Neel's 2008-09 MVP ballot
Updated: April 13, 2009, 3:56 PM ETBy | ESPN.com
Here is Eric Neel's ballot:
The dominant player in the league from day one. Continues to improve his individual game while also enabling and inspiring his supporting cast. Both his 52-11-9 effort in a win over the Knicks, and his team's 39-1 record at home tell the story.
| Dwyane Wade
Though his rebounding numbers are slightly lower than LeBron's, I give him bonus points for keeping together a team whose identity was in flux from the jump. Wade isn't so much No. 2 as No. 1A for me.
Paul continues to improve (yes, he was even better this year than last -- check the improved work on the boards, from the point position, for a club without its best shooter for 24 games and its best rebounder for 38). A dangerous team for the playoffs.
My two favorite Dwight Howard numbers: One, his offensive rebounding rate per 36 minutes jumped a full point, from 3.3 to 4.3, this season. And two, his blocked shots per 36 minutes went from 2.1 to 2.9. These are gut-check numbers.
He's been at his best this season when he's taken fewer shots and distributed more, trusting in Gasol and relying on Odom. He's been great within the context of the Lakers' depth and flexibility.
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