Before I get into this, props to Elliot and Andy on the new Skyd format. #dope
Year after year, professional sports have this debate: is it the player most valuable to his team, or the best player? And how do we measure that, anyway? This year’s NBA debate is particularly heated, and this TrueHoop post addresses all of the hoopla around Derrick Rose winning the NBA MVP and how he is in no way statistically the best player. While Henry Abbott notes that it’s all well and good if writers want to vote for Rose, he says the following, a statement that I think is particularly relevant to ultimate:
“It’s purely anecdotal, or gut, or based on the eye test.”
The Callahan just seems silly to me. Does anyone really know what they’re voting for? People have long-described it as a popularity contest where RSD hype matters just as much as a player’s on-field resume, and I think that’s pretty much right. Moreover, it’s an individual award in a sport that is so dependent on team play.
Everything is so dependent on circumstance. Looking down the list of players that are on top of everyone’s list– George, Grant, Cole– it’s so easy to see how much they benefit from the team around them. What if they were surrounded by different teammates? What if they hadn’t been coached as well as they were? What if, what if, what if. Ultimate teams win when multiple players work together successfully, and that’s why I’ve always admired teams like Carleton (doesn’t nominate at all) and Georgia (only nominates if the team votes unanimously for one player) for shying away from nominating.
It’s not like individuals don’t deserve recognition. I know as well as anyone that one guy can make a gigantic impact on a game, tournament, or season. But that just goes back to the fact that ultimate players still aren’t all that well-evaluated. What if a player is untouchable as an offensive force but doesn’t really play defense? What if his game is a perfect 50/50 split of O and D? Is there some kind of in between where the cut off should lie?
I just much prefer All-American type lists. They’re way more fun, and they make you think about how a player’s skill set affects a group of other players.