NBA / Feb 3, 2011 / 3:30 pm

How strong is Manu Ginobili’s case for MVP?

When was the last time the NBA’s regular season MVP didn’t make the All-Star Game that same year?

You’d have to go back to 1999 — which comes with an asterisk because that lockout-shortened season had no All-Star Game in which eventual MVP Karl Malone could participate. Before that? I went back as far as 1982, and the only other time it happened was in 1989, which deserves another asterisk because Magic Johnson was picked for the West team, only he sat out the game with an injury. And nine times out of 10, the eventual season MVP is a starter in the All-Star Game. Only three times in my lifetime has the League’s MVP been an All-Star reserve (Steve Nash in ’05, David Robinson in ’95, Moses Malone in ’82).

Which brings us to Manu Ginobili. Hours before the NBA names its 2011 All-Star reserves, Ginobili is not yet a lock to make the cut simply due to the depth of guards in the West. At the same time, there is a small but growing support group campaigning for Manu as MVP of the entire League — during last night’s Clippers/Bulls game, L.A. announcer Mike Smith reiterated that Ginobili is one of his top candidates, a couple weeks after naming Ginobili his MVP favorite. According to NBA.com’s “Race to the MVP” weekly column, Ginobili is currently 10th in the running, but the week before that was 6th.

The Manu-for-MVP argument has legs: Ginobili has (arguably) been the best player on the best team in the NBA, averaging 18.8 points, 3.8 rebounds, 4.8 assists and 1.8 steals per game as the Spurs are 40-7 record going into Thursday’s schedule.

At the same time, Manu will be hurt by the same perception that will hurt LeBron James and Dwyane Wade, and to an extent, Kobe Bryant and Kevin Durant when it comes time for MVP voting: He has too many good players on his team.

If you can stick “arguably” in the middle of the statement, “So-and-So is the best player on his team,” than their chances of winning an award like MVP take an automatic hit. In San Antonio, Ginobili has to share the spotlight with Tony Parker (17.2 ppg, 6.8 apg) and Tim Duncan (13.6 ppg, 9.4 rpg, 2.0 bpg). He’s not the definite face of the franchise like Duncan. He may not even be the best guard on the team.

Personally, I don’t think an MVP candidate should be punished for having talented teammates, but I understand the thought process of voters who feel that way. No one is arguing that Ginobili isn’t valuable to the Spurs and valuable amongst the League’s elite. But most valuable?

What do you think? Does Manu Ginobili have a legit shot at winning MVP?

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  • http://deleted dagwaller

    He’s got a decent chance. I don’t think there’s a runaway candidate. I’d penalize him just as much for his team having success for so long (a la Sloan never getting the CoY) plus having Pop seemingly be the MVP of his team.

  • control

    No way I could endorse Manu as MVP. I’ve got a lot more respect for his game than I used to, I used to be his biggest hater, but the guy just doesn’t have the stats and isn’t consistently the best (or most valuable) guy on his own team. Guy is still a flopper and annoying as hell to watch, not just because of that stupid bald spot, but because of his attempts at playing the refs. You can even argue the guy out of the Allstar game…he is putting up 18/5/4, which isn’t bad, but I believe Vince missed the Allstar game when putting up 20/5/5/15 (the 15 is for wince faces per game).

    He’ll probably be injured too…he’s about due for one.

  • Art

    The award is called the MOST VALUABLE PLAYER award

    Somehow they always want to give it to someone who is simply having a career year on a team thats doing well (Nash x2, Dirk (kinda))

    There should be only three or four names on everyones list

    KB24
    ‘Bron
    Durantula
    .

    Not only can they take anyone out on the court. You take any one of them out of the L and the entire scene changes.

    Pull Manu and I think you loose four fans and the Spurs don’t make the playoffs sparing us an extremely boring first round…

  • neoy

    How is Manu considered in the MVP race when SPurs are a BALANCED team that does not rely on ONE person to make plays happen. His stats are mediocore, I am not a Manu Hater in anyway. In fact i think he is one of the most clutch players in the league, but he is not the MVP type of guy at all.

    Manu can go out for 20 games and Spurs can still win 15/20. In the same case scenario if u took Lebron/KD/Kobe/Rose/Dirk out their teams would not be able to function.

  • wtf art?

    “somehow they always want to give it to someone who is simply having a career year on a team that’s doing well.”

    you take nash away from phx and dirk away from dallas in those years, they’re in the lottery.. dirk moreso. you take kobe away from the lakers, they’r ein the playoffs just like memphis was when gasol was the center peice. you take lebron off of the heat, you’re left with wade+bosh+ a team that was in the playoffs last year. you take durant off of OKC, you have a bad team with one star, so he can stay.

    Pull Manu and yo uhave the same Spurs team from afew years ago when Manu is gone.. a team that wins 50 games and makes the playoffs.

    D Rose is the MVP. Dirk is a distant second. Manu isn’t even on the list and Austin… you’re better than this.

  • That’s What’s Up

    I thought about this a lot last night, and then I read post 4 by neoy…

    that pretty much sums it up. Fact is Spurs have 3 TEAM MVP’s and RJ, Blair, Hill or Neal could show up and be MVP for a game or two, when needed. Deep team, deep playoff run hopefully… but no League MVP for any team member

  • WinDelRoj

    Is Ginobili probably good enough, yeah, but the MVP is a perception award and the perception is that Duncan is not in decline/Parker is dependable.

    Manu needs to get his scoring up to 26 and get the assist to 7 and rebounds to 7 and hes a lock no matter who is on his team… damn those are Lebrons numbers… maybe he cant

  • http://www.mmajunkie.com rangerjohn

    side note, spurs are 40-8 not 40-7
    while i dont think manu is a true mvp candidate i also think the people who say his numbers are not high enough are wrong. an mvp IMO doesnt have to be a 25+, 7 and 7 guy but being THE leader of the team and making teammates better is key. manu does make his teammates better, and while A leader he is not THE leader of the spurs. while i am going to have to go wash my mouth out with paint thinner after saying this (i dislike this guy more then any player in the league) i think dirk is the real mvp of the league so far this year. there i said it, now where the hell is my paint thinner!

  • buffalo balla

    do you wanna bet?!

    didn’t think so….

  • allen

    i dont think he will win but i honestly wouldnt be upset.

    the award isnt for whose putting up the most stats or whos got all the highlights. every night the spurs play a game ginobili has been their most important piece on a team filled with talent. if ginobili is the most crucial player on a team thats 40-8 then that alone puts his name in the convo. if youve seen games manus been so clutch and important on both sides of the floor. hes a flat out winner.

    he wont get it because nba fans and mvp voters look at the stats and the history of the other candidates and automatically take their worth to a higher value but to say he isnt deserving is not just.

  • re:wtf Art

    Wasn’t taking about the team being able to play in the NBA I was talking about their ability to win a chip

    Which is all that matters in the League
    ask Chuck

    so you take Manu and ill take anyone outta KB24, Bron and Durant

    2 on 2

    You can even have Dirk or Nash in their prime

    We can play for whatever $, pride, your girl or just the rights to post on Dime…

    Good Luck

  • Promoman

    If MVP voting was objective, he’d have a shot. The reality is that it isn’t. Like All-Star Game votes, Hall of Fame votes, All-League team honors, it’s based on numbers. Manu justly deserves consideration at least but he won’t even rank because voters will look at the numbers and the fact that he doesn’t start, even though he can start on any team in the NBA.

  • Dan

    did ya’ll see manu hypnotize dante cunningham?

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3rvK3Ys2umE

  • jzsmoove

    so does Ab think he is MVP worthy or not? cuz i dont think it was specified. he jus posed a question.

  • GEORGE

    ASK YOURSELF WHY ARE THE OTHERS MVP CANDIDATES, AND WHY MANO CANT MAKE THE CUT!!!!!!
    THE COMMON AMERICAN DOES NOT UNDERSTAND THE GAME AS THE WORLD VIEWER DOES, THEY JUST WANT DUNKS AND STUPID SHOWOFF TATOOED BACKS AND OVERRATED PLAYERS!
    ITS LIKE CAPITALISM..AMERICANS LIKE INDIVIDUALITY!!
    MANU IS A TEAM PLAYER!!!
    HE DOES MUCH MORE THEN MERE COLD STATS (ANOTHER AMERICAN FAVORITE)
    HES GOT MORE SOLID BLOOD RUNNING THROUGH HIS BODY THAN LOTS OF STARS IN THE NBA!!!
    BUT YET HE IS STILL UNDERRATED!! STILL. IS IT CAUSE HES FOREIGN? MMMMMM WHITE, BALD??? MMMM
    IT TOOK TOO LONG FOR THE NBA TO REALIZE THAY NOWITZKI IS TEH BEST 7 FOOTER TO PLAY IN THE HISTORY OF THE LEGUE!!! (MVP)..
    SO NO, MANU IS NEVER GOING TO BE AN MVP!!!
    ITS NOT ALL IN THE NUBERS AND IN THE SHOW, ITS IN THE HEART AND HOW MUCHO YOU WANT IT HOW MUCH YOU WANT TO WIN..

    AGAIN, NO MVP FOR BALD GUY…
    HES WAY WAY BETTER THAN THAT!!!

  • BiGShoTBoB

    MVP = Best Player on Best Team. Last I checked Spurs = Best Record. Manu best player on Spurs = MVP very simple. I say if Manu wins his battle vs Kobe tonite and the Spurs when it’s Manu. If not it’s Gasol he’s been an absolute beast this year. Plus I hate it when the same guys win everything. I say the award should be a homage to not only a players current year but for who he’s been throughout his career. His the only player to win championships in 3 different leagues; and to me has been the 3rd best shooting guard in the league for a long time now.

  • First & Foremost

    @ Bigshotbob
    The MVP award is and should be limited to only 1 season. The Hall of Fame already awards players for their lifetime achievements.

    Not to pick on you but I’ve always hated the best player on the best team. If the Spurs maintain the best record and the mvp comes from them can you really say it was 1 person responsible? Duncan will have off/monster nights? TP can be explosive and pedestrian in the same week, halves even. Manu is the most consistent of their big 3 but it is the system.
    If anything, the spurs should ONLY get Coach of the Year.

  • http://www.asdfasd.asd Guitar Hero

    I love Manu’s game, but he’s not a top 10 player in the League. Maybe not even a top 20 guy.
    The MVP trophy is not a team achievement award, it’s an individual achievement award.
    No way.

  • wtf art?

    Ahh, I got you.. but you do realize if you take Kobe, he’ll score 24 points on 24 shots without ever dishing the rock? I’ll take I’ll take a prime Nash and Dirk just for the atrocious hairstyle they rocked in Dallas

  • Mike Mihalow

    Aron Phillips does not approve of this article.

  • GEORGE

    another underrated NEVER ALLSTAR TAYSHAUN PRINCE!!! YEP HES KIND OF BALD TOO!!! AND HE DOES NOT SELL JERSEYS ALSO..MMMM WONDER IF THAT HAS TO DO WITH ANYTHING???

  • Ian

    Wtf art?
    Agree

    Dirk is the mvp but manu should be top 5. Why kobe?? His super stacked lakers have underrachieved so get him out. Now since when does a stacked team affect the voting jordan had the best team and won 5 what about magics lakers. The spurs without manu suck their only first round exit was because manu was injured. Barkley said it best the spurs have maybeeee top ten talent and yet they have the best record in the league. Manu is in the convo he goes over kobe but dirk still should win his second.