On 'MVP Conversation' Logic: Rose's MVP Case Isn't 'Self-Evident'

On 'MVP Conversation' Logic: Rose's MVP Case Isn't 'Self-Evident'

A comment I made on a blog post quoting myself with other knowledgeable analysts, who happen to be Bulls fans, denying that it's so "self-evident" that Derrick Rose is the NBA MVP.

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Ricky O'Donnell edits the fine Tremendous Upside Potential blog and posted comments of mine, "Blog-a-Bull" editor "Your Friendly Bulls Blogger," and "Ball Don't Lie" editor Kelly Dwyer stating Derrick Rose either is definitely not this season's MVP to this point or -- in Dwyer's case -- shouldn't really be considered a serious candidate.

I've already written that the history of the MVP award shows almost a template to which players win the award and that Rose isn't one of them, regardless of my or anyone else's opinion. Also, I shared a study that reasonably argues that other teams would be worse without their stars in the win-loss column than the Bulls without Rose. All of that said, I shared another study that points to Rose's extreme volume and express this should be a significant factor in the "conversation." This post is very different.

O'Donnell was posting the views of those in conflict with the "Fanboy Army," including my response to Doug Thonus. Someone said there were six more deserving than Derrick Rose of he MVP, which Thonus called "insane." Not sure if I agree it's insane, but I responded that it isn't far fetched. That, off the top of my head, in that moment, "stellar arguments" can be made for four other players over Rose -- LeBron James, Dwight Howard, Dirk Nowitzki, and maybe Kevin Durant, in no particular order.

What strikes me about the topic is that discussions are futile with people applying homer-logic. I'm not accusing Thonus of this, nor did I intend to. There's a subjective element to the "conversation" that is just so passionate for some people that their explanation of why Rose -- or even fans of Howard, Dirk, Durant, and LeBron -- is so off the wall that they don't ever intend to reasonably express a justification for their conclusion.

There's nothing wrong with this. The topic of discussion isn't the future of education, the validity of religion, or sexual integrity. It's sports and there is a fine line between a fan and a analyst. There isn't any real virtue in being either. The issue comes when obvious homer-logic is peddled as analysis, I wrote:

Thanks for letting me know you quoted me. Good post.

First, I understand homer-logic. It's fun. I just don't find it valid
to analysis, for obvious reasons, and I'm only bothered when the
selective bias is masqueraded as analysis.

Second, the homer-logic says the star of one's favorite team is MVP
if that team is winning a lot. That can be true or false, but the
passion and insulation of the rationale makes the truism lucky, not a
discovery or proof.

As an analyst, I understand the case for Rose as MVP and don't think
it's ridiculous. I only find it ridiculous when passion is paraded as
analysis to say it's self-evident he's the MVP. What worse is that
homer-logic is ignorant that there are hundreds of other players and 29
other teams in the NBA.

The award is relative value compared to all of those other players on
all of those other teams. There's no scientific method to analyzing
that value without a significant margin of error, so subjective elements
-- even so far as interpretation of the award itself -- become
entrenched in the conversation.

My point is that I still have yet to hear the argument that Rose is
MVP that doesn't make Howard, Dirk, or (maybe) Durant as even better
cases for the award when applied to those players. As the Bulls win
more, Rose's case is better made, especially as the Heat lose. But that
case is equally better made and further lost with the wins, losses, and
productivity of those others.

Also, let's not forget that this conversation only exists in such
volume because there's no definitive MVP candidate on the Celtics or
Spurs and Dirk missed (what, nine?) games this year. If the case against
Dirk is that he isn't much of a defender or rebounder, that case to
negate Dirk proves Howard. If the argument is that they don't score
enough in volume on a consistent basis, you prove Durant. If your
argument is that Howard and Durant don't win enough, you prove Howard.
If your argument's that none of them are as great all-around producers,
you prove LeBron. The 'what if' arguments around how much the team would
win without Rose proves Dirk, Howard, Durant, and LeBron over Rose when
you ask, "What if the Central division wasn't a piece of shit?"

I've written quite a bit on all of these points and will sum them up
as the season winds down, most likely, when a more serious analysis of
the award can be applied to this season.

I don't intend to straw man people with my "self-evident" jab. I'm intentionally being hyperbolic to describe people who get so angry and ignorant when a claim they make is subjected to reasonable scrutiny. Worse is when analysts -- not fans, but analysts -- with the reach of Scoop Jackson declare something so basketball-stupid "the MVP race is over" around 60 games into the season.

All in all, a good quarter of the season is yet to have even been played and I hope Rose wins the MVP because that would mean the Bulls are a top-two seed -- maybe even a top-three winning team in the NBA. Particular to Rose, I hope that would mean his efficiency numbers go up and are trending high into the playoffs; that the team gets even better because of him and vice versa.

Just as LeBron is losing his case for the MVP and Chris Paul's has been lost, a lot of players can solidify their name as reasonably in or definitively out of the "conversation" as they complete their regular season body of work over their next 20-or-so games.

EDIT: Apologies. My auto-correct was having my/mine issues.

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