Updated: April 11, 2006, 3:01 PM ET

Let's see your valuables, sir

Anybody else sick of the MVP race already? I haven't even filled out my ballot and I don't want to read, hear or say another word on the subject. Being the kind of guy who finds self-inflicted pain interesting, naturally I volunteered to write a column on the subject.

This year, it seems, the MVP conversation began two weeks into the season and has never let up. Remember when Elton Brand was a front-runner back in December? Didn't even Andrei Kirilenko get a mention after the Jazz bolted to that 4-2 start? Or was that his wife after ESPN The Magazine revealed her once-a-year-freebie for Andrei?

My point being: All the fuss about who is deserving and who isn't and what makes for an MVP and what doesn't is akin to debating what length of skirt turns a girl from sexy to a slut. No one ever has defined it and no one ever will. You eyeball the evidence and decide based on your personal tastes.

From all the conversations I've had on the MVP subject -- and, trust me, I've had five for every comment I've made on air or online -- MVP has a variety of meanings. For some, it's MEP, or the league's Most Excellent Player. For others, it's MVPOAWT, or Most Valuable Player on a Winning Team. Here's a popular one: MSIPOATTWBTE or Most Statistically Impressive Player on a Team That Was Better Than Expected. Generally, the easiest and safest pick is MVPOTBT: Most Valuable Player on the Best Team. This year has brought a new one to the mix: MDPDTSOATTFS, or Most Dominant Player Down the Stretch on a Team that Finished Strong. And, finally, there's MIP, or Most Indispensable Player, as in the guy whose team would absolutely fall apart without him.

If there's a reason to be particularly fed up with all the Let-me-tell-you-who-the-MVP chatter is this season, other than it has been going on all season and continues to mutate, that's precisely it. Without first defining MVP, and acknowledging that it's your definition and not necessarily anyone else's, it's like raging at your friends for not agreeing with your choice of Air Jordans.

So, for what it's worth, here are my choices for all of the above. And, yes, here's the disclaimer: These are my definitions. Acronymites, feel free to create your own, order your own hardware and have your own happy little award ceremony. The guy who eventually wins the real deal will not feel slighted, I promise you.

MEP --Kobe Bryant.

MVPOAWT -- Dwyane Wade.

MSIPOATTWBTE -- Elton Brand.

MVPOTBT -- Chauncey Billups.

MDPDTSOATTFS -- LeBron James.

MIP -- Steve Nash.

Of course, I might just ask my 3-year-old daughter, Chance, to draw five stick figures -- she just learned how -- and make my selections based on which NBA players they most resemble. The problem with that is, having seen her work, I might have to explain to the league office how Stromile Swift and Francisco Elson made my ballot.

And when it comes to self-inflicted pain, you have to draw the line somewhere.

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Dimes Past: April 1-2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8-9 | 10


'Bron Tastic

AP Photo/Ty Russell
LeBron James was a driving force again, sinking the winner as the Cavs (47-30) beat the Hornets, 103-101.


Not Too Sun-Sational
pho

Rob (Los Angeles): Are the Suns slumping lately, or do they just have nothing to play for with the No. 2 seed locked up for the playoffs? Has this little .500 stretch hurt Nash's MVP chances?

John Hollinger: It's definitely more than just a little malaise -- their defense has been horrible going back to the day Kurt Thomas checked out of the lineup. It's not just that Thomas is a good defender, of course, but that Phoenix has nobody to replace him and has been horribly undersized as a result. As for Nash's MVP chances, you're asking the wrong guy since I was never on his bandwagon in the first place. I would think the answer to your question is yes, but I can't be certain.

Travis (Lansing, Mich.): Give me a sleeper team from each conference come playoffs.

John Hollinger: In the East, I really don't see anybody, unless you want to call New Jersey a "sleeper." I can't imagine any of the top four losing in Round 1, although Washington could at least make things interesting against Cleveland. In the West, I like Memphis' chances a lot. The Grizzlies should have home court against Denver in Round 1 (as long as the Griz remember to lose to the Clippers next Tuesday), and Phoenix has been an absolute sieve on defense ever since Kurt Thomas went out. I wouldn't be completely shocked to see the Griz in the conference finals … nor would I be surprised if they were routed 4-0 once they got there.

See the full John Hollinger chat Insider



NBA Intelligence Report
z

Plodding Z Makes Cavs Run Better
The biggest case for Z, though, is simply that playoff basketball is a grinding half-court game. Easy baskets on the fast break are hard to get. An inside presence on offense is critical. Anderson Varejao is improving. He is no longer an offensive void, and he even made critical late-game foul shots in the best win of the season over the Nets. But Z, with his pick-and-fade shots and clever inside moves, provides solid scoring as the second or third offensive option in the half-court attack. He also is their most reliable clutch free-throw shooter, LeBron James not excepted. -- Cleveland Plain Dealer

Curry Still On Knick Menu
The Knicks took a gamble by acquiring Eddy Curry last October. Isiah Thomas traded the Knicks' first-round pick to Chicago, a pick that likely will be in the top three, for a player who missed the final six weeks of last season with a heart condition. Curry's conditioning needs to improve, but he has shown he can be an overpowering offensive presence on the blocks. But Curry's two major weaknesses -- rebounding and defense -- are preventing him from being an elite big man. "It's vital," Brown said. "He has the tools. He's so athletic. I tell him all the time his priorities have got to be defense and rebounding and being a presence. He will get better in those areas." -- New York Daily News

Record Under West Impressive
Say what you want about Jerry West and his decision-making, the conversation always comes back to one thing. He personifies winning. The Grizzlies enter their game tonight against the Minnesota Timberwolves a playoff qualifier in the Western Conference for a third straight season. That's three postseason berths in four years, the extent of West's tenure as team president. Expiration on genius? The least anyone can say about the Grizzlies' offseason reconstruction is that it added to the Logo's legacy in his second coming as an executive. -- Memphis Commercial-Appeal

Read the entire Intelligence Report on Insider Insider


Dirk Finishes Clippers

Dirk Nowitzki's 18-foot jumper over Chris Kaman with 0.7 seconds remaining lifted the Mavericks to a 75-73 victory over the Clippers. Dallas (59-19) moved within a half-game of the Spurs for the West's best mark.

Mavs Inch Closer

Yao Out

Kent Horner/ NBAE via Getty Images
This likely is the last Yao Ming action shot you'll see this season. The Rockets' center broke his left foot in the first quarter of a loss to Utah. Yao was averaging 22.6 points and 10.3 rebounds this season.


Extreme Behavior
arenas

Monday's Best
Cavs forward LeBron James: Sinks the winning shot at the buzzer for his 31st and 32nd points, lifting the Cavs to a 103-101 win in Oklahoma City. That probably KO'd the Hornets' long shot playoff hopes. It's good to be the King.

alston

Monday's Worst
Wizards guard Antonio Daniels: Teammate Antawn Jamison could have used a hand on a night when he got a season-high 37. Six turnovers, 2-for-11 shooting and Washington falls to the Sixers, 105-97.

shaq

Quote of the Day
"I don't care what he does with the ball because I know nine times out of 10, he's going to make the play to win the ball game."
-- Cavs coach Mike Brown, after LeBron James' winning shot against the Hornets.

See how all 136 who played stacked up

The current NBA Playoff matchups



LeBron Making His MVP Move
lbj

Regular readers ... know I've long been touting Steve Nash as this year's MVP. But for the first time since Kobe came back to earth in February, I'm having doubts.

LeBron James has been so good that, in my mind, the two are now neck and neck for the award.

The amazing thing is that James doesn't seem to be getting much consideration. Kobe and Dwyane Wade seem to be viewed as Nash's main competitors, but in my mind, it's strictly a two-man race.

My view has become similar to last season's when I would have felt comfortable with either Nash or Shaq winning MVP. But honestly, the more I look at what LeBron has done, the more I think he should get it.

See the full Chris Broussard blog Insider



Elias Says
james

LeBron James hit a field goal in the final second of play to give the Cavaliers a 103-101 win over the Hornets. James has made 19 of 29 field-goal attempts (66 percent) this season in the last two minutes of a one-possession game. No other player with at least 25 attempts has made more than half of them. Derek Fisher ranks second at 50 percent (13-for-26).

• Elias Sports Bureau | More from Elias Insider



See You In Orlando

NBA scouts left Portsmouth (most of them Thursday evening, just a day and a half into the camp) underwhelmed. Several players played well, but the consensus among scouts was that no one had a Jason Maxiell-type performance that would propel him into the first round.

That's not a huge surprise. Since 2000, only two players who have played at Portsmouth, John Salmons and Maxiell, have been drafted in the first round.

According to NBA scouts and executives, several players did perform well enough to plant themselves firmly on the second-round radar. Several executives believe that three to five of the players who played here in the Virginia showcase will get drafted in the second round.

If history repeats itself, all the draftable players will show up again -- at the Orlando pre-draft camp in June. Since 2000, every Portsmouth player who eventually was drafted also played in the NBA's more prestigious pre-draft camp in June.

See the full Chad Ford blog Insider



 

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