We have entered the home stretch of another long NBA season.  Actually it has been one of the league’s best seasons.  But with the season winding down it is now time to start casting votes.  And my vote for 2009 NBA MVP goes to – drum roll please – the Miami Heat’s Dwyane Wade.  For me this vote is not even close. 2008833671

Wade is the league’s top scorer, and has been all year.  He is his team’s most important player and has been all year.  The Miami Heat would barely win 10 games this year without Wade. With him they will win more than 40.  This to me is an open and shut case for MVP.   Well its open and shut unless you are from the school of thought that believes that there are only two choices this year and Wade is not one of them.

It has become popular, even cliche, these days when discussing the next MVP to mention Kobe Bryant and LeBron James and stop there. This is to take nothing away from either Kobe or LeBron, both of whom have had fabulous seasons and have led their teams to the league’s two best records.  But how can most commentators and fans not even place Dwyane Wade in the discussion?  How is that possible?  I don’t know the answer to the question.  But one way to stop the lunacy is to re-define what constitutes an MVP.  There are some who suggest that the MVP must come from a team with one of the best records.  Or come from a team leading its division or conference.  Okay fine.  But what about the player who singlehandedly turns a team around, even if the team does not win its division or conference?  What about the player who is responsible for taking a team that won less than 20 games one season to more than 40 wins the next?

Well that player is Dwyane Wade.  Further, Wade does not have the same kind of supporting cast that Kobe and LeBron have.  And more importantly – and this is the clincher – he doesn’t have a cute first name.  In fact his first name is misspelled. Maybe that’s the real problem.  Perhaps if he had a quotable, catchy, easy to spell first name, one that simple-minded voters could use and play with other than his stale nickname D-Wade, or the more ridiculous nom de plum, Flash, given him by former teammate Shaq, he would stand more of a chance.  But no – his name is Dwayne – I’m sorry – Dwyane.  Damn his family.

Speaking of Shaq, let’s clear something up.  When Miami won the NBA title a couple of years ago, it was Wade and Wade alone who lead them to a championship, not his overweight supporting cast mate, Shaquille O’Neal.  Wade had what was arguably the greatest overall performance in NBA finals history. Someone please debate me on that point – I’m waiting.

Unfortunately, despite the fact that Wade is averaging nearly 35 points per game since the All Star game, I think the votes are already in.  Media members who vote for MVP will select either Kobe or LeBron.  Yes, media acclamation will decide the outcome.  Not common sense.   I’m wondering will someone in Wade’s situation ever be eligible for MVP?  What more does he have to do?   Is he too short?  Is he too nice?  Does he play in the wrong city?  Does he have the wrong endorsements?  Or is it simply that Miami didn’t win enough games?  Or didn’t win them entertainingly enough?

My closing argument is that this year’s case for MVP should be decided by imagining how many games would the Lakers win if Kobe were injured like Wade was last year?If you think the number is greater than 15 you must vote for Wade.  The same goes for LeBron James.  How many games would Cleveland win if LeBron was hurt?  If the number is greater than 15 then you must vote also for Wade.   Finally how many games would Miami win this year if Dwyane Wade were hurt again?  If the number is greater than 15 then vote for whoever you want.   I say the guy carrying the greatest load with the least talent hands down is Wade.   That should close the book on this – but it won’t.

That’s my case to the MVP voters, most of whom have already decided, like me, who they believe should be MVP.  Knowing what I know about human nature and the screwy ill-defined voting criteria, I don’t think Mr. Wade has much of a chance this year.  As a consolation prize I predict he will come in third.  Still, he is an absolutely magnificent player, who should be getting MVP votes just for coming back even better than he was before he was injured.  That’s my definition of an MVP.

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