MVP: Looking beyond the usual crowd
A year ago, of course, that player was Nash. Before he went to Phoenix, the general consensus on Nash was that he was an All-Star caliber player, but not anybody who was likely to end up with an MVP trophy sitting above his fireplace. Similarly, four years ago Jason Kidd went to New Jersey and nearly pulled off a similar feat by igniting a moribund Nets team and leading it to the Eastern Conference championship.
So what about this year? Is there a surprise MVP lurking in the shadows who can possibly challenge the year-in, year-out contenders? To answer that, I combed through the league looking for the best combinations of individual accomplishment and team performance from the game's second (or lower) tier of stars. None of these players is likely to win the award, mind you, but that's the point: We're searching for a dark-horse MVP. After careful consideration, seven players qualify. If a Nash or Kidd emerges, it should come from among this group: