Nowitzki named MVP

Nowitzki named MVP

Nowitzki named MVP
May 15th, 2007

Dallas, TX (Sports Network) - The NBA announced on Tuesday that Dallas Mavericks forward Dirk Nowitzki has been named the Most Valuable Player for the 2006-07 season.

The first European and first Maverick to win the award, Nowitzki led Dallas to a league-best 67-15 finish this year, the most victories in franchise history. Despite a stunning loss to Golden State in the first round of the playoffs, the voting to make Nowitzki MVP occurred immediately after the regular season.

Nowitzki denied former teammate Steve Nash of the Phoenix Suns his third straight MVP. Nowitzki received 83 first-place votes and 1,138 total points in the balloting, while Nash earned 44 first-place votes and totaled 1,013 points.

Nash was looking to join Larry Bird, Wilt Chamberlain and Bill Russell as the only players to win the award three years in a row.

Kobe Bryant of the Los Angeles Lakers garnered two first-place votes and finished third in the voting with 521 points. San Antonio's Tim Duncan was fourth with 286 points.

In 2006-07 Nowitzki averaged 24.6 points, 8.9 rebounds and a career-best 3.4 assists while again setting career highs in three percentages (field-goal, three-point and free throws). Not only that, but the Mavs were dominant when he was at his best. The team went 18-1 when he scored 30-plus points and he had 41 double-doubles.

The 28-year-old Nowitzki finished the season highly ranked in several categories, including 10th in scoring, tied for 11th in rebounding and tied for second in free-throw percentage.

Also, he finished the season as the only player to shoot at least 50 percent from the field, 40 percent from three-point range and 90 percent from the free throw line.

A six-time All-Star selection, Nowitzki finished the 2004-05 and '05-06 seasons third in the MVP voting.

Selected by the Milwaukee Bucks in the first round of the 1998 NBA Draft and then dealt to Dallas, Nowitzki has averaged 22.3 points in nine seasons, all with the Mavericks.

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Re: Nowitzki named MVP

Does Nowitzki deserve to be MVP?
May 15th, 2007

(Sports Network) - Because the Dallas Mavericks had a disappointing showing in the playoffs, questions regarding Dirk Nowitzki's selection as the NBA's MVP have started to pop up. But, the fact remains it is an award based on the regular season, not the postseason.

Granted, Nowitzki did not come through in the first round of the playoffs for the Mavericks, who were stunningly eliminated by Golden State in six games. Once again, playoff performances do not figure into the voting for the NBA's awards.

The Mavericks finished the 2006-07 campaign with a league- and franchise-best 67-15 record. They were the top seed in the Western Conference and owned home- court advantage throughout the postseason. Unfortunately for Dallas, the eighth-seeded Warriors were hot and proved to be a bad matchup.

A six-time All-Star, Nowitzki led the Mavericks in scoring (24.6 ppg) and rebounding (8.9 rpg) in 78 games during the regular season. He dished out a career-best 3.4 assists per game and shot 50.2 percent from the floor, including an impressive 41.6 percent from beyond the arc, and 90.4 percent from the charity stripe.

There is no doubt that Nowitzki was the top player for the best team in the league, but the emergence of fellow All-Star Josh Howard and the solid play of Devin Harris, Jerry Stackhouse and Jason Terry did have a huge impact on Dallas' success.

The 28-year-old Nowitzki was the focus of the opposition's game plan, as teams concentrated on him defensively, which made life on the court easier for Harris, Howard, Stackhouse and Terry. Nowitzki, who was 10th in the NBA in scoring and 11th in rebounding, saw a double-team virtually every time he touched the ball.

Did the seven-foot Nowitzki deserve to take home MVP honors? Was he the most valuable player for his team during the regular season?

The answer is yes, with an interesting theory. While Nowitzki's buddy, Steve Nash, again had an incredible year, the fact remains he was not going to be the first player since Larry Bird (1984-86) to win the award three straight years. Wilt Chamberlain (1966-68) and Bill Russell (1961-63) are the only other players to win the MVP three straight years.

A third straight MVP would have put Nash into super-elite status. Is he a Hall of Famer? Probably, but not among the greatest to ever play the game.

Michael Jordan, arguably the greatest player of all-time and a six-time NBA champion, won the MVP five times (1988, 1991, 1992, 1996, 1998), while Magic Johnson captured the honor three times (1987, 1989, 1990). Jordan and Johnson never took home the honor three straight years.

Nash, who finished second in this year's voting, averaged 18.6 points and a league-best 11.6 assists in 76 games for the Phoenix Suns, who finished 61-21 during the campaign and captured their third straight Pacific Division title. The 6-3 Nash is the best pure point guard in the league and makes all of his teammates better because of his incredible play-making ability.

Don't argue Kobe Bryant or LeBron James this year. Obviously, Bryant and James are two of the best players in the NBA, but their teams did not have the success that Dallas or Phoenix enjoyed this past season. Tim Duncan had a great year for San Antonio, but there was a reason Dallas finished nine games ahead of the Spurs in the Southwest Division standings.

A strong argument can be made for Nash. The Santa Clara product did it all again for the Suns, but was he really going to receive the award for a third straight year?

The fact is that Nowitzki was the best player for the team with the most wins during the regular season.

If the Mavericks finished with the same amount of wins as the Suns, maybe Nash would have hoisted his third straight MVP trophy. But because of Dallas' incredible regular season, Nowitzki deservedly got the nod over his best friend.

Is it a hollow feeling following the playoff disaster? Probably. But, again, it is a regular season honor and he was the best during the regular season.

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