Prior to the Iowa Energy's dismantling of the Tulsa 66ers to earn a spot in the D-League Finals against a TBD opponent, the Energy announced that point guard Curtis Stinson was named MVP while Nick Nurse finally took home Coach of the Year honors.
If I would have had a vote on the matter, I would have put Nurse in the top spot while also giving strong consideration to Reno's Eric Musselman and Erie's Jay Larranaga so the Coach of the Year award isn't all that surprising, but it is interesting that Stinson was awarded the NBA D-League's MVP award.
There's no question that Stinson's statistics -- 19.3 points, 9.8 assists and 5.7 rebounds -- as well as his being the catalyst of the top-seeded Energy justify his being named the MVP, but it sends the wrong message to the rest of the basketball viewing community that a player without much of an NBA future is named the Most Valuable player in the NBA Development League after his fourth season and fifth team in the D-League.
Draft Express's Jonathan Givony summed up the argument against Stinson being named MVP pretty well in a series of posts on Twitter.
"What does Curtis Stinson -- a guy no team in the NBA or Europe has any interest in -- winning MVP of the D-League, say about the D-League?," Givony asked. "Stinson played in Europe a couple of times but couldn't adjust his game, or mentality enough, so he was cut. This summer he had zero offers."
The MVP of the D-League doesn't say much in terms of NBA talent, actually, as there were a record 103 former D-League players on NBA rosters to end the season and a grand total of one of them -- Charlotte Bobcats reserve Matt Carroll -- had previously been named the NBA Development League's Most Valuable Player since the award was introduced in 2002.
Givony then went on to say that he "wasn't trying to bag on Stinson. Just pointing out how little the stats and style that's played in the D-League translates to real basketball."
If any NBA executive looks solely at the box scores and tries to decide which players are worthy of an NBA look, they're probably
employed by the New Jersey Nets (Mario West) or Los Angeles Clippers (JamesOn Curry) going to have a better chance of finding a player that excels at what it takes to excel in the D-League as opposed to finding a player that cna do the little things well enough to stick on an NBA roster.
Stinson has excelled for the past two seasons and earned the MVP award under Nurse because he does the things needed to be successful in Nurse's system and has had a good cast of talent around him, not necessarily because he's exhibiting NBA talent night in and night out -- and, like Givony, I don't know if that's sending the right message to those that don't follow the D-League as closely as you and I.