Monday, May 14, 2007

Dirk Nowitzki to be MVP.. or not?

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Supposedly Dirk Diggler is going to be named MVP tomorrow. I'm not going to get into a debate right now about whether he deserves it or not. What I want to know is, how do people come up with this information as if it is fact on such a regular basis?
The voting for Most Valuable Player, as with other league awards, is polled from broadcasters and writers across the league. The only way that the result could be known so conclusively is if someone has informally interviewed every one of these voters to find out their selection. I highly doubt that this has been possible.
The only conclusions that can hence be drawn are that either someone in the league office is leaking information or that the rumour is potentially incorrect. If the former is correct, David Stern needs to grab a tighter hold of the reigns which he normally grips so strongly, in order to bring some mystery and magic back to the league. If the latter is correct, won't it be funny to see all of the major news organisations proven wrong?

Bruce Bowen reviewed by the NBA

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The net has been blowing up about Bruce Bowen and his perceived dirty tactics.

Bowen has been known for a long time as a guy who pushes the boundaries of fair play. Now the NBA has decided to act. Bowen's "interaction" with Steve Nash in Game 3 has been reviewed by the league. The league did not go so far as to impose any suspension or fine, but merely upgraded the foul to a flagrant. Watch the video of the incident and judge for yourself.

However, I don't think this is the worst or most dangerous play that Bowen has made, it's merely a case of 'enough is enough'. The NBA has acted, purely because it HAD to. Bowen's kick to the achilles of Amaré Stoudemire (see below), was one of the dirtiest plays I've seen in a while (probably since Reggie Evans' grab of Chris Kaman).

A perusal of YouTube will bring up plenty of Bruce Bowen-Collector goodies. It seems he's not too well liked around the league. And with good reason:

- Bruce Bowen undercuts Anthony Parker.

- Bruce Bowen's "foot defense" of Steve Francis and Jamal Crawford.

Some will say that, hey, it's the playoffs and a bit more roughness is all part of the game. This is true. However, when a player crosses the line between tough play and foul play, the league needs to step in, in the same way the NFL has done to protect its players. The NBA is known for promoting its marquee attractions, being its individual showmen. Bruce Bowen is quite often the one defending these same marquee attractions. If guys start to go down with serious injuries, that could be a big hit to the league.

Picking up this sort of play mid-game is tough. The referees can not be held to blame the majority of the time. However in post-game reviews, there is no reason why the league can not make a judgement and make appropriate suspensions and fines to stop dirty play from entering the game.