Why the MVP Awards Have Become A Complete Joke

Right now, the hot topic in the NBA is who is your MVP for 2018.

Is it LeBron James? Is it James Harden? Hell, could Anthony Davis win it? Will Russell Westbrook repeat due to averaging a triple double again?

All of these questions will be answered in due time. The reason I hate MVP awards is because they are not given to the best or most valuable player in the league each year. They are given to the guy who stands out unexpectedly. They are given to the guy who is outplaying what is expected of him. It is a complete and total sham.

Cue the music for James Harden this year. He is playing for the 65 win (league best) Houston Rockets. The narrative is this is his year after Russell Westbrook beat him out last year because he finished the season averaging a triple double. I will get to that in a minute. For now, let’s talk about Harden.

We hear about the “efficiency” of Harden. I am not going to sit here and pretend that Harden is without a shadow of a doubt the best offensive player in the league. However, Harden isn’t exactly known for his defense and he is playing alongside Chris Paul, who has the best plus-minus ratio in the entire league. Let’s look at his efficiency on the offensive end.

Harden finished the regular season averaging the following…

  • 30.4 Points/game
  • 45% Field Goal
  • 36.7% from Three
  • 85.8% Free Throws
  • 8.8 Assists/Game
  • 5.4 Rebounds/Game
  • 4.4 Turnovers/Game

One of the statistics I want to key in on is the free throw percentage. Harden is one of the best if not the best at getting to the charity stripe and knocking them down. The guy is nearly automatic when he gets to the line. He averages a little over 10 free throws per game which can be such an underrated stat in terms of momentum and changing the pace. Defensively, it can be hard to get into a rhythm against someone like Harden who is great at drawing out the fouls.

Aside from the free throw, which is huge, let’s look at the guy who I think is more deserving of the MVP and who could have probably won 8 or 9 by now if the award was truly given to THE best player, LeBron James.

From a defensive standpoint, there is no comparison. I won’t even touch on that much. The guy can guard any position. If that isn’t versatility, I don’t know what is. We keep hearing about efficiency, but James is the model of efficiency.

James finished the regular season with the following…

  • 27.5 Points/Game
  • 54% Field Goal
  • 36.7% from Three
  • 73% Free Throws
  • 9.1 Assists/Game
  • 8.6 Rebounds/Game
  • 4.2 Turnovers/Game

James blows Harden out of the water in field goal percentage and is dead even from three. However, Harden blows James out of the water in free throws. Are we really going to let free throws decide an MVP award though? It seems like a bit of a pointless stat. Much like I won’t mention the fact that James is a better rebounder.

I am not saying Harden doesn’t necessarily deserve it, but it is funny how when someone like Harden has a season like this, we lose our minds. James has been doing similar stat lines to this for more than a decade. He was slighted in 2011 in favor of Derrick Rose, which was an absolute joke. Durant and him were tic for tac in 2014. When being right there with someone else, why wouldn’t it go to THE best player in the NBA? Everyone knew Durant was winning.

That brings me to last year.

As much as I love Russell Westbrook and as great it is he has averaged a triple double the last two seasons…whatever. Why isn’t he MVP again? Last year, everyone raved about the triple doubles and this year no one cares. Now all of a sudden we care about efficiency, when Westbrook is the opposite of that. LeBron averaged 26-8-8 and shot better from the field and from three last year than both Westbrook and Harden. No one cared.

LeBron will once again lose out on an MVP award because James Harden “would have won had it not been for Russ. It is his time.” What the fuck does that even mean? People are constantly bitching about participation trophies, well that’s what these MVPs look like to me.

“Know what? You had a great year and you haven’t won this award yet. Here you go.”

It is not so much that I hate James Harden will win it. It is the fact I KNOW he will win it without question despite the best player in the NBA being right there with him.

The reason for that is because LeBron has been great for so long, we expect this kind of performance from him. Therefore, if he wants to win MVP, he better look at being even better regardless of his current status in the NBA.

It isn’t just the NBA, look at the MVP race in the NFL in 2016 when Matt Ryan took home the award. Aaron Rodgers was the other quarterback receiving consideration after a brilliant second half of the season. Take a look below at the numbers of both quarterbacks through the first 9 games and then their (Final Numbers)…

Aaron Rodgers

  • 4-5 (10-6)
  • 22 Touchdowns (40 Touchdowns)
  • 7 Interceptions (7 Interceptions)
  • 2,410 Yards (4,428 Yards)
  • 267.8 Yards/Game (276.8 Yards/Game)
  • 63% Completion Percentage (65.7%)
  • 6.5 Yards Per Attempt (7.3 Yards Per Attempt)

Matt Ryan

  • 6-3 (11-5)
  • 23 Touchdowns (38 Touchdowns)
  • 4 Interceptions (7 Interceptions)
  • 2,980 Yards (4,944 Yards)
  • 331 Yards/Game (309 Yards/Game)
  • 69% Completion Percentage (69.9%)
  • 9.5 Yards Per Attempt (9.26 Yards Per Attempt)

That season, it was pretty cut and dry that Ryan was going to win the award without much debate. In terms of value, Rodgers was the second leading rusher on his team. His leading rusher was a wide receiver and we are enamored with what Ryan did. That is what Rodgers does year after year when he is healthy, but how many MVP awards has he claimed? Only 2.

Of course everyone was blowing sunshine up Matt Ryan’s ass when Rodgers has had multiple seasons with similar stat lines minus the 4,900+ yards.

  • 2011 – 4,643 yards, 45 Touchdowns, 6 Interceptions
  • 2012 – 4,295 yards, 39 Touchdowns, 8 Interceptions
  • 2014 – 4,381 yards, 38 Touchdowns, 5 Interceptions
  • 2016 – 4,428 yards, 40 Touchdowns, 7 Interceptions

My favorite part about the whole narrative that year was before Rodgers went on his tear, the talking heads and fans were talking about Rodgers being overrated. There was commentary that he was done. He was playing poorly. Part of that is because of the high standard he has set for himself. I find it funny that those same people were ready to label Matt Ryan as an elite quarterback.

As expected, that was short lived. He is back down to Earth. I laugh at those idiots for ignoring the previous 8 seasons Ryan had. They were good, but not ELITE. The one elite season he has, people are ready to crown him. Go home, you’re drunk.

Those seasons were pretty comparable to what Rodgers was at the halfway mark in terms of touchdowns and interceptions. Rodgers, in what was possibly his worst season as a starter, was still better than Matt Ryan on a normal year.

The MVP is not an award that is always given to the most “valuable” or best player year in and year out. It is more so an award for the most surprising stat line of the best player on one of the best teams that year.

For true MVPs like LeBron, Rodgers and other true A+ superstars, good luck having another great year. You likely will need to be greater. Stat lines like 27-8-8 and shooting 54% from the field isn’t always enough when your name is LeBron James and 4,400 yards 40 Touchdowns and 7 Interceptions isn’t always enough when your name is Aaron Rodgers. But when your name is Derrick Rose, 25 and 7 is enough to get it done.

Therefore, the MVP is a sham, tragedy and joke. Take that to the bank.

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Pre-Draft NFL Power Rankings (Top 10)

Is it ever too early to start ranking teams in the NFL? No. The answer is no. Most of the noise in free agency has subsided with most of the hottest talent being picked up. A few major trades have panned out as well. As the countdown to the NFL Draft is on, I figured why not do an early power ranking preview. This is solely based on free agents and players retained.

10. Cleveland Browns

Key Additions: WR Jarvis Landry, RB Carlos Hyde, QB Tyrod Taylor, DB Damarious Randall
Key Departures: OL Joe Thomas (Retired), RB Isaiah Crowell 
Draft Picks: 9

I know, I know. It’s the Browns and you’re saying what crack pipe am I smoking? This is it though! They have been doing a great job setting up for this season. People can shit on them all they want. Things have to get worse before they get better. They just bolstered an offense that needed it. Taylor is formidable and good enough to get them to the playoffs. Hyde will share time with scat back Duke Johnson. Landry, Josh Gordon, Corey Coleman and Tight End David Njoku will give Taylor plenty of options. They also have 4 picks inside the top 40. I like the Browns this year. If you don’t, fuck you and the horse you rode in on. That is my story and I am sticking to it. Imagine if they actually pull the trigger and get Odell Beckham Jr.

9. Pittsburgh Steelers

Key Additions: S Morgan Burnett
Key Departures: DB Mike Mitchell
Draft Picks: 7

We will see how the Le’Veon Bell franchise tag plays out. He threatened to retire if he got tagged. Clearly, that wasn’t the case. His personality pretty much goes hand in hand with the Steelers locker room and why they can’t win the big games. Mike Tomlin has no control over his team and the patients are running the asylum. Despite all that, having a top 10 QB, THE top RB and THE Top WR has to account for something. Bank on them getting out-coached by someone this year.

8. San Francisco 49ers

Key Additions: DB Richard Sherman, RB Jerrick McKinnon, DL Jeremiah Attaochu, G Jonathan Cooper
Key Departures: RB Carlos Hyde, DB Eric Reid
Draft Picks: 9

The first order of business was extending QB Jimmy Garoppolo, which they did in a big way. GM John Lynch and Head Coach Kyle Shanahan are making moves. Despite losing Hyde and Reid, they added a top corner (assuming no set backs because of injury), McKinnon (formidable back), Attaochu (great plug and play for rotation) and Cooper (Vet lineman). They are sold on Jimmy G and robbed the Patriots blind. You don’t hear that happening often. The 49ers are going to be this year’s Rams.

7. Jacksonville Jaguars

Key Additions: WR Donte Moncrief, TE Austin Seferian-Jenkins, G Andrew Norwell 
Key Departures: WRs Allen Hurns and Allen Robinson, TE Marcedes Lewis, LB Paul Posluszny (Retired) 
Draft Picks: 7

Well, the Jags could be much higher than 7 had they signed Kirk Cousins, but they didn’t. They are stuck with Blake Bortles. That will always be their downfall. Defense can only carry you so far. At some point, you need a quarterback to put up points. I am not certain Blake Bortles is ever going to be that guy.

6. Green Bay Packers

Key Additions: TE Jimmy Graham, DL Muhammad Wilkerson, CB Tramon Williams
Key Departures: S Morgan Burnett, WR Jordy Nelson
Draft Picks: 8

As long as Aaron Rodgers stays healthy, they are in the mix. He is one of the few QBs in the league who can carry a team no matter what. They added Jimmy Graham which is huge! When Rodgers went down, it was evident that Jordy Nelson lost a step. He had just two catches of over 10 yards beyond the line of scrimmage with Rodgers. Not very Jordy like. That departure looks worse on paper than it actually is.

5. Los Angeles Rams

Key Additions: CBs Aqib Talib, Marcus Peters, Sam Shields, DL Ndamokung Suh
Key Departures: WR Sammy Watkins, LB Alec Ogletree, LB Robert Quinn, OL Greg 
Robinson 
Draft Picks: 8

Well holy shit, that defense is already bad without the added talent, but good fucking luck throwing on them. That team is going to have a serious no-fly zone on defense. If Goff can perform like he did last year to open things up for Gurley, watch out.

4. New Orleans Saints

Key Additions: LB Demario Davis, CB Patrick Robinson, S Kurt Coleman, TE Ben Watson 
Key Departures: G Senio Kelemente
Draft Picks: 8

My biggest concern with the Saints is a bunch of stars who are second year players. That means plenty of game film to try and exploit. This is going to be the year we find out how good these rooks really are. With that being said, I am very optimistic for them, obviously if I have them slated at 4. One thing I will say about their free agents, it is not AS good as people think. Davis is a great pick up. Coleman is a decent plug and play and savvy vet. Watson is better than any tight end they have, but he’s not Jimmy Graham. Robinson had one great season and balled out in a contract year.

3. Philadelphia Eagles

Key Additions: WR Mike Wallace, DL Haloti Ngata 
Key Departures: RB Legarrette Blount, DB Patrick Robinson, LB Nigel Brabham, DL Vinny Curry 
Draft Picks: 6 

LeGarrette Blount looks like a big loss on paper, but they will be ok with Jay Ajayi and Corey Clement. No one really screams at me in terms of free agents signed, but that team is still loaded. They won a Super Bowl without their starting QB. Nick Foles is solid, but come on.

2. Minnesota Vikings

Key Additions: QB Kirk Cousins, DL Sheldon Richardson 
Key Departures: QBs, Case Keenum, Teddy Bridgewater, Sam Bradford, RB Jerick McKinnon, CB Tramaine Brock 
Draft Picks: 5

If it wasn’t because of Brady and Belichick, Vikings would be one. I am banking on them this year now that they have a great QB. Yes, I said great. Cousins played in a dumpster fire in Washington and played well all three years without much help. Keenum was fools gold. A respectable run game and amazing defense is the main reason for the Viks going deep. In the game against the Saints, receivers Adam Thielen and Stefon Diggs bailed out Keenum on entirely too many throws including the game winning touchdown. Now that they have a real franchise QB, good luck beating them.

1. New England Patriots

Key Additions: RB Jeremy Hill
Key Departures: OL Nate Solder, RB Dion Lewis, WR Danny Amendola, CB Malcolm Butler

Draft Picks: 7

You would think with the players they lost, I would say that is trouble. But it is Brady and Belichick. All they do is win games. They will never fall from number 1 in the preseason until those two are gone.

Athletes should keep their nose out of politics…said the hypocrite

Colin Kaepernick, LeBron James or whoever comes out to the forefront to state their opinions, it doesn’t matter. Many folks don’t seem to like it.

Fox News host Laura Ingraham put James on headlines this week when she made a comment on air that he needs to “shut up and dribble.”

Unfortunately, this seems to be the opinion of many folks. Just read content about kneeling for the anthem, promise you fill find at least one comment that reads something along the lines of “shut up and just play your sport.”

Apparently freedom of speech doesn’t apply to athletes. James is no political expert so he can’t have an opinion I guess.

I was told by someone recently to keep my opinions regarding a particular topic to myself because I am not an expert in that field. Said person proceeded to tell me about the industry I work in and my position. Honestly, that is just laughable.

You don’t have to work in a field to have a well formulated opinion about it. There are plenty of people who know more about the fitness industry than me who have never stepped foot in it.

My favorite part in all of this regarding the shut up and dribble comment is this bongo beater works for Fox News. You know, the station that carries out the conservative political agenda. For the record, I would say the same thing if this was Anderson Cooper on CNN because he is carrying out the left agenda to feed into the self serving bias of their viewers.

If you want to debate his opinion and say you think it is not a well formed one, sure, go for it. But, really? Shut up and dribble?

Sounds like a load of crap to me. You’re probably pissed off he can grandstand his opinions to wider audiences because more people care about putting a ball through a hoop than your show on Fox.

This brings me around to the internet world I referenced earlier. Let’s take a look at social media since the shooting in Florida. Everyone has made sure to post their opinions and engage in civil and some not so civil debates over the course of this tragedy, just like we tend to do for every tragedy or major controversy in society.

Hell, people on social media tend to find anything to bitch about. I came across a screenshot the other day of a teen olympic gold medalist who overslept and said fuck on TV. One of the comments from a lady named Debra, who had a delightful profile picture with her basically finger blasting her cat, read “Overslept. That sums up the work ethic of that generation.”

Someone clapped back “how many gold medals do you and your cat have? Go knit some mittens Debra.”

BUUUUUURN!

To all our folks like Debra out there, just go knit some mittens.

You expect athletes not to voice their opinions, but you will go ham in the comment sections of articles, other posts and your own timeline. But God forbid an athlete or celebrity does it, right?

What is wrong? You don’t agree? Well that is just too damn bad. The real issue is the folks of social media are probably pissed off because his comment will reach millions and their comments will only reach your 283 friends on Facebook. Thanks for coming out.

As for the 11 or so people who like and read my content, hope you enjoyed it. (They can’t tear you down if you make fun of yourself, right?)

As for Laura Ingraham, bite a toe.