Chris Paul is your 2011 MVP because his expectations duck the insurmountable–in fact, they’re highly mountable like a dead horse. And the MVP prediction should be a psychic psychology amalgam: It’s not enough to predict the winning teams, a real MVP prognosticator has to gauge how the media reacts to the winning.
Cue John Hollinger’s paper-sharp axiom:
Media members vote for the best story, not the best player!
Remember this when you read about Kevin Durant’s anointment. For Durant to get this award, his team must exceed expectations. As some bitter Sonics fan the Hoopspeak founder evinced, Oklahoma may be a tad over loved. Prospectus posits 49 wins, which might disappoint a cognescenti so committed to seeing Jeff Green through rose-colored lenses. The question is: If Kevin can’t win big, who can contest his popularity?
LeBron James: There is no history but revisionist history, but there’s a hold on this history book. LeBron resentment–like many debilitating addictions–dulls the senses en route to bad choices. Wait another year for the media to realize they always liked him. Twelve steps, twelve months.
Dwyane Wade: Heat haters are boycotting South Beach bananas, first, second or otherwise. And the remaining Miami acceptors will share a banana-split-vote.
Kobe Bryant: He commands an impassioned army, crazies who hang their self esteem on every Kobe accomplishment. I’m not his biggest fan, but Bryant’s ability to stir religious enthusiasm cannot be dismissed. Except I’m dismissing it. The Lakers lack a great SCHEONE prediction, and Kobe’s stats lack his jumper’s lift.
Dwight Howard: We’ve become a Jordan-obsessed culture of lilliputians. Big men are tied down and interrogated for their lack of something, anything. And if a big man succeeds, “boring” is his byword.
Perhaps Dwight can hear fans thinking: “Why can’t you (fill in the blank)! It’s so easy for you, you’re wasting that talent! Oh, can you get that thing for me, the thing on the high shelf? Thanks…by the way, if I were your height, I would’ve gotten that thing faster.”
Howard is great, but his specialties are credited to physical dominance–not Puritanical work ethic. The casual fan doesn’t care about his blocks or rebounds, when it’s so clear Dwight should be getting more. People sniff in the direction of Dwight’s defense, believing, “If I were that big…” Well, if you had invented Facebook, you would’ve invented Facebook. No MVP for Dwight, as he makes this incredulous facial expression:
Deron Williams: Small market, little crossover appeal for the owner of the most appealing crossover.
Brandon Roy: His legs don’t seem to have a lot of legs.
Steve Nash: Third time’s a farce.
Chris Paul: He’s the diminutive leader, a lovable teal terror. When healthy, CP3 is the second best player in the universe. Power Rankings ignore New Orleans, but the media won’t if Paul gains steam. NOLA is always good for a heartening narrative and just imagine the hosannas if CP3 rebukes NYC entreaties. That could happen on the heels of a 50-plus win season, despite all that New York nipping. The Hornets need merely to buzz above their SCHOENE-projected 49-win number. If Oklahoma gets 50, the media shrugs. If New Orleans scoops a Kennedy coin, Mardis Gras ensues. Ladies and League Passers, Chris Paul is winning MVP!
Per this vision: Don’t thank me later because I know you won’t. It’s easy to make predictions and harder to take credit for them. As your guess becomes truth, conventional wisdom embraces revisionist history. Even when the most implausible outcome occurs, we take sandpaper to the novelty–till our wonder turns to “duh.” It’s how we make sense of life–by rationalizing what happened. Imaginary example narratives:
“No one could have predicted that Portland would win the 2011 Finals!”
“They did it with savvy veteran guile, not unlike the 2004 Pistons. Perhaps we should have seen this coming…but a Kobe fanatic popped my eardrums with shouts of “He’ll get SIX!” as I watched LeBron land on the shoulders of giants, with dunks so loud they silenced critics.”
“Portland will win the 2012 championship, it’s obvious. They’ve been there before which means it will happen again! They’ll win it, even though we’re in a lockout and birds are nesting in David Stern’s beard.”
Anyway, a little bird from the future has revealed good things for Mr. Paul. I thanked the bird and asked: “Why did you go back in time to tell me this?”
He said, “I’m not here for you, I’m here to save my younger self from ever leaving Stern’s lockout beard. The NBA impasse is dragging forever, why rent when you can own?”