DMC for MVP!

Why the Kings big man deserves the NBA's greatest individual honor. Like, right now.
Share |

CousinsCropped

Bethlehem Shoals: It's looking all but inevitable that LeBron is going to win the MVP again. Which is kind of crazy, since it's more or less voters admitting that they (or the institution of voting, at least) fucked up with Shaq. O'Neal could either get it every year or never, so he got it once. LeBron is hands-down the most dominant player in the game, but like Shaq, he's terrible with narrative. Worse, even. Shaq is static, LeBron is constantly backsliding, unless we judge him only by his play. Durant was the favorite for a lot of this year because he was enjoying a storybook season, like Rose last season. LeBron's entire narrative thrust is about the postseason, which couldn't play into this voting if it wanted to.

Eric Freeman: His narrative is about the postseason, yes, but the MVP almost acts as a vote of confidence that he can succeed, or maybe even a setup for an even greater fall. It's easy to think of an award like this one as a culmination of a narrative, like Derrick Rose assuming superstardom last season or, as with Kobe Bryant in 2008, a player "figuring things out" in a way we hadn't seen before. With James, though, the MVP is more like a stepping stone to some other ending. If he wins, this becomes the year he overcame all that failure, and he proved it in the regular season. If he loses, it's an even greater shame.

Bethlehem Shoals: Shaq got his MVP in 2000, which was the first Lakers title. That was the tipping point for that team—when they emerged as a dynasty—and when O'Neal earned the right to not be seriously considered ever again (even when he deserved it in 2004-05). With James, we're looking at an even more insidious kind of transition: There will be no way to deny him the MVP after this; the voters will have created a monster. It will take an even greater narrative force to upend him with each passing year. Remember how Steve Nash couldn't be given the MVP three years in a row because it would put him in company too distinguished? The problem there was that nobody liked the precedent it set. This would be a natural disaster we could totally predict coming (typical LeBron predestination), as opposed to Nash's dishonoring of the tradition. The Chosen One has taken down basketball from the inside out without ever winning a ring.

Eric Freeman: Aren't you just describing the Michael Jordan situation? Won't people eventually get bored of LeBron and vote for whomever else does well? And he loses again in the postseason, why won't everyone just stop trusting him and opt for the Durants of the league?

Bethlehem Shoals: Jordan's story evolved every year. That was part of his magical brand. Each year was a new chapter to endorse, in addition to being a dominant campaign. And again, if LeBron wins a third, and then has a better season, and no story is so compelling it can plausibly unseat LeBron (you know Durant would get it if the Thunder hadn't slowed toward the end), then it will be James's to loan to others. It will go from excuses to vote for others to basically making an exception to. I wonder if we don't need a new kind of MVP, a renegade Most Valuable Player, that rewards narrative whether or not it fits the conventional model of HEROISM. If players are candidates, and LeBron is the incumbent running on his record, I endorse the Tea Party of 2011-12 narratives, DeMarcus Fucking Cousins.

Eric Freeman: The anti-hero for our times. A man thought to be toxic to any team, but who turned out to have been coached by a jerk who was in Rush Limbaugh's wedding. As soon as Paul Westphal was fired, Cousins started playing like a budding star. No one watched him, because he played for the Kings, and yet if he weren't thought to be a coach-killer—again, based on one coach whom Spencer Hawes didn't like either—he'd be thought of as on the cusp of becoming one of the best big men in the league. I guess the question is how we can possibly convince anyone that Cousins is worth a vote. Isn't that like how people never vote for fringe political candidates because they can't win?

Bethlehem Shoals: It's like how people think the Presidency is more important than state races. The biggest stories are the blandest ones. There's something almost silly about hoping for cliched narratives to unseat LeBron's bland excellence. It's one kind of optimization vs. another, results vs. promises. Cousins is the Great American Novel of NBA big men.

Eric Freeman: Well, isn't the narrative the only thing that keeps the MVP alive? If it just becomes an award for the best player — which many people take it to be — then there's no need to argue over it; the best player is usually statistically apparent. The narrative issue makes it about personal preference, to some degree, except with some amount of likability. It's how something as boring as The Artist can win Best Picture. Except, once the argument becomes about some narrative or less tangible value, it's possible to say any player deserves it. Why is Cousins such a crazy choice if he moves our souls? He's real to us, dammit.

Bethlehem Shoals: Right, NBA "best" narratives have the same problems as the criteria that govern "Best Picture." Let's change the award to make it more true to what we already know it to be.

Eric Freeman: I would rather just have a set of NBA Superlatives at the end of every season. Steve Novak is Most Likely to Watch Gladiator Before a Big Game.

Bethlehem Shoals: You are turning awards into a bad joke. I want to still recognize Cousins as some kind of superlative.

Eric Freeman: I thought it was a good joke, but I see your point.

Bethlehem Shoals: The only people who make up joke awards are secretly hidebound traditionalists at heart. Everyone who is angry is actually very scared.

Eric Freeman: Stop accusing me of being small-minded. I agree with you on Cousins. But how do you introduce someone like Cousins into that hidebound tradition without consenting that he might be a ridiculous choice. Otherwise everyone will laugh at the suggestion. The unpopular candidate never wins a popularity contest. He can only get some attention for his ideas and maybe find a job at an ideologically driven news network.

Bethlehem Shoals: I cannot wait to see NBA Intervention, a new offseason reality show where "troubled" stars are saved and mentored by players who resemble them. Zach Randolph will tell Cousins to clean up his condo. Gerald Green will get chained to a shark. Monta Ellis will get a fake ID for himself. This year's All-Rookie team will huff a little together and then retire to a co-op.

Eric Freeman: Are you saying Cousins can only be saved if he pretends that he's worse than he really is? So he can win a playoff series at some point and become a real fringe MVP candidate? Are careers defined that early? That's so sad. No one grows up wanting to be a reclamation project, especially he hasn't even done anything especially bad. Or maybe his coming addition to the Team USA Select Team is the start.

Bethlehem Shoals: Or maybe it's the beginning of the end of what could have been a beautiful shift in thinking.

Eric Freeman: I think you're right. That way he conforms to the established narrative, and the best we can do is some Joss Whedon situation where the conventions are simultaneously poked at and carried out. I'd prefer something like Godard where the conventions are blown apart and occasionally someone gets shot.

Bethlehem Shoals: Instead of a career about careers, a career about itself.

Illustration by Emily O'Leary.


Share |

Comments

This is very appealing, however , it is very important that will mouse click on the connection: The Red Smoothie Detox Factor

If you are looking to promote this piece then we specialise in helping small businesses get found online. Feel free to introduce yourself.rv park wifi

I think this is a charming issue, I expect you would surely post on it again sometime near the future. Thanks guys! astrology answers

Hey buddies, such a marvelous blog you have made I’m surprised to read such informative stuf
need a loan now

The people are very lucky to have this blog because it has better knowledge. fat diminisher system reviews

Each time I used to always check blog posts within the first hours in the break of day, because I like to get information increasingly more. lifr indurance

This blog post is really great; the standard stuff of the post is genuinely amazing. virginia online payday loan

Welcome to the party of my life here you will learn everything about me. Ex Factor Guide

Your composing is purely awe-inspiring that I desired to read such high quality material... m9d

I read this article. I think You put a great deal of exertion to make this article. I like your work. The Woman Men Adore and Never Leave

Each time I used to always check blog posts within the first hours in the break of day, because I like to get information increasingly more. My millionaire mentor

Remarkable blog! I have no words to praise, it has really allured me.
cash advance with savings account

Great! We will be connecting to this enormous post on our site. Continue the good writing.

short term payday loans

It feels awe-inspiring to read such informative and distinctive articles on your websites. video enigma bonus

This is such a great resource that you are providing and you give it away for free. I love seeing websites that understand the value of providing a quality resource for free. It is the old what goes around comes around routine. iphone repair

For true fans of this thread I will address is a free online! Talk To His Heart Review

Your blogs further more each else volume is so entertaining further serviceable It appoints me befall retreat encore. I will instantly grab your rss feed to stay informed of any updates. The Instant Switch Review

Truly awesome blog! I desire the same top-quality blog post from you in the forthcoming also. car insurance rates

Your way to enlighten everything on this blog is actually pleasant, everyone manage to efficiently be familiar with it, Thanks a great deal. webinar jeo

Your composing is purely awe-inspiring that I desired to read such high quality material... http://mybkhelp.com

You create sense out of the foremost complex topics. online payday loan lenders only

I use only high quality materials - you can see them at: What Men Secretly Want Review

Three are usually cheap Ralph Lauren available for sale each and every time you wish to buy. They're produced by the very best degree developers who will be distinguished for your polo dress creating. You'll find polo Ron Lauren inside exclusive array which include particular classes for men, women. The Language of Desire

I was searching for many blogs site and now finally I have got this cool place with lots of information.visit site

This is really a remarkable topic close to my heart thanks. Keep up the good working! car insurance quotes

I feel really happy to have seen your webpage and look forward to so many more entertaining times reading here. Thanks once more for all the details. Rocket Spanish Review

That’s a nice site you people are carrying out there. dark post profits

Durant was the favorite for a lot of this year because he was enjoying a storybook season, like Rose last season. LeBron's entire narrative thrust is about the postseason, which couldn't play into this voting if it wanted to. buy soundcloud plays

I see the greatest contents on your blog and I extremely love reading them.
term life insurance

Your blog has given me that thing which I never expect to get from all over the websites. Nice post guys!
compare car insurance rates

It’s a classic great for me to go to this blog site, it offers helpful suggestionspayday loan with saving account

The complete blogs are really inconceivable and definitely everyone will share this information.Find A Lawyer in Chicago

Well, I have got the best information from here the site is fully stuffed with the knowledgeable information.

https://www.checkomatic.com/business-checks-c-21.html

Your working is truly appreciative, it sounds good to read your blogs thanks a lot guys!
Youtube

I have checked this link this is really important for the people to get benefit from.Anna

I am actually delighted to read this post that carries countless of helpful information, thanks!! www.euroasiasamuiweddings.com

This post is really magnificent. I really like this post. It is one of the best posts that I ve read in a long time. Thanks a lot for this really good post. I really appreciate it! Language of Desire Review

If you are looking to promote this piece then we specialise in helping small businesses get found online. Feel free to introduce yourself.rv wifi antenna

Likes tremendously increase the status from the webpage and using the ideal range count; numerous individuals will probable be captivated to your account.rv park wifi systems

With James, though, the MVP is more like a stepping stone to some other ending. If he wins, this becomes the year he overcame all that failure, and he proved it in the regular season. If he loses, it's an even greater shame.
escort in lebanon

Great! We will be connecting to this enormous post on our site. Continue the good writing.CCT

Hello guys! You have made superb efforts to make this post. This is great thanks
goji slim onde comprar

This would be a natural disaster we could totally predict coming (typical LeBron predestination), as opposed to Nash's dishonoring of the tradition. The Chosen One has taken down basketball from the inside out without ever winning a ring.
escorts in lebanon

Cousins is worth a vote. Isn't that like how people never vote for fringe political candidates because they can't win?
عقاري جدة
دليل بروكر
موقع شعلة

While the admin of the web site is working, no question soon it will likely be famous, due to its feature blogs. push button influence

I’m impressed with the special and informative contents that you just offer in such short timing. IH

Your composing is purely awe-inspiring that I desired to read such high quality material...spyderco fan

These are actually wonderful some ideas in the blog. You have touched good quality points here. In whatever way continue writing.personal loans

Hi, I just bought this book for Kindle, but I can’t find the code!! Can anyone tell me where exactly is it? Thanks!!!low cost wifi services

I guess this blog is perfectly incomparable. everwebinar bonus