived, he rocked Cleveland. He made Ilgauskas as a great threat. A clear candidate as the valuable player of the year.
    5. Nash- He was the MVP of last year’s conference. He led the Suns to an amazing record last year. Look at the Suns before they obtained Nash. The Suns at that time had Amare and the Matrix to lead the time, yet didn’t excel in the West. Nash was the glue of these wonderful talents. Yet since they lost their firepower nowadays, Nash might lose this award.
    6. Nowitzki- Dirk was ranked 3rd of last year’s MVP race. Now, he carries the bulk of Dallas to influence Howard and Terry to be efficient players. He spreads his aura to the team, and even made Diop as a real postman. No question, Nowitzki is one of the year’s valuable player.
    7. Wade- Young, competitive, strong, athletic. One of the things that can describe Wade. Dwyane showed his skill, as he delivered Heat to the playoffs. But still, he is surrounded by Shaq’s stronghold. A great player, but Shaq must be a possible MVP.

    Well, with my comments, it leaves Brand, James, Nowitzki and Wade as the MVP. Brand and Wade lack luster (I mean, the power of media, or somehow, media exposure). So Nowitzki and James are the real thing. They are my bets to win the race. If its not Dirk, it should be James. But well, I’m more on Dirk as the next MVP, for still, James is still too young to achieve that award, just like the other legends.

    Speaking of legends, well Dallas has a new legend. If Dirk is the MVP for this season, then it just shows that they’ve gut the ala-Larry Bird(just take out his trash talking).:D Push Dirk as the new MVP.

    Comment by wulvie -

  50. Exactly, Dirk is THE MVP! The point raised here and often in the media is his “lack of character”. I personally think that is not true at all. Dirk is an inspiring guy, not as much as show as others but the most honest, hard-working and brilliant guy out there. If he lacks charisma, how come when I go play ball in Hong Kong, 4 out of 5 kids wear a Nowitzki jersey?! That’s right because they know a true MVP when they see one!

    Comment by Robert -

  51. Dirk Nowitzki, well what can I say? He has had a stellar season and is a very valuable asset to his team. He has changed his approach on the court and now is a defensive minded player, and yet he could still score with the best of them. I am a Nets fan at heart, but there is no denying who should win this year’s MVP. Its D-I-R-K. He has averaged nine rebounds and almost twenty seven points a game. No other player has those kind of states. I hope Dirk wins, if the NBA truly wants to expand its borders it should give Dirk the MVP. Dirk will help the NBA and he is the most deserving. Simply put: Dirk is the best and will continue to be for many years to come. This will be the first of many.

    Comment by Hamed Noor -

  52. I can pretty much guarantee you it is a 4 way race right now…

    Nash, Nowitzki, Lebron, Kobe. The leader might end up being lebron cause they jsut beat teh nets and his team will most likely end up with 50 wins.

    And his play of late has been excellent. I hope not…cause im a kobe fan…but if kboe and the lakers dont win their last 5 games and finish with 45, i dont see him having any chance.

    At 45-37, he may get it….otherwise, you can probably rule him out also.

    So that leaves the other 3 candidates.

    Comment by Kami -

  53. If Kobe dosent take all those shots he takes then who will? everyone on that team besides kobe dont even show up half the time(Odom). Kobe gets the ball in tough situations because he can handle it, he’s the most unstoppable guard in the league right now.

    Comment by Mobi man -

  54. Playground Game of Death: Kobe.

    Comment by Matt -

  55. The last theory on MVP is the Bill Simmons “Playground Game of Death” idea, that if you had to pick a team to play a pickup game with your life on the line, who’s your first pick?

    Comment by Jewelry -

  56. i dont know why everybody is saying mark cuban did a bad job in not resigning nash . common he played here and the mavs never got to the western conference finals and dirk got injured did nash pick up the team in his shoulders and carried the tema to victory . mmmmm let me see noooo so what is the big deal with nash as cuban said the guy is an injury waiting to happpen look at him always resting his back on timeouts he will wear out by the last year in his contract . You have to give your team the best chance to win they tried it with nash and finley the BIG3 now lets see playoff time how dirk will elevate his game and bring a nba finals trophy to the mavs.

    Comment by Jimmy Garcia -

  57. The MVP award is no longer what it used to be. Once Karl Malone won it over Michael Jordan, the thing just went haywire. Who knows what MVP means. All I know is, before Karl Malone, it went to the best player in the league, and you could count on that player leading his team to a strong campaign through the regular season. It used to be easy; no longer is it now. Dirk is a worthy and deserving candidate for the MVP, unfortunately he just doesn’t get the pub. The man has stepped up to the new challenges he faces each and every year, and has Dallas always near the top. But it doesnt take a genius to figure out, he wont be hoisting that trophy this year. It’s pretty much going to come down to Kobe, Lebron, Nash, or Billups. Logic would say Nash, because he’s turned in a more masterful season than from last year with such a great roster turnover. But then you have take it another notch with Billups, another great PG is the head of a monster team, and he even plays great defense. Lebron statistically has arrived and led his team to 50 wins, a great benchmark. And then there is Kobe, he is the best player in the game. He is the assassin of the league. But did his team do enough to justify him winning the MVP award?

    Comment by NBAfan -

  58. I totally have an arguement against Dirk being the MVP. He means as much to his team as much if not more than any other player in the league. The only other ones, in my opinion, that mean the same amount are the others in the MVP race, Kobe, Lebron, and Nash. Im from Pittsburgh, your hometown, and seeing as there is no basketball here, ive turned to the closest team, Cleveland, and thus am a HUGE lebron fan. I think he is deserving as well as the others mentioned, but i believe, as much as it pains me, that neither dirk nor lebron will win, its going to be kobe. That team isnt even close to having a winning record if hes not there. I mean they didnt have one as is, but without him, they are a top 5 lottery team. Oh and for the record, please consider buying our lowsy baseball team, they need someone like you. Someone who doesnt care as much about making profits as you do about winning. Maybe you can replace our lowsy, could give a shit less about winning, only money, owner we have. Please consider it. Thanks

    Comment by Chaz Becker -

  59. 19,000 tickets to nowhere ;) lol

    Dirk is deserving .I wonder what his compensation is..probably half what he’s worth considering source. HE probably got free voucher to San Antonio ,K.C. or St.Louis like the fans .

    Comment by Ron D -

  60. To me, I’d have to go with Steve Nash again. Say how Dirk has no one to play with is disingenuous, given how you’ve stocked your teams with one time All-Stars and highly drafted
    players on their way up. You’ll see when the Suns take out the Lakers, and when the Grizzlies beat your Mavericks. Pau Gasol is the hombre.

    Comment by Tom Snider -

  61. Don’t you think this is also a personality contest? There were several years Karl Malone was way more valuable than Jordan, but nobody liked Karl. I’m not saying Dirk isn’t likable, but as you said, he’s not in the public eye as much as the carnival barker nba playas.

    Comment by RamZ -

  62. Ming,
    Your’e an Idiot!

    Comment by raf -

  63. hi mark,

    Say hi to dirk (I played against him when he played in Wuerzburg) and let`s hope he gets enough votes!

    all the best andreas ruehrig

    Comment by Andreas -

  64. Not that you care about the mini-jersey but maybe someone else on your blog would like it.

    Comment by JYT -

  65. Dirk definately should beat out Kobe for MVP. Lebron is a real contender. I would probably vote for Dirk.

    Hey I wanted to drop a line and see if you could stop by and win a free mini-jersey for writing a comment on steroids.

    Check it out, and tell me what you think.

    Comment by JYT -

  66. Damp has always been a thorn in my side. Yeah, he plays better off the bench but something about the guy just rubs me the wrong way. It’s obvious that he is just another player that is in it for the paycheck. He is lazy–that’s why he has to come off the bench. Well, other than the fact that he handles the ball like its covered in grease.
    This is one of the main reason’s why I am so passionate about Dirk. He truly loves the game. I’m a b-ball fanatic. While I am very loyal to the Mavs & Dirk, I admire a lot of other players in the league.
    Daniel’s is another player who is a huge disappointment to me. I know for a fact that Dirk and others across the league have played with far more serious injuries. Daniel’s is just injured entirely too much. He needs to go.
    Hopefully this will be Keith Van Fake-An-Injury’s last season with the Mavs as well.

    Comment by Shawn -

  67. #37: are we giving this award based on looks? dampier is one of the laziest players in the league, he gripes bc dirk tries to make him get interested though no one could make damp give a damn. he has stepped up countless times this year to wins games and mark my words he will do so in the playoffs this year.

    Comment by taylor -

  68. Nah, the Mavs just have a bad ass owner {kiss-kiss}.

    Take Nash away from the Suns, and they are done. Who cares about “all stars”. Arenas was an all-star because someone was injured. The Mavs can spread shots over with JT and Stack.

    Dirk doesn’t hog the ball enough anyway. He should be McHale-ish and just pound it every time.

    Since we are talking about Dirk, hell yeah. He needs to shoot more dammit! He can score on anyone in the NBA, and he is so passive. That really pisses me off when I watch the Mavs play. Also, what was that last year in the playoffs when he was screaming at JT? JT was the reason they were even winning.

    Anyway, it is Nash or Kobe. Take either one out, and the team is done.

    Comment by Davorama -

  69. Hey Mark,

    Very classy move giving away tickets at the last home game of the year. I’m sure that move will make the rounds on Sports Center and other media outlets giving your Mavs some much needed attention before the playoffs.

    Ed

    Comment by Ed -

  70. raf:

    There are many things not to like about Avery Johnson. My pet peeve is his in-your-face prosletizing when he was a player. Plus, he just wasn’t a very good player and he got way more credit than he should have.

    Regardless of all that, it is not a FACT that I “know nothing about the game of basketball.” That is only your insulting opinion of me.

    Totally uncalled for, too.

    Comment by Mick Ring -

  71. First off:

    Kobe is NOT going to be this years MVP.
    MVP is not just about what happens on the court.
    MVP= MUST have VALUES and PUBLIC favor.
    Ummm… Kobe does not exactly fit into this category.
    I don’t think that the NBA could afford to have Kobe as its MVP when the majority of the public still believes that he was guilty of rape, especially after how hard Stern has worked to diminish the NBA’s “gangster-friendly” reputation.
    Plus, Kobe is the prime example of a ball-hog player who is ALL about himself. He cares nothing about his team—its all about HIM!!
    He could not stand sharing the spotlight with Shaq, and if Kobe has his way, the Lakers will never have another super star on their team again as long as he is there. What does he care? He already has “his” rings.

    LeBron–absolutely awesome player, great team player both on and off the court.
    Fans love him, the public loves him, great personality, very mature for his age. He is what Kobe was supposed to have been- the next Michael Jordan. LeBron has the potential to have that special quality that only a few NBA stars have ever been able to achieve and that is the fact that you don’t have to be a fan of the NBA to be a fan of the player. Just like Magic, Bird and Jordan. I don’t know how many kids I went to school with used to wear Jordan or Magic jerseys and they were not even a fan of the NBA.
    Problem: (1)Even LeBron has said that Dirk should be this season’s MVP.
    (2)Needs to improve on defense and free throw shooting.
    (3)Just not quite his time for MVP yet. His time will certainly arrive but even Jordan didn’t get MVP for his first 4 or 5 seasons in the league.

    Chauncey: His game has certainly improved but come on…. take him away from the team and you’ve still got one hell of a team. Take Dirk away from the Mavs and the players already have their bags packed for their family vacation.

    Nash: Definitely deserved to be MVP last season.
    Problem this season: When is the last time that Dirk went scoreless in a game? Enough said.

    Dirk:
    Dirk ranks eighth in the league in scoring at 26.6 points per game, and has no All-Star teammates nor any teammate who ranks in the top 20 in any statistical category.
    (The “ONLY” MVP candidate not to have a teammate ranked in a top 20 stat category.)

    I am sick of hearing how Dirk doesn’t have a personality. OMG, this is SO FAR from the truth. Take it from an ex-Reunion Roadie—Dirk has one of the best personalities of any player the Mavs have ever had. He is funny as hell; the locker-room clown. He shows emotion on the court. He is a gym rat almost to a fault. Both Nellie and Avery have said that they have had to “make” him go home.
    He is very good to his fans. He never expects to be paid for public appearances, never says no to an autograph, never ignores fans or the media. His teammates love him. You will NEVER hear Dirk bragging about how great he is. With Dirk, its all about the “team” win—never about his personal stats.

    So what if he doesn’t do a ton of commercials?
    He has literally carried this team on his back all season long. (But of course, he would NEVER admit this and would probably find a reason to disagree.)

    Want to talk about “No personality”?
    2 words: Tim Duncan
    I only recently saw him smile. I was beginning to wonder if the guy even had teeth.
    I respect him as a player but OMG, its like watching a robot play basketball.
    He wins a championship and “no emotion.”

    Dirk wins a playoff game in Utah (to end their long playoff drought) and picks Nash up and spins him around the court in excitement, then starts hugging the fans who rushed on the court to celebrate their miraculous win. (Yes, I was lucky enough to have been one of those crazy fans who flew to Utah thanks to Mr. Cuban providing the tickets to me and 400 other Mavs fans.)

    He is a 7 foot player that can do things that a 7 foot player is not supposed to be able to do. He is one of the most difficult players to guard in the league. He does whatever is asked of him without question. He is constantly doing whatever it takes to improve his game.
    He will always find a reason to blame himself for losses.

    Dirk has the numbers, the talent, the personality, the work ethic and the unselfish team values.

    To sum it up, this is a recent quote from Dirk and it pretty much defines the type of person and player that he is:
    “In a team sport, you don’t go for individual awards,” Nowitzki said. “That’s not how you approach a season. That’s not my goal.

    “If I would get MVP, that would be a great honor. If not, I’m focusing on the playoffs and having a good run there.”

    Without question. Dirk IS the MVP.

    Comment by Shawn -

  72. Mark,

    Back when I was a fledgling Milwaukee Bucks blogger and not affiliated with mostvaluablenetwork.com, I picked the Mavericks to pick the Championship this year. In case you read the comments and see this, it’s right here:

    http://bucksfansam.blogspot.com/2005/10/only-power-rankings-that-mattermine.html

    You’re a great owner and you deserve the success your team is having.

    Comment by Sam -

  73. ^ Tool Bags.

    Mark has it right. When you look at the other candidates they simply don’t compare.

    Kobe Bryant – Didn’t clinch a playoff birth until the last week of NBA games and showed his lack of maturity and MVP stature with a cheap elbow to Mike Miller’s throat which potenially could have been much more harmful than it was. A true snake, much like his nickname “Black Mamba”

    Chauncey Billups – After pioneering through the league he has become a premier guard. The reason he won’t win MVP is because they have 4 guys that made the all-star game, would have been five if the league permitted.

    Steve Nash – You can say that Steve has been incredible, but consider this. The Suns have lost 9 more games this year than they did last year. Arguing that Amare is the reason that they lost 9 more games only diminishes Nash’s MVP stature from last year. His defense doesn’t help his case either.

    LeBron James – Amazing numbers, held his team together at such a young age, won All-Star MVP (youngest ever), and continues to show brilliance up and down the court. However Cleveland still hasn’t won 50 games, improving 7 wins.

    Jay Martin

    Comment by Jay Martin -

  74. austin, it’s pronounced “hom-o” not “hom-er”

    Comment by TCz -

  75. You are the definition of ‘Homer’.

    Comment by austin -

  76. Dirk is obviously a contender thats not the question. MVP’s are usually based on personal stats with some consideration on how their team is performing. With that being said Dirk does not stand a chance against Kobe this season. And actually Mr. Cuban Kobe is the Dirk of the Lakers. He also is the standout. The Mavs will go farther in the playoffs but Kobe takes MVP.

    Comment by Ryan -

  77. 30, 7, & 6
    King James takes the crown away from the Kaiser.

    Comment by TCz -

  78. i’m counting down the days till i hear the announcement….and we’re the first team to win 16 games. I AM PUMPED!!!!!!!

    Comment by cali -

  79. # 16 is right 100% until reading that post I had not given a seconds’ thought to the possibility that Dirk would be anywhere but the mavericks, but I thought the same of Nash and Finley, and we’re better without them, now Dirk can shine for the leader he is, but like Greg, the though of Dirk on an opposing team, nightmares, truly nightmares.
    DIRK FOR MVP ! DIRK ! DIRK ! DIRK ! DIRK ! DIRK ! DIRK ! DIRK ! DIRK ! DIRK ! DIRK !

    Comment by Sabrina -

  80. The end of your comment is the exact reason why Dirk will never win MVP. The NBA and Stern dont care about guys who bust their ass, they care about money. The guys like Vince Carter, Lebron James, Carmelo, Shaq, and Kobe will always be promoted by the league over role models like Dirk, Elton Brand, Emeka Okafor, and Pau Gasol (all all-star caliber players). The reason is that they do all the endorsements, so they are recognizable to even casual fans. Lets face it, the NBA is a business and it isnt in its best interest to reward the best or hardest working player with an individual award.

    Comment by Mario -

  81. orlando wouldnt have won 20 games without dwight howard. so is he the mvp?? mvp should go to the team with a top record in the league. narrow it down to dallas, detroit and the spurs. dirk, chauncey or maybe tony parker. you think miami would have won 50 games without wade? you cant look at where would the team be without this player, you need to give it to somebody whose team has done exceptionally well. the fourth seed in the Leastern conference does not equal a top record in the league

    Comment by ashwin -

  82. Kobe is the league MVP. His team would not have won 20 games this year without him.

    Comment by evan klein -

  83. I like Dirk but to say that the the Pistons would be a contender w/o Billups is silly. He is clutch and I’m by no means a pistons fan.

    Comment by Daryl Goard -

  84. well, i’ve come to my realization that Dirk for MVP is a fantasy. As much as he absolutely deserves the award in the traditional sense of it, he will not get it. I’ve read through too many articles and seen too much crap on ESPN about LeBron, Kobe, Billups, Brand, and Nash with not even a mention of Dirk that I see know way that he could possibly get enough votes for it.

    The ONLY guy from the list of top candidates that actually deserves it is LeBron–no one else. I guess if he won and Dirk finished second i wouldn’t be too angry, but thats not happening. Dirk deserves this more than anyone else in the league (even more so than LeBron), but I just can’t see him getting it.

    Comment by Boriskin -

  85. “This is a team that no sportswriter I can think of, predicted would win anywhere near 60 games.”

    What about Bill Simmons? Did you forget about him even though you had a pretty lengthy exchange with him on his site? Here’s his predictions to remind you…the Mavs actually fell short.

    WEST PREDICTIONS:
    15. New Orleans (17-65)
    14. Portland (23-57)
    13. Memphis (31-51)
    12. Utah (35-47)
    11. Golden State (37-45)
    10. Sacramento (39-43)
    9. Seattle (41-41)
    8. LA Lakers (42-40)
    7. Phoenix (43-39)
    6. Minnesota (44-38)
    5. LA Clippers (45-37)
    4. Denver (49-33)
    3. Houston (53-39)
    2. Dallas (63-19)
    1. San Antonio (70-12)

    As a Mavs season ticket holder, I can’t support an “MVP” who’s team didn’t show up for a crucial game when they had the #1 seed in their sights. And it’s ridiculous to act like a team that has the second highest payroll in the league exceeded expectations just by capturing the 4 seed in the playoffs…unless you’re judging them against the Knicks. Dirk was the leading scorer and an All Star for a team with one future star (Howard) and a roster full of legitimate NBA players. Kobe and Lebron both led overachieving teams that continued to win in April, and they did it with little to no help.

    Comment by Dennis Koniecki -

  86. Hey Mick,
    It’s not an insult. It’s a fact. Anyone that has a dislike for Avery Johnson needs a reality check. What’s not to like?

    Comment by raf -

  87. Have you ever heard of a guy named Kobe? I hear he’s pretty good.

    Comment by funny shirts -

  88. I’ve been a Mavs fan for a long time and I can’t recall all the “knowits” clamering for stevie like they have been since he left for the suns. Seems to me that he owes his new found motivation (as of last year)to Mark and the fact that he was not invited back to the Mavs. He was not the leader on the Mavs, he was one of 3 really great guys. Last year he had lots to prove and did just that. He would never have elevated his game this late in his career had he stayed with the Mavs. He was indeed the MVP last year, not this time. It’s Dirks year. Oddly enough, Stevie would probably agree. As for all you Kobe lovers out there, weren’t you all booing him last year due to his “indiscretions”? He is an MVP only to himself.

    Comment by ann albers -

  89. I agree with Mark, Dirk is the MVP this season. Yeah, it is a close race, but unlike every other player in the race, he is playing without an “allstar” (in the true sense of the word). Not to take away anything from the rest of the mavs, but seriously where would they be without him?

    Nash-Everyone is going to use the recent game against the Lakers where he didn’t play and they got creamed. I actually watched most of that game, and it wasn’t because Nash wasn’t playing. They did fine without him, thier problem was they weren’t hitting shots. And I mean wide open shots. Plus, wasn’t there a game this season where he scored 0 points? Sure, The Suns are winning without Amare, and Nash is part of that reason, but it is a nice luxury to play with a guy who averages a double double.

    Kobe, Lebron- These are the two guys I think that should come in 2,3. Even when the Mavs were missing their key players (besides Dirk) they still have about the same winning percentage as the Lakers and Cavs do. So despite having missing players Dirk was still able to keep his team as good as Lebron and Kobe keep thier teams (One team with a Hall of fame coach and one team with other allstar players). Dirk also has a better % than these guys in the points category (free throw, 3-pointer, field goal).

    Billups- I honestly don’t see how anyone can make a case for this dude. Put me on a team with the guys he plays with and I would win games too.

    I could go on for a while…but I don’t want to repeat what everyone else has already said.

    Comment by Mariah -

  90. All valid points by Mark about Dirk. The thing that swings the MVP to Nash again is the Suns record without Amare Stoudemire. Several Suns are averaging career highs in scoring. Sunday’s game against the Lakers tells you that Steve Nash is the MVP of league. He didn’t play and they got blown out by the Lakers. I agree with Skip Bayless of ESPN. You put Nash on the Lakers and Kobe on the Suns and the Lakers would finish 2nd or 3rd in the conference. The same Lakers that Kobe could barely get in the playoffs. Same goes for Cleveland or Miami if you swap Nash for James or Wade. Those teams would have better records with Nash. Dirk should come in 2nd in the MVP race. The Mavericks are probably a lottery team without him. The Suns would be a worse lottery team without Nash. Nash is the MVP again.

    Comment by Shake -

  91. Yeah, I have to agree with Doug B. I can’t believe how you are slamming Nash. What a cheap shot! LOL, that was tongue in cheek. The MVP is NOT necessarily the best player in the league. If it were, MJ would have won it at least 10 times. Kobe’s had a great season no doubt. But his greatness has willed his team to a record barely above .500 and a 1st round playoff exit. No MVP for Kobe this year.

    Comment by Mendrys -

  92. What you are all forgetting about Kobe is that without Phil Jackson, the Lakers (Kobe included) wouldn’t even make it to the playoffs this year. The Lakers haven’t added any “key” pieces to their roster other than the coach as far as I am concerned.

    It’s easy to undermine Dirk and the Dallas Mavericks because they have never been considered a serious post-season threat until this year. It takes time to change people’s perceptions about trends.

    Although in my book Nash and Nowitzki are pretty close seconds, LeBron takes my vote as this year’s MVP. It’s not because he is the much hyped MJ of the future.

    It’s because he carried his team on his shoulders from the 9th seed to the 4th: he did it while taking criticism for passing up the game winning shot to lesser known teammates who had better looks and more often than not, drained those shot. LeBron not only took his level of play to the next level this year, he flat out dominated every game he played.

    While people are talking about 20+ 5 and 5 being a sign of greatness, “the kid” is averaging 31+ 7 and 6+. While Dirk is having an enourmous year at the age of 28, “the kid” is dominating the game we love at the age of 21.

    I really enjoy watching the Mavs and Dirk is one of my favorite players. I keep up on Mark’s blog weekly and I really love seeing a common Joe who became a self made billionaire rightfully endorse one of his team’s main players. I must say that anyone who doesn’t think LeBron had an MVP season this year is either too fanatical or has personal reasons to dislike “the kid.”

    Comment by Orkun -

  93. Good arguement for Avery being coach of the year and not for Dirk being MVP. Dirk is Top 3 or 4 in consideration but not the MVP.

    What team didn’t make playoffs last year and will this year? Cleveland and Lakers – it will either be James or Kobe. Nash’s production has dropped that last month of the season and the “improved” players on the Suns are really just benefitting from actual playing time and D’Antoni’s system.

    Comment by bob rogers -

  94. If you ask Mark Cuban to put his money where his mouth is, he will. He values his own opinion because he does not shoot from the lip and goes to analytical heights to collect the facts on which to base that opinion. Here is the dilemma, do you pay a player for the MVP hardware, or do you pay the player for the level of effort and athletic accomplishments that result in the award system bestowing the hardware on the player. Obviously, the bonus money for a player who wins the MVP hardware is an incentive for a player to deliver effort and accomplishment. If the owner of a team truly believes that a player has earned the hardware, does he pay the bonus whether or not some award system coincides with his own assessment and the facts of the player’s effort and accomplishments on the hardwood ? Of course, the award and the recognition it brings does add some revenues to the team – but how can you separate that out from the revenues that great effort and accomplishments on the hardwood bring in? No, I am not Dirk’s agent, but I am sure he is having a certain BlogMaverick post carved into a granite folio and buying a wheelbarrow to bring the tablet to the negotiating table – and then expects to fill that wheelbarrow up at the Bank of Maverick for the owner-certified MVP performance that Dirk has deposited this season.

    Comment by David Warren -

  95. You said it Mark! I agree!

    Comment by Brandon Tyler -

  96. I am a big fan of Dirk, but this article is much less objective than you all seem to think. It wasn’t so long ago (last years playoffs) that Dirk disappeared in the first round – then started a blame fest focused on every but himself against the Suns.

    Still sounds like Mark is a little upset he LET Nash go. Why else would he take such an uncalled for cheap shot at the current MVP selling a basic skills video. If Mark was a true fan of the game wouldn’t he want more young players LEARNING the fundamentals instead of AND 1 skills?

    Just a thought: If you have to tear down another player to make a case for your guy to be the MVP – he isn’t – if he was that good then no amount of negative media attention would be able to hold him down.

    Comment by Doug B -

  97. Dirk should win the MVP award, but I do not think he actually will win it. People like to point out the “superior” talent around Dirk, which is quite funny.

    Lebron is working with an All – Star center (last year), a guy coming off a 20ppg & All – Defenive Team season and quality shooters like Marshall and Jones, yet people praise him for leading a team with such “horrible pieces” to 50 wins and into the playoffs, while repeating the media chorus of “Dallas/Dirk does not play defense hurrr”.

    I find the lack of respect for the teammates of Lebron and Kobe disturbing. People act as if the players from Cleveland and LA are people picked from Rucker Park or something (well yeah, Smush).

    Comment by LJ -

  98. I love watching Nash play, I like watching the Pistons as a whole, but the MVP comes down to LeBron, Kobe, and Dirk. One school of thought is “If you took him off his team, how well would they do?” The Lakers would be fighting the Knicks for “the most lottery balls” game, the Cavs wouldn’t make the playoffs, and the Mavs would be a 6 or maybe even a 7 without their superstars. So each team drops about 5 or 6 playoff spots (if you consider the Mavs are actually a 2 seed in a logical playoff system). If the school of thought is “best player on a good team”, then it clearly has to be Dirk. If you consider pure statistics, consider also that while Kobe averages 35 points per game, he shoots 30-35 shots a game and gets to the line 9 or 10 times. Shooting 45% from the field and 75% from the line, can you honestly say that LeBron and Dirk wouldn’t also average 35 a game if they ignored their teammates as much? The last theory on MVP is the Bill Simmons “Playground Game of Death” idea, that if you had to pick a team to play a pickup game with your life on the line, who’s your first pick? Simmons argues that it’s Kobe, but do you honestly want your life on the line with a guy that ignored teammates even when he had Shaq, makes his team worse, and would hoist 30 shots a game even when he wasn’t hot? And if your opponent takes Bruce Bowen then you might as well start heading the the executioner, ’cause your life is over. You take LeBron or Dirk, LeBron because he can get to the rim at will but makes his teammates better, and Dirk because he’s the closest thing to unguardable right now, and as soon as he improves his low post moves he’ll be unstoppable. If you add the team success with the “Playground Game of Death” scenario, the MVP has to be Dirk. Unfortunately he doesn’t get the hype of the other players for whatever reason, because he scores on jumpers instead of dunks, he’s less marketable, or people hate the Mavs.

    Comment by Bob -

  99. AMEN Brother—–you’ve said it and the stats show it—–nothing more said. I like Dirks response to all this hoopla—-the team and the championship is more important than individual accomplishments. Maybe his next contract will show how we feel about him.

    Comment by Jerry Driskell -

  100. Greg – I’m no Kobe fan, but I gotta give respect where it’s due. Without Bryant, the Lakers would be a 15-20 win team. With him, they’ve won 44 and are a dangerous looking #7 seed. He’s a selfish ballhog alright. But he has that team on his back and is carrying them to high levels they could not achieve apart from his contribution.

    Here’s a good read from Bill Simmons:
    http://sports.espn.go.com/espn/page2/story?page=simmons/060414

    Comment by Dan -

  101. I am sure glad you were able to muster up enough votes from the cronies that read your blog. Too bad their votes don’t count.

    Lebron, Billups, or that guy you wouldn’t re-sign deserve it more. :D

    Comment by G Meyers -

  102. for those Kobe lovers, consider this:

    Bryant is HORRIBLE!

    Game winning shots, he is 7 for 32, .219 FG% compared to Dirk’s 7 for 19, .363 FG%

    And in the 4th quarter or overtime, less than 5 minutes left, neither team ahead by more than 5 points (source: 82games.com),

    Dirk shoots .417 while Kobe shoots .364

    Dirk is a better rebounder, better PCT shooting FT’s, 3-pointers, and from the field. Plays less minutes and gets 3 times as many blocks. Plus, Kobe is a selfish ball-hog who has no concept of the team game and has lost so many games for the Lakers this year. The media only selects to show those game winners. Never the “game losers”. The media would need a 1-hour special for those!

    Comment by greg -

  103. Mark – I like your comments on Dirk and think he would be a very deserving MVP. That being said, I’m not sure if I’d give it to him, Kobe or LeBron. Those teams wouldn’t be anywhere near where they are without those two, either. But I’d put Dirk in my top 3 with DWade on the outside looking in. And to comment on your NBA playoff article of a week or so ago – it really stinks that for setting that franchise record in wins your reward is to play the “winner” of the Clips/Grizz game. (Sucks to be them!). But I still like your Mavs to come out of the West. I just dropped my potentially premature NBA playoff preview on our Blog and if you don’t mind, I linked to your post.

    Comment by Dan -

  104. Hey, I love Dirk, and if it was up to me, he would win the MVP award (finally) but this year Steve Nash is repeating. I’d be very surprised if he didn’t.

    Comment by Fan -

  105. I think Dirk is great. I’m not sold he is the MVP, but Mark makes a very good case. But whoever said above that he is the most underrated player in the NBA (I think it was Adam) is crazy. Nothing personal, but Dirk gets more than his share of TV time, props from commentators, props from other players and coaches. To say he is underrated is just silly. Now, not to be a homer, but alot of the things said by Mark above could be applied to Pau Gasol of the Grizzlies. I’m not making the case he should be MVP, but simply using him to show there are deserving players on small market teams that could truly be called “the most underrated player in the NBA”. Gasol is a star, who rarely gets credit from other players (like Dirk), and there are nights the Grizzlies win and its not even shown on ESPN news. Its a joke!

    Comment by Andy -

  106. Whoa, I thought you was talking about Kobe for a second.

    I could post the same arguement for Kobe being MVP (Not including the Role Model part). But my point is, Kobe lost one of the best players in the league, has a completely different team including all 4 starters. Most sportswriters said they would make the playoffs. He has hit game winning shot, blocked shots, blah, blah, blah.

    I’m not saying Dirk isn’t deserving because he totally is. To me he’s 2nd best to Kobe. The voting my not play out that way, those idiots will probably vote him 4th or 5th.

    Just my opionion !!! Isn’t that what every blog in the world is……..Opionions !!!

    Comment by V Vincent -

  107. AMEN!!!

    I WOULD BE HAPPY IF MY DAUGHTER MARRIED HIM OR IF MY SON GREW UP TO BE LIKE HIM.

    Comment by Greg -

  108. “You’re totally right about Shawn Marion. I consider him to be the best role-player of all-time.”

    Poor Scottie Pippen.

    Comment by Hashim -

  109. Hi Guys,

    I totally agree with Mark’s arguments and with some comments. I’m from Germany so i got the outside view on the NBA as well as the german opinion about Dirk. Some mentioned it before, the NBA and the media are promoting LeBron and Kobe. You can get their shirts everywhere but try to get a Dirk shirt…
    I’m just wondering, you know the main audience is white, middleclass suburbia and Nash fits perfect to that. Why not Dirk? I mean, in my eyes he should be perfect.
    Anyway, here in Germany Dirk got the same problems. I think he’s the second richest german athlete (only behind Michael Schumacher who makes liks 60 million a year) but still he’s not in the media. he’s only doing advertisements for a small bank on television. Sure, you can get here the NBA only on paytv so the audience is quite small but still i think the appreciation is not like it should be. Last year there was the Eurobasket in Serbia where Dirk played for the german national team after a long NBA Season. The team was mediocre but still they managed to get to the finals because of a sensational performance by Dirk who became the MVP. This shows me that this guy takes responsibility. A lot of NBA players would rather made holidays then playing for a national team who had no chance to win the tournament. (US basketball team 2004) Things like that make Dirk for me worth an MVP. Yet, nobody noticed it in Germany. Dirk needs maybe to promote him better but maybe he’s just satisfied with the situation.

    Sure he doesn’t score like Kobe but he can lead his team. Basketball is about playing together and not about the stats. Plus i think Dirk deserves the MVP just for having the most beautiful shot in the NBA. Everybody wants to dunk but nobody can shoot anymore.

    Flo

    Comment by Florian -

  110. bsvc dir:
    “I hate to say it, because you know I love Dirk’s game, but what holds him back is a lack of a personality. He’s not a self-promoter and his image is lackluster. ”

    Look at the last 4 MVPs (Nash, Garnett, Duncan, Duncan). I don’t really think you have to be a self-promoter or have an extreme public image for the MVP race. Dirk has a solid chance. As a fan I don’t really care about awards like these, but I know they help owners promote and show deserved appreciation for the players.

    Comment by Keith -

  111. Preach! Dirk really deserves the MVP award, you already stated all the important facts (crunch time – dirk “money” time! his leadership off and on the court bringing 60(+) wins, …)!

    Comment by Ingoal -

  112. Dirk has had an amazing 2nd half of the year. Kobe has had an amazing year. I have to think that you are a bit bias, as you have never posted a blog supporting a non Mav player as MVP. Which is fine, you do own the team. But come on, let’s give the award to the player that has been the most valuable to his team.

    As for your first 3 comments – you let both of the players walk. I don’t think you can complain that you “lost” these 2 players. Those were internal decisions. And your coach desires coach of the year, but he isn’t in his first year as an NBA coach, maybe first full year, but not first year.

    Comment by Glenn -

  113. i like your site – look’s good

    Comment by jeichi -

  114. Plus he’s a weird looking dude, a bad teammate (ask Dampier), and doesn’t win big games.
    Regards, Rinat

    Comment by Port 1 -

  115. 1) Dirk
    2) Nash
    3) Lebron
    4) Wade
    5) Kobe

    I’m a Heat fan but Dirk is very deserving to win the MVP. He will be the second(?) non-American if ever to win the MVP of the NBA.

    Comment by MOG-Manila, Philippines -

  116. Dirk, Lebron, Nash, Bryant have all had superb seasons, but Dirk is the man this year. He has propelled this team from the first game of the season when they were down nearly 20 pts to the suns, and Sir Charles telling the nation how this team didn’t have a chance in hell to make a run.

    To all those Kobe fans out there. If Dirk threw up nearly 40 to 50 shots a game he might hit 81 as for any other all star in the league.

    Comment by Seth -

  117. Absolutely agreed. Even (or a fortiori) in Germany, many people notice and admire the great job Nowitzki does. And taking into account the problems Dallas faced, it’s definitely due making Nowitzki MVP.

    (But, above all, Bryant represents very strong competition, since he once again plays an awesome season.)

    Comment by Jens Meiert -

  118. Dirk should be the MVP. Undoubtedly.

    In the ESPN age, though, these awards unfortunately often come down to not who the best or most valuable player is, but who has been hyped on Sportscenter day in and day out.

    You needn’t look further than the Heisman Trophy going to Reggie Bush over Vince Young to note this phenomenon. Were both great players? Yes. But one had more flashy plays for the sports reel and more hype–and as such he won the award in an absolutely undeserved landslide over a guy who was 10x over the best player on the field when the two teams met.

    That said, Lebron will probably get the MVP.
    He’s more marketable, has more of the aforementioned “highlight reel” plays, and is more of a media-phenom given his age and all the hype that has surrounded him since he came into the league.

    Comment by T Dub -

  119. As much as I love Dirk as a player, what do you think the Phoenix Suns record would be without Steve Nash? A huge % of Suns are having career years which they all attribute to playing with Nash for mainly the first time. The one thing I’d like to ask Mark would be, if he could pay the difference in total salary that he was not willing to pay Nash back then, if he knew Nash’s performance in the past 2 years, would he have paid it? From what I read, perhaps incorrectly, was the additional year or so Nash wanted, was the stalemate because of fear of injury. Wouldn’t the money have been worth it if Nash would have taken them to the finals?

    Comment by Hershon -

  120. Kudos…as an owner youve done the right thing and presented a compelling case for Dirk as MVP. I’m surprised by the overwhelming level of agreement among posters. Bill Simmons on espn.com wrote an entire column on this and makes what I think is a tremendous case for Kobe. And he’s right. People have mentioned the pieces you have in place besides Dirk. No one has done more with less help than Kobe. He’s taking a ridiculous number of shots yet somehow has kept his shooting percentage with 1 point of his career average, he’s improved his FT shooting and 3Pt shooting %, he’s the league’s leading scorer, and defenses devote their entire gameplans to stopping him because LA has no one else. And you know what…theyve still won 45 games and will give Phoenix a run in the first round and I think they’ll win. Dirk has had a phenomenal season, but for the reasons listed here and in Simmons’s excellent column, Kobe should take it.

    Comment by Dov -

  121. I have to agree with the comments by kennedy above. The MVP is for the best player in the league, period. And this year that player is Kobe Bryant. Dirk could never carry the Mavs the way Kobe has carried the Lakers into the playoffs. I think Mark may have forgotten that in December Kobe outscored more than just Dirk but the whole Mavericks team through three quarters before watching the rest of the blowout Laker win from the bench. Kobe’s the first player to average 35+ points/game since Jordan did it 19 years ago, not to mention Kobe put up 81 in a game back in February. Anyone who doesnt vote Kobe as MVP isnt voting for the best player but instead voting for a more likeable player. You may not like him, but Kobe’s carried a team that everyone said had no chance of making the playoffs to a 45 win season and the #7 seed and deserves more respect as the best player in the league.

    Comment by Richard -

  122. In 3 years, nobody is going to remember Dirk’s fine efficient season. They’re going to remember Kobe Bryant scoring 81 and single-handedly pulling the post-Shaq Lakers into the playoffs.

    If you’re playing a pickup game with all the NBA players to choose from, and you get first pick, you take the best player out there. Right now, it’s not Nash or Nowitski; it’s Kobe.

    Comment by kennedy -

  123. I agree Dirk should be the mvp, but I’m afraid that most of the media ‘thinks’ that he has a subpar season statistically compared to Lebron and Kobe. I suggest those smart ‘media’ should look at the efficiency rating per 48 min in nba.com. They will find that Dirk’s efficiency rating per 48 min is better than Lebron, Kobe, Billups, and Nash.

    Comment by gimel gimeno -

  124. Dirk has my vote. There are a few great team players like Dirk around the league and each and every one of them deserves thanks and respect. Dirk, in my personal opionion, leads them all. .. marty

    Comment by Marty Heyman -

  125. Hell yeah. Dirk has brought consistent success to Dallas and we are all thankful for that! I’m on the truck for Dirk to get MVP, but I won’t care if he doesn’t get it–so long as Dallas gets the NBA title.

    Comment by Preston -

  126. Mark,

    You have made a good case for Dirk and I agree. The mistake you made was not writing the “Dirk for MVP” blog earlier. As you know the MVP race is won in the media, and the media has been campaigning for Nash for a while now.

    Comment by Joe -

  127. I can guarantee you this Dirk Fans. If Cuban’s blog was not labeled “Dirk For MVP”, had the same team accomplishments, and instead of the Mavericks it was a description of the Caveliers – ESPN would build a Lebron idle infront of the building in Bristol, and do a 24-7 broadcast of Steven A Smith yelling at us telling us what to think.

    Case and point this past Friday night: Both Dirk and Lebron hit game winners. They spent half the show talking about how great Lebron is (as usual). You would have thought it was Jordan hitting the game winner to win the series against the Cavs.

    ESPN has ruined all things sports. DIRK should be MVP.

    Comment by Chris -

  128. Quick look at MVP race from Moneyball perspective …

    “Roland Ratings” were endorsing James as of the end of last month: http://www.82games.com/0506/rolandratings0506.htm

    “ProTrade” also endorses James:
    http://www.protrade.com/AthletesNBA.html?sp=Smarket&sp=SF+&sp=Slast4Weeks&x=x

    Comment by JohnD -

  129. I like Dirk as an MVP, indeed, I would view his winning the MVP as a significant step toward making the NBA a more global league (Steve N. doesn’t say “foreign” as much as Dirk N.).

    Also, as a Philadelphia fan, it’s intriguing watching a guy being the focal point of an offense but in no way diminishing the effectiveness of his cher compatriots.

    Comment by David D -

  130. Dirk deserves the MVP, he has carried a injured team all year long to 60 wins. he continues to improve every year, and this year he took a huge step to taking over at the end of the game. he does it when the game is on the line, not just in the first quarter. some of the suns are having career years, but they have no shot at the title, so big deal. mark is right when he says dirk makes the team better, not just other players stats better. he does make the game easier for them though, josh howard has come along so well bc of all the defensive focus on dirk, same with daniels, harris and even terry. he logs heavy minutes, puts up HUGE fourth quarters and gets 26+ w/out taking 32+ shots. give him 35 shots ev every night and he will out score kobe and lebron evry night, but his team wins and he sacrafices points to win. the cav’s are in the weak east, big deal if you get 50 wins, you are playing against an inferior conference and the cav’s are no where close to consistent. and the lakers are bad bc thats what kobe wanted. he didnt want shaq, he wanted to try to carry a bunch of scrubs and help them hobble into the playoffs which they will. they will also hobble there way out in the 1st round. dirk does it all, with grace, hard work and humility, not many NBA players can do that. MVP.

    Comment by taylor -

  131. Mark, you make a super case for Dirk. In fact, as I read your post over you made a beliver out of me.

    I wasn’t sure who I would pick. I know that Nash has raised his play, team has an excellent record without Amare.

    But, I think that Dirk deserves a very serious look. You guys are among the elite this season. Dirk has always been solid.

    I think it’s your turn to show up for the big dance this year man.

    Best wishes.

    Comment by Yves A -

  132. right on! I agree… bring on the lakers in the playoffs and let’s see…

    Comment by paisley -

  133. right on! I agree… bring on the lakers in the playoffs and let’s see…

    Comment by paisley -

  134. I agree with the above post that the Mavs need to keep Dirk for the rest of his career. He is the man on that team, and deserving of the MVP. But this year it’s a great race, and LeBron, Kobe, and Nash have just as good of a case.

    Personally I think people make too much of a guy “making players around him better.” I thought Jim Rome put it best when he said Kobe might actually make his teammates worse, but the way he plays suits that team best.

    I personally like LeBron, because of his Oscar-Robertson-esque stats (I think O Rob is probably the most underrated player in NBA history–we should be talking about him possibly being the best ever, on the level with MJ and Wilt).

    But Dirk has long been a favorite, b/c I’ve never seen a 7-footer with the ball-handling skills and sweet shooting touch that he has. He is a bit weak defensively (though the team as a whole is much improved), but you could say that of all the 4 leading candidates. I’m just excited that for the first time in forever, the MVP race is actually compelling…

    Comment by Brade -

  135. 100% agreement. Dirk 1st, Lebron 2nd, Marion 3rd.

    No Kobe votes. He makes his team worse in the clutch by not passing.

    No Nash votes. He isn’t even the best player on his team.

    No Billips votes. They still would win 55+ without him.

    Dirk should win. By a lot. The final evaluation of my opinion comes from one horribly ugly thought: the thought of Dirk playing against the Mavs scares the hell out of me. More than Steve Na$h in a Suns uniform, and more than Finley in the silver and black. I cannot fathom the idea of matching up against Dirk, of him positioning himself at the top of the key the way he does so well, with his tall fade-away leaning jumper. Against the Mavs. A scarry thought. One that would make me have nightmares. That’s why he’s my MVP.

    Comment by greg -

  136. raf:

    Just because you disagree doesn’t mean you have to resort to insults.

    Comment by Mick Ring -

  137. I’m a Spurs fan all the way, but Dirk has had an outstanding season. I can easily see him as MVP. And Avery Johnson makes an awesome coach. Your season has been phenomenal. Good luck in your post-season. The competition in the West is fierce again this year.

    Comment by Jean -

  138. I think Mark is right on! Dirk for MVP. As far as the rest of you, you know nothing about the game of basketball. There aren’t too many people I have heard that dislikes Avery Johnson, a coach with a passion and desire to win, and a heart of gold. Marion hasn’t been playing that great as of late, neither has the Nashty boy. Lots of turnovers. Dirk has been consistent practically every game this season, and guess what, he will win the MVP. Watch.

    Comment by raf -

  139. Nash makes everyone around him better. He gets his teammates to elevate their game. Dirk doesn’t do that, as great as he is.

    However, my vote for MVP this year is Kobe. No one…no matter how anyone spins the stats or whatever, is playing nastier than Kobe.

    Comment by Mike Sacks -

  140. AMEN BROTHER!!!

    and im actualy a white guy saying that. anyways, Dirk should be the MVP. All the reasons you mentioned prove it. Any other team would have fallen apart with all the injuries they’ve had, but not the Mavs. Oh no, the Mavs keep winning even with out some of their key players. And Dirk is the Key To The Mavs Success.

    “…MVP…MVP…MVP…MVP”

    Comment by Grayson Akerly -

  141. Josh:

    When I say “.700 team” I’m not talking about their actual record. :)

    You’re totally right about Shawn Marion. I consider him to be the best role-player of all-time.

    If they didn’t have big man injury problems, the Suns would be a threat in the the playoffs. As they are now, they won’t make it past the second round.

    Comment by Mick Ring -

  142. You make such a good case for Dirk… Go Dirk!

    Comment by Forex Trading -

  143. You really should take out a “For Your Consideration” Ad in the Sports Illustrated.

    As a Celtic fan, I wonder if their will be an executive of the year award for Danny Ainge who took a team on the verge back into the gutter? He’s had an amazing impact in Beantown.

    Comment by Joe Corey -

  144. Great article, Mark! I couldn’t agree more. Dirk is the MVP.

    Comment by Martin -

  145. I hate to say it, because you know I love Dirk’s game, but what holds him back is a lack of a personality. He’s not a self-promoter and his image is lackluster. When Dirk scores 30, it’s not as visible as when LeBron or Kobe does it. I think your top three candidates at this point are LeBron (triple-doubles or close on a nightly basis, carrying his team), Kobe (35 points per game), and Nash (lost three of his best teammates from last year, still dominating).

    Comment by bsvc dir -

  146. Mick — Despite the fact that Howard, Daniels, Terry and Stack are good (if not great players) none of the four are All Stars in the accurate sense of the word.

    Shawn Marion is an All Star. Shawn Marion is having a freaking brilliant year. The Mavericks have no other player on their team of Marion’s caliber. Sorry, dude. I’ve built fantasy teams around Shawn Marion before Nash’s arrival because of his ability to fill a stat sheet.

    No offense to the rest of the Mavs (whom I love), but without Dirk, there is no glue, no unit, no cohesiveness. Dirk has done far more than Nash has done this year. For the record, the Suns are a .650 team, not a .700 team.

    The Mavs are a .740 team.

    If Dirk is not MVP, it will be a huge mistake. Nash deserved it last year, and Dirk deserves it this year. End of story.

    Comment by Josh Williams -

  147. Dirk is definitely one of the top MVP candidates in the league. That being said, the way you make it sound Mark is that the Dallas Mavericks is made up of Dirk and a bunch of scrubs. Through trades and free agency, you’ve got quite a roster.

    Where would they be without Dirk? Obviously, the Mavs wouldn’t be as good as they are. But I truly believe the supporting cast for the Mavs are better than the supporting cast for the Suns (because that’s where the true MVP race should be anyway, between Dirk and Nash).

    Everyone seems to be picking the Spurs to go back to the Finals. I don’t the Suns have enough firepower to make a run. In addition, they are slumping at the wrong time. Other than the Spurs and Mavs, I don’t see anyone else making a notable run in the playoffs to challenge the Western Conference crown. The closest team, I would say, is Denver.

    Comment by Ming -

  148. This AP story, written a couple days ago, describes the MVP race and quotes Mark Cuban– http://www.protrade.com/insight/InsightNewsDetail.html?sp=KNA1818146&x=x

    Comment by JohnD -

  149. Agreed on every point. Noone deserves the award or the trophy more than Dirk. I just wish that the league was occupied by more players like Dirk. I can hardly watch a NBA game anymore with all the personality distractions.

    Comment by john -

  150. I think Dirk is very deserving of the MVP title, but I don’t think he’ll EVER win. Dirk is the most underrated, and unappreciated player in the NBA. The press seems to intentionally avoid all of his accomplishments. Watch them give it to Lebron, just because he’s lebron. I can’t understand why Dirk doesn’t carry more national appeal. but don’t look at me, I love the Dirk and I think he adds tremendous value to the NBA.

    Comment by Adam -

  151. You make a good case for Dirk, Mark, and he’s always been one of my favorite players to watch. A 7-footer with small forward skills.

    Having said that, I think the success of your team is not because of Dirk. As much as I dislike Avery Johnson, I have to give him all the credit. Nellie had almost the same team last year and didn’t do nearly as well.

    Also, I find it shocking for you to say that the Mavs are a team of one All-Star. You’ve made some great trades in the last few years and have gotten some great, great players. Jason Terry, for example, is one of the top ten point guards in the league. Howard and Daniels were amazing draft pickups (and, I believe, the reason you thought you could let Nash go). I’m not a big fan of Stackhouse, but he’s a great scorer and has really bought into the defense.

    Finally, among the other MVP candidates, I would probably put him ahead of Wade, Billups, Brand and James, but he’s not better for his team than Steve Nash is for his. Nash is brilliant and turns a .500 team into a .700 team. Steve Nash does more for his team than any other player in the NBA. He’s the MVP.

    Comment by Mick Ring -

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