April 2023

Shouldn't Post-Season Failures Apply To The MVP Analysis?

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image: All-Pro Reels, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The debate over whether post-season success or failures should impact a player's ability to win MVP is a topic that has been heavily discussed in the world of basketball. While many argue that regular season performance should be the primary factor in determining the MVP, others believe that a player's ability to perform in high-pressure situations and lead their team to success in the playoffs should be taken into consideration.

The argument in favor of regular season performance is based on the idea that it is the most objective and consistent way to evaluate a player's value to their team. Metrics such as scoring, rebounding, and assists are readily available and provide a clear picture of a player's impact on the game. However, the reality is that not all characteristics of great play show up in the box score. A player's ability to make smart decisions, communicate effectively with teammates, and play strong defense can all be critical to their team's success but are not easily quantifiable.

On the other hand, the argument for postseason performance emphasizes the importance of a player's ability to perform in high-pressure situations. It is during the playoffs when the stakes are highest and the competition is most intense. A player who can step up and lead their team to victory in these situations is undoubtedly valuable and deserving of recognition. However, the counterargument to this is that a player's postseason success can be heavily influenced by factors outside of their control, such as their team's overall performance or the quality of their opponents.

Just look at Jimmy Butler and Nikola Jokić, and we at least have to ask ourselves whether we're being tricked by metrics and overrating team records and stats. Watching the games, Jimmy is undoubtably applying a "take matters into my own hands" approach, which has has extremely impacted the Miami Heat's success, whereas Nikola Jokić has not had the same impact on winning and is in the running for his 3rd consecutive MVP award. Don't we play to win the game?

It is important to note that while metrics can be a useful tool in evaluating a player's performance, they should not be the only factor considered. The "eye test" or a player's overall impact on the game should also be taken into account. Furthermore, a player's postseason performance should not be the only consideration but rather one of many factors that are analyzed to determine their overall value to their team.

It is also important to acknowledge that some players may be victims of a system that does not inflate their stats, while others may be beneficiaries of a system that inflates their stats. This can make it difficult to accurately evaluate a player's value based solely on their statistics. Additionally, some players may prioritize preserving their energy for the playoffs rather than putting all their effort into regular season wins. While this may result in lower regular-season stats, it can ultimately lead to greater postseason success.

In conclusion, while there is no clear answer to whether post-season success or failures should impact a player's ability to win MVP, it is important to consider all factors, including regular-season performance, postseason success, and overall impact on the game. While metrics can be useful, they should not be the sole factor in determining a player's value to their team. Ultimately, the decision of who deserves the MVP award should be based on a careful analysis of all available information and should take into account both objective and subjective factors.

Issa Hall, Esq

Issa has founded multiple ventures, is an author, and founding partner of Hall & Dixon law firm, with over a decade of experience in tech and law.

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