Thursday, April 21, 2005

Changing My Vote

Recently I wrote a column about the NBA's MVP award (can be found using the WIS Insider link to the right) and gave the award to Shaq. Well, I'm changing my vote. Allen Iverson was already a candidate, but what he did down the stretch convinced me that he's at another level. 10 games ago, you couldn't find an expert that had Philly making the playoffs. They supposedly couldn't beat Miami or Indiana or anyone else on their schedule. Well, somehow they found a way.

Wait, not somehow. Allen Iverson is how they found a way. AI become the first player in NBA HISTORY to finish in the top five in scoring (first), assists (fifth), and steals (second). He won his fourth scoring title at 30.7 per game and trails only Jordan and Wilt for the most titles all time. He joined Jordan as the only players to average 30 points, 7 assists, and 2 steals a game for an entire season. He lead the league in minutes once again (tied with LeBron at 42.4). He averaged 32.3 points and 8.6 assists per game after winning the All-Star Game MVP. As Jason Kidd said recently in a hilarious quote while hyping AI for the MVP award: "He's always been a threat; now he's a superthreat."

Not enough? The Sixers went 8-2 over their final 10 games. Not counting the final game against the Hawks in which he played only the first quarter, AI's numbers in the other seven wins were phenomenal. He averaged 37.5 points, 13.8 assists, 6.5 rebounds, 3.9 steals per game, while shooting 53.1% from the floor and 91% from the line. I'm telling you, this will go down as one of the best stretches of the decade. His whole season will go down as one of the best. It's incredible how overlooked this whole thing has been.

Oh yeah, and he did all that with a broken thumb. But it was okay, because the other one was only badly sprained.

When you think of AI from this 2004-2005 season, remember one game. April 14 at Miami. Shaq returns to the lineup, nobody gives Philly a chance after being upended by Boston at home. A loss probably sends them spiraling out of the playoffs. All AI did was play the game of his life. He was on the floor for all 53 minutes and committed no fouls and only two turnovers. He hit all 13 of this free throws, including two that he willed in to send the game to OT. He grabbed three steals and six boards. And he threw up 38 points and a career high 16 assists, something that had yet to be done in this millennium (I was unable find the necessary game logs further back than 1999, so who knows how long it has been since someone went for at least 38 and 16 in a game). It was arguably his greatest game ever and possibly the most memorable performance of this NBA season. Pure brilliance.

So there you have it. I don't care about "first place teams" or "offseason acquisitions." I don't care about what I wrote last week or what anybody says in regard to the MVP award. Iverson's my guy.

AI for MVP! Spread the word.


Reed said...

Dude, when I saw the title I said, no way. But you make a pretty good case. Do you think they can give the pistons a run?

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