Nuggets Head Coach Michael Malone Perfectly Summed Up The Problem And Toxicity Of The MVP Race
With under 10 games to go for most teams, there still isn't really a clear cut leader for the NBA MVP. To some, that's exciting because when you look at the schedules and see Giannis/Embiid/Jokic all play each other before the season ends, that's great drama. How those games go (and the teams overall finish) will most likely decide who wins the award. That's the type of drama that should bring universal excitement when it comes to the MVP, but obviously that is not the case.
The MVP debate has been toxic as well. While that's not new, this year is another level to the point where it sort of ruins the whole thing. I wouldn't blame you if you had MVP fatigue given what we've seen this year, especially post All Star Break.
If there's one guy who I think can provide some interesting perspective on this issue, I'd say it's Michael Malone
I'll ask you, tell me where Malone is wrong? Take one look on the internet, turn on ESPN for 2 seconds and what do you see? Exactly what Malone is saying. It's not about promoting your guy, it's about slandering and tearing down the other candidates to do it. That's lame as hell, especially when we are talking about the best basketball talents on the planet. It's totally possible to build a case for someone without doing that, yet that's the exact discourse we see around the MVP.
A big part of that is for sure "stan culture" you see on NBA Twitter. You know the accounts I'm talking about. The one that have a profile picture of a guy and then has a handle like @GiannisGod or @EMVPIID or @Tatumvp etc. All they do is basically what Malone is talking about. It's impossible to have actual basketball discussions with these types of accounts because they don't care about that. They just care about stanning for their guy by taking down other candidates.
Then you have the shit like what Perk did on his socials and then again on TV. Making crazy claims in an attempt to invalidate what someone like Jokic is doing, all because he believes Joel Embiid should be the MVP. It's all so gross and really it's a shame given how important the MVP award is.
The bad news for Malone is unfortunately, this is only going to get worse and not better. Shit is about to get even more toxic when the topic shifts from MVP to the All NBA teams, and you can bet your ass we're going to be right back here next year when it comes to the MVP award too. Giannis/Embiid/Jokic aren't going anywhere, and recent history suggests those 3 are going to be battling it out for MVP for the foreseeable future. If anything, we're only getting started with this shit.
The beauty of this race is that there is no bad or wrong choice. If you find a way to block out the toxic bullshit and simply appreciate the insane level of basketball being played, this race is fun as hell. If Embiid wins, that'll mean he showed up to end the year where the Sixers' schedule is BRUTAL, including games against Giannis/Jokic If Jokic wins it, cool! A center averaging a triple double on a 1st place team is more than worthy. If it's Giannis, OK! He's the best player on the planet, is a two way monster, and might finish with the best record. I'd say that's worthy too!
I'm not sure how this ever gets "resolved" or whatever since the cat is out of the bag. Maybe if Twitter goes away? Who knows. Either way, it's hard to argue that Malone is wrong here. I'm sure Bucks fans and Sixers fans will clown him for it, but he's not wrong.