The Dallas Morning News' David Moore is trying to figure out who has been the league's MVP. Not surprisingly, Mr. Big Shot is among his contenders:
Chauncey Billups – The best player on the team with the best record is always a leading candidate. But what happens when you play for the best starting five in the league with very little separation from first to last?
Billups had momentum early in the season when Detroit – however briefly – was on pace to win 70 games. Now, the strength of the Pistons starting lineup and the lack of strength in the Eastern Conference will hurt his chances.
It's tough to hold it against Chauncey that the rest of his teammates are so talented -- no one seemed to mind that Steve Nash played with Amare Stoudemire, Joe Johnson and Quentin Richardson last season. And while people can celebrate Nash as a better "pure passer" (read: "orchestrates the fast break well") than Billups, there's no denying that Billups gets the edge on defense and late-game heroics. Dirk Nowitski is a fashionable pick among some, but I agree with Moore: he's a dumb one of the Mavs don't catch the Spurs and get stuck with the No. 4 seed.
Does Chauncey have a chance to win? Definitely. Will I be upset if he doesn't? Not really. I don't like the ball in anyone else's hands when the game is on the line, but does that make him the linchpin to the team's success? Would this be the same team without Tayshaun Prince's defense or Rasheed Wallace's versatility? Or without Rip Hamilton's quick trigger or Ben Wallace's dogged defense? Of course not. Detroit's greatest strength is that they are greater than just the sum of their individual parts. Billups just happens to be receiving the most recognition of the five starters due to his career-best numbers.
Will the real MVP step forward? [Dallas Morning News]