Should this have been discussed earlier? Yes. Is this kind of ridiculous to talk about now? Yes. Are we going to talk about it anyways? Yes.
All this debate was started recently when Shaquille O'Neal spoke with Vibe Magazine and said, "Steve Nash is my boy, but I don’t see how the f**k he got it twice. I was taught never to complain because you can’t beat the system. People know who the real dominant guy was. But Steve Nash, I don’t want to say it because you might print it and it might cause problems. I don’t believe he beat me out twice.”
Everyone agrees that Shaq is a better player than Nash, that is not what is up for debate. Rather, did Nash deserve the two MVP awards he was given. The first season Steve Nash won the award was the 2004-2005 season. During this season he averaged 15.5 points and 11.5 assist. The assist numbers are very impressive. Guess who was second in assist that year. Did you say Jason Kidd? Or maybe Stephon Marbury? If you did, you're wrong. The player second in assist that year was Brevin Night of the Bobcats and he averaged 9 assist. 2.5 fewer than Nash. So if the MVP award was based only on assist than Nash deserved it with no doubt. However, we all know, that is not how it works. During that year Allen Iverson scored 30.7ppg, 7.9apg and 4.0rpg and was second in the league in steals with 2.4 per game. In that same season Kevin Garnett averaged 22.2ppg, led the league with 13.5rpg, and also had 5.7apg. Just looking at the numbers each player put up it seems that Nash did not deserve the award. However, how the team performs is always added into the equation when the league announces its MVP. The Phoenix Suns led the league with 62 wins and also led the league in scoring with an incredible 110.4ppg. That being said, the 76ers finished with 43 wins and the 7th seed in the east. The Timberwolves finished with 44 wins and missed the playoffs. When adding in the teams success it definitely gives a boost to Nash's resume, but I still believe Iverson or Garnett would have been the more deserving MVP.
The next year (2005-2006) Nash also won the MVP. That year he put up 18.8ppg and 10.5 assist. While his points increased, his assist total dropped. These are still great numbers however this is the same year that Kobe Bryant went on a scoring tear. He averaged 35.4 points per game to go along with 5.3 rebounds and 4.5 assist per game. Allen Iverson also improved upon his scoring numbers from the previous years dropping 33ppg and 7.4apg. Again we must look at the team records during the season to help pick the MVP. Phoenix finished with 54 wins and grabbed the 2 seed in the Western conference as they finished 9 games behind the Spurs. The 76ers had 38 wins and failed to make the playoffs. The Lakers took the 7th seed as they finished with 54 wins, only 9 fewer than the suns. Even with the team records weighed into the making of the MVP decision it seems as though Kobe Bryant made a very strong case to be the MVP in the 2006 season.
Does Shaq have a point? Is Steve Nash undeserving of the two MVP awards that he won? While Nash was a great player those two years, many other players had seemingly better statistical years. If I had to vote, I would most likely not have put Steve Nash's name down on the ballet. But then again... I don't get to vote.