You better hop on now if you're hoping to find a spot on the Chauncey Billups for MVP bandwagon. Yesterday's new passenger was Jim Rome, and today it's Sports Illustrated's Jack McCallum. Among his predictions for the rest of the year was this:
After four dozen stories about how Chauncey Billups won't be named MVP even though he is deserving, the Pistons point guard will, in fact, get the award. Why? For the best of reasons: he deserves it. The media screws up a lot of things, but, in general, they do well on the MVP vote. By the end of the season, Cleveland's LeBron James, Dallas's Dirk Nowitzki, Iverson, Miami's Dwayne Wade, San Antonio's Tim Duncan and Tony Parker, the Clippers' Elton Brand and '05 winner Steve Nash of Phoenix will all be worthy candidates. But Mr. Big Shot will be the best player and leader of a 68-win team, and he will get the nod.
It's funny, because just this past weekend Ian and I were talking about whether Billups had a shot. Ian suggested Billups would need to get his scoring average above 20 ppg to be a real candidate. So what did Billups do? Drop 37 on the Magic to push his average up to 19.6.
Even though Billups thinks Rasheed Wallace is the team's MVP, the rest of the league has taken notice how Billups is in complete control of the best team in the Association. That's not hyperbole: not only does he always take the biggest shots, he's fourth in the league in assists (8.4), first in assists per turnover (4.36), third in free-throw percentage (93.3%) and fifth in three-point makes (67). Add it all up, and there's literally no better player to have with the game on the line, whether you're protecting a lead or making a late comeback.