Kevin Durant is no longer a bridesmaid. He is a NBA’s newest MVP, and a smashing envoy for a league.
But a timing stinks.
This MVP leader was announced reduction than 24 hours after Durant’s Oklahoma City Thunder were bloody off a justice in a initial diversion of a second-round playoff series.
It arrived reduction than a week after his hometown journal called him “Mr. Unreliable” in an 80-point headline. At a time, Durant was in a midst of a terrible series, his group on a margin of elimination.
What if a Thunder hadn’t rallied from a 3-2 array deficit, benefiting when Grizzlies’ star Zach Randolph was dangling for Game 7?
What if Durant was introduced as MVP on Tuesday usually like Dirk Nowitzki in 2007, who sheepishly perceived a endowment after a Mavericks were separated in a overwhelming first-round playoff series?
It’s not a good look, and this averted public-relations disturbance represents another event for new Commissioner Adam Silver to dumpy clean.
In veteran basketball, a MVP endowment needs to incorporate a postseason and be announced when a games are over. Instead, a endowment is formed on a unchanging deteriorate that means really little, a labyrinth grub where half-speed is mostly good enough, where usually a specialists rivet in hard-core defense.
That isn’t a box in a NFL or Major League Baseball, where a unchanging deteriorate indeed deserves a possess MVP.
Culturally, a endowment also means some-more in basketball, where a competition adheres to a really transparent ethos. Great players are approaching to lift their group to a title. They are hold to a top customary in sports, aloft than quarterbacks and goaltenders.
NBA superstars who destroy to win a championship (Charles Barkley, Karl Malone, Patrick Ewing) accept small empathy. By contrast, they seem to have unsuccessful in their duty, criticized distant some-more mostly than good quarterbacks but rings (Dan Marino, Warren Moon, Jim Kelly).
Here’s a difference:
You don’t have to win a championship to be concurred as a legitimate MVP, such as Barkley in 1993, Steve Nash in 2005 and 2006 and Derrick Rose in 2011. But we have to perform good in a postseason or a misdate is alarming, thereby marginalizing a award.
That scarcely happened to Durant, who was tormented by defenders and scarcely separated in a opening round. It really happened to Nowitzki. It deeply broke Malone, who won his MVP endowment on a eve of a Finals in 1997, usually to be mocked by his Game 1 opening shortly thereafter.
That Sunday afternoon, Malone stood during a free-throw line with a possibility to win a game. The Bulls’ Scottie Pippen walked by and famously said, “Just remember, a mailman doesn’t broach on Sundays.”
Malone missed both giveaway throws. Michael Jordan seized a opening, drilling a game-winning jumper. After a game, a basketball universe snickered about how a MVP prize was apparently shipped to a wrong locker room.
That’s usually one of many reasons because playoff performances need to be folded into a NBA’s MVP balloting. It’s also another event for Silver, who can rip down a walls of David Stern’s fiefdom, formulating a friendlier joining for everyone.
Silver has already likely of a hypocritical owner, Donald Sterling. He took a assuage proceed with Indiana Pacers players that technically left a dais area, determining not to belong to a minute of a law. Stern did usually a conflicting with a Suns, apropos one of a some-more reviled total in Arizona sports history.
Best of all, Silver is seeking to supplement one year to a NBA’s minimum-age requirements, a pierce that could have thespian outcome on college and pro basketball.
Somewhere down a list of priorities, Silver should renovate a MVP balloting so a Finals MVP can no longer ridicule a regular-season MVP, a same approach playoff basketball dwarfs a unchanging season.
After all, a postseason is a usually deteriorate that matters in a NBA.
Reach Bickley during dan.bickley @arizonarepublic.com or 602- 444-8253. Follow him during twitter.com/danbickley. Listen to “Bickley and Marotta,” weekdays from noon to 2 p.m. on Arizona Sports 98.7.