Ron Artest will get some MVP votes
Us media folk — especially the ones who get to vote for awards — love change. As much as the purists publicly pine for the days when players stayed with one team their entire careers, offseason trades and free-agent pickups provide new stories and prevent boredom.
And when those changes result in immediate turnarounds, we hand out trophies accordingly. Think about Steve Nash winning MVP his first year in Phoenix, Charles Barkley doing the same thing a dozen years earlier, KG taking DPOY as a new Celtic, and the fact that Jerry Sloan will never win Coach of the Year simply because he’s been consistently good with the same team for 20 years. Put it this way: If you’re in a long-term relationship, do you brag more about your girl now, after she’s been holding it down for years, or back when you first got together and you barely knew her?
Ron Artest won’t be any better this year than he was last year, or the year before that. He won’t be any more valuable to the Rockets than he was to the Kings or the Pacers. But when the Rockets start winning — when they look even better than last year’s 55-win team that went on a 22-game midseason win streak — and when it becomes apparent that this is the year T-Mac and Yao finally make it past the first round, the credit will have to go somewhere, and a lot will end up going to Ron-Ron. Call it swagger, toughness, the addition of a third scorer, just good old-fashioned defense, or all of the above; either way, a new team plus a higher ceiling equals some belated back-end MVP votes for the Tru Warier.
The New “Best Season Ever”
1. Chris Paul will win MVP…
2. …but Paul Pierce will prove he’s the best player in the world
3. The Clippers are alive