Posted: May 9, 2005 10:09 am EST

Column: Shaq snubbed for MVP, but will have last laugh (~10 col. in.)
by Cliff Gibson, Greenville (Texas) Herald-Banner
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    By Cliff Gibson
    CNHI News Service

    GREENVILLE, Texas -- Since its inception in 1955, the winner of the NBA Most Valuable Player award has led his team to the NBA Finals 27 times. On 20 occasions the MVP has proceeded on to the world championship.
    So with the announcement of Steve Nash winning the prized award, history shows that the Phoenix Suns then have a very good chance of not only getting to the Finals, but winning the whole thing.
    Only one problem, sooner or later the Suns are going to have to deal with Miami and Shaquille OíNeal.
    Not only is Shaq the most dominating force in the league today, but the motivation of being snubbed for the MVP doesnít bode well for Miamiís future opponents.
    Heat teammate Alonzo Mourning put it best in an interview with Stephen Holder of the Miami Herald: ďIf he doesnít win it, itís going to tick him off and I donít want to play against him when heís ticked off.Ē
    Besides, is Nash the clear winner anyway?
    Yes, Phoenix won a league-best 62 games this season and scored a league-high 110 points per game. But both Phoenix and Miami earned the top seed in their respective conferences and each swept its opponent in the first round.
    But while Nash may have had the biggest impact for his new team, Shaq was missed the most by his former squad.
    The Mavericks actually got better in terms of wins and losses without Nash, going from 52 wins last season to 56 this year. The Lakers however, fell into a downward spiral without Shaq, from 56 wins and a Finals appearance last season, to 34 wins and failing to make the playoffs for the first time in 11 years.
    Ask any general manager or coach in the league who the one person they would want on their team and I am willing to bet that a majority would plead for Shaq. Nash would be lucky to get one vote. That doesnít sound like an MVP to me.
    Both Phoenix and Miami have my nod to advance to the Finals, meaning that Shaq and Nash are on a collision course.
    Itíll be the speedy Corvette against the powerful diesel, and the diesel always wins.

    Cliff Gibson writes for The Herald-Banner in Greenville, Texas.

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