Every year, there’s a huge debate surrounding the NBA’s Most Valuable Player race. There’s no clear-cut criteria for MVP, which begs the question:
How do you define Most Valuable Player?
We asked our BasketballNews.com staff to share their thoughts.
Ethan Fuller: The MVP award should recognize the best regular-season performance. That means the best statistical season, with some extra weight put on winning -- not necessarily the best player on the best team. The MVP award doesn't have to go to the best player in basketball. If that were the case, LeBron James would have swept the decade -- and that's not really an award to savor. If a player is putting up monster numbers on a playoff team that clearly needs them, they're an MVP candidate.
Nekias Duncan: For me, MVP is the most impactful player on the floor for a great team. There is a statistical baseline that should also be reached — this is what knocks a guy like, say, Rudy Gobert down a peg or two for me — but it’s a blend of impact, traditional stats, and wins.
Moke Hamilton: Ahhh, the age-old debate about the MVP award. I think, over the years, it’s changed. When Steve Nash won his two MVP awards, that’s around the time that we began hearing people use “team success” as the major barometer for value. Personally, I’d define the MVP as a two-way matrix that measures an individual’s productivity with the success of their team. In other words, the more incredible the player’s statistical production is, the less I’d be concerned about their team's success. I’d have no problem voting for Bradley Beal if he averaged 42 points per game, so long as the Wizards made the playoffs. On the other hand, I’d be hard-pressed to not vote for Chris Paul if he led the Suns to, say, 68 wins and the West’s top record -- even if his statistical contributions weren’t “incredible.” (For what it’s worth, if I had a vote this year, my top three would be Nikola Jokic, Chris Paul and Joel Embiid, and I think I’d be inclined to give it to Paul, though I wouldn’t make my final decision until the regular season ends). Again, for me, it’s an equation that takes both the team’s success and the player’s statistical contributions into account.
Alex Kennedy: The NBA will never provide a clear definition for MVP because they love the fact that we spend so much time debating who deserves the award every year. Since everyone is grading from their own rubric, there are typically a handful of candidates that have a compelling case for the award each season. For me, I define MVP as a combination of individual production, team success, and availability.