Thursday, March 31, 2011

Derrick Rose for MVP, Without Apologies

The argument against Derrick Rose for MVP is logically unassailable. (Unless it's attempted by Colin Cowherd. Then it's a notch below a toddler goofily fingerpainting the walls with his own feces.) M. Haubs at The Painted Area has made it most flawlessly, but locate any stat geek hanging out a shingle on the Internet, and you'll find some version of it. Dwight Howard (or LeBron James) is the correct decision for MVP. Dwight Howard (or LeBron James) is the logical decision for MVP. Dwight Howard (or LeBron James) is the thoughtful decision for MVP. Dwight Howard (or LeBron James) is the just decision for MVP.

All these essays and arguments serve a vital and useful purpose for thinking about basketball, for how we accurately measure and/or quantify an individual player's impact on the court, and as such the world is a better (i.e., more knowledgeable) place for them. But nevertheless I believe these essays all suffer from one simple yet fatal flaw, which is that the world of correctness, logic, thought, and justice is completely divorced from the lizard-brained realm in which 99.9% of NBA fans experience NBA basketball games. Indeed, I'd wager those fans love watching NBA games largely because they offer a fleeting escape from the quotidian tyranny of that reasonable world.

Distilled to its purest form, my basic argument is: Motherfuckin' Derrick Rose makes you feel fuckin' ALIIIIIIIIIIIIVE, mothafuckaz!!!!!!!! Why the fuck are you beancounters waving PER in my face when I saw Derrick Rose hit a last-second, game-tying three that literally made an opponent scream in agony??? You think I give a flying fuck about Defensive On Court/Off Court Efficiency after witnessing Rose miss a shot late in a tight game against Utah and then, visibly furious, appear to will himself into making a perfect steal moments later against Deron Williams to preserve the W???

Wait, I'm sorry; what was that you tried to say? Win Shares? Motherfucker, fuck you! I saw Derrick Rose start a one-man fast-break, get sandwiched by Wade and LeBron while racing downcourt at ludicrous speed, bounce off of Wade and then hit an arms-splayed left-handed layup from an impossible angle, somehow evading LeBron and rendering his awesome block attempt impotent and futile. Then he turned around at James and Wade, vanquished and sprawled out on the floor, barked something foul and nasty at them, and slithered back up the court like some fucking God damn cobra, basking in primal ecstasy over its most recent kill.

And here's the thing: The stat heads agree with this. SI's Zach Lowe, a Howard backer who's as smart as they come, recently wrote that, while Rose may not be MVP, he is the league's Most Exciting Player, one who he recently made his girlfriend watch four different highlights of, from a single game. Haubs' post itself was inspired by Rose's recent fourth-quarter display against Milwaukee, which left all its observers slack-jawed in wonder and admiration. So overwhelmed was Haubs by that performance--by its capital-S Sublimity--he began to question what he thought he knew about Rose's "worthiness" for the MVP. That may bear repeating: The sheer artistic majesty of Rose's performance made one of the basketball blogosphere's sharpest analytical minds doubt its own knowledge.

Well, after he came to from this reverie, in the sober light of day, Haubs went back to the numbers, and in them, he found safety; he found Dwight Howard. And I'm not suggesting the numbers lie; they don't. Howard's a good choice for MVP.

But I didn't start writing a basketball blog to wear a fucking suit and make good decisions. Fuck that. Give the id its due, and give the kid his due: Give D-Rose the MVP. It might be a guilty pleasure, but isn't pleasure what drew you to this game in the first place? And is that really not the Most Valuable thing?

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Just When You Thought You Couldn't Love This Team Any More

CHICAGO (AP) -- Chicago city officials were effusive in their praise for the Chicago Bulls basketball team this afternoon -- but not for the squad's recent winning streak.

Instead, the Bulls were honored for collectively saving 17 children trapped in a burning orphanage located near the United Center on the city's Near West Side.

"We are pride [sic] of this team. All 14 players contributed to preventing a terrible castrophy [sic]," outgoing Chicago Mayor Richard Daley said at a City Hall ceremony.

"This team will do what it needs to do," said star point guard Derrick Rose, who ordered a team bus to halt at the burning building and led his teammates into the decrepit structure after jumping through a fire-rimmed window open on the first floor.

Officials said they believe the orphanage may have been boobytrapped with incendiary devices. Sources tell the AP that authorities are questioning suspects today in South Beach, the Greater Boston area, and Los Angeles.

Regardless of the outcome of the criminal investigation, the team's heroics Wednesday will go down in the annals of Chicago fire history.

Fire spokesman Larry Langford said the Bulls were able to get the children out gracefully, using an ingenious handing-off system that expertly distributed the labor and played to each individual's personal strengths.

While back-up power forward Brian Scalabrine did not enter the building, even he played a crucial role in the rescue, providing water to other players and handing them blankets after the children were saved.

All props to Mr. Maidenberg for this.