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Thursday, April 16th, 2009 at 6:20 pm  |  115 responses

Links: How I Voted

My official ballot for the NBA’s big awards…

by Lang Whitaker

Lunchtime, yesterday. I was in the middle of a meeting downtown when I felt my cell phone buzzing in my pocket. I slyly yanked out my phone and checked the caller ID: The NBA offices. Seriously? Figured I should answer it.

“Hello?”

“Hi, Lang?”

“Yes.”

“Hi, this is at the NBA. Where is your awards ballot?”

“I haven’t turned it in,” I explained. I’d read the rules carefully, over and over, and I knew I had until 3:00 today, Thursday, to submit it. And I wanted to squeeze out every last second I could before turning my ballot in.

Which is why I stumbled into bed last night around 3:00 a.m., accidentally waking Wifey.

“Are you just now coming to bed?” she asked, her eyes closed.

“Yeah,” I said. “Had to fill out my NBA awards ballot.”

“Geez,” she answered. “Must have been a long ballot.”

picture-2Actually, the awards ballot isn’t all that long. It’s an 8-page Microsoft Word document with NBA logos embedded, and those of us lucky enough to have a vote are only asked to vote in seven categories. Still, I take the responsibility of having a vote seriously. I watch games all season. I do research. I read as many opinions on the awards as I can find. And then I think on it for a few days, going over all the possibilities and permutations in my head. Last night around 2:00 a.m., I finally made my choices. I slept on them, ran though them again this morning with Ben to see if I was tripping, then mailed it in a few hours ago.

(BTW, I read a lot of columns where writers gave their pick for Executive of the Year. That award is actually voted on by other NBA executives, not writers, so I didn’t make a choice there.)

Anyway, on to my actual ballot. Here’s the way I voted in Decision ’09…

2008-09 T-MOBILE ROOKIE OF THE YEAR AWARD BALLOT

CRITERIA: None, really. The ballot just says “Please vote for three players. Five points will be awarded for a first place vote, three for second and one for third.”

WHO I DIDN’T VOTE FOR: The only guy I really thought was deserving but didn’t put on my ballot was Russell Westbrook. Considering all OKC went through this season, RW more than lived up to expectations. The other three guys I voted for were just better, I thought.

My choices for the 2008-09 T-Mobile Rookie of the Year were:
1. Derrick Rose — Chicago Bulls
2. OJ Mayo — Memphis Grizzlies
3. Brook Lopez — NJ Nets
This was a relatively easy call for me. Despite playing for a rookie coach and on a team without any real interior presence, Rose carried the Bulls into the Playoffs. OJ had some peaks and valleys, but he stepped right into the role of being a team leader in Memphis and excelled. Bull Lopez got better every month, and he’s going to be a solid post player in the L for a long time to come.

2008-09 NBA COACH OF THE YEAR AWARD BALLOT

CRITERIA GIVEN: Again, none really. Voters are told, “Please vote for three coaches. Five points will be awarded for a first place vote, three for second and one for third.”

WHO I DIDN’T VOTE FOR: A lot of guys were pushing for Rick Adelman, but I couldn’t do it—I thought the Rockets spend way too much not time not getting the ball inside to Yao Ming, and that had nothing to do with injuries or anything else. The two other coaches I probably would’ve had fourth and fifth, respectively, were Erik Spoelstra and, gulp, Mike Woodson. Spoelstra basically took a dirt sandwich and made the damn thing look palatable. And Woody, despite his stubborn refusal to even consider changing his methods or rotation, took the Hawks from 13 wins in ’04-05 to 47 wins and home court in the first round this season.

My choices for the 2008-09 NBA Coach of the Year were:
1. Mike Brown — Cleveland Cavaliers
2. Stan Van Gundy — Orlando Magic
3. Nate McMillan — Portland Trail Blazers
OK, so Brown did have arguably the best player in the world to work with, but he actually worked with him and didn’t screw it up. The Cavs were 21 wins better than they were last season, largely because Brown made his system work with the players he had. Stan Van might not be liked by his players, or Shaq, but he took basically the same team he had a year ago (minus Jameer Nelson for half the year) and wrung another 7 wins out of them. And Nate Dogg has presided over a steady rebuilding program in Portland that reminds me of what Woody’s done in Atlanta. Nate just did it better.

2008-09 NBA DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR AWARD PRESENTED BY KIA MOTORS BALLOT

CRITERIA GIVEN: Again, none. Just to “vote for three players. Five points will be awarded for a first place vote, three for second and one for third.”

WHO I DIDN’T VOTE FOR: I thought this was one of the easier categories to pick. It’s also the first year in a while that there wasn’t a defensive specialist making serious noise. Battier was injured for a chunk of the season (about one-fourth of it), Artest didn’t seem as focused defensively this season, and Bowen seemed to have lost a step. And even though KG won this award last season, his steals, blocks and rebounds were all down this season, and considering he only played in 52 games, I didn’t think his impact defensively over the 82 game season was anywhere close to the guys I ended up choosing.

I really only seriously considered two other guys: One was Kobe Bryant, but I’m not even sure he was the best defender on his own team (Ariza!); Dwyane Wade was the other, and I’d have possibly had him tied for third if the ballot allowed it (it doesn’t allow you split any votes).

So I had to pick my top three, and I went this way…

My choices for the 2008-09 NBA Defensive Player of the Year Award presented by Kia Motors were:
1. Dwight Howard — Orlando Magic
2. LeBron James — Cleveland Cavaliers
3. Chris Paul — New Orleans Hornets
CP3 led the L in steals, by over half a steal per game, and that’s despite having to play so many games against all the good PGs out West. Bron galvanized the Cavs defensively, led the team in defensive rebounds and steals, and I thought he really reinvented the weakside blocked shot. But Dwight Howard was this season’s immovable force, or unstoppable object, or whatever you want to call it. Maybe his offensive could stand to improve, but dude’s defense is ridiculous. Have fun with that in Round One, Sam Dalembert.

2008-09 ALL-NBA TEAM BALLOT

CRITERIA GIVEN: Voters were told only “Please vote for the player at the position that he plays regularly. You can vote for five players on each of the three All-NBA teams. No ties may be awarded.”

WHO I DIDN’T VOTE FOR: I spent a good 30 minutes thinking about this particular category last night. Let’s just go straight to how I voted and I’ll explain my thinking (and who I omitted) as we go…

My choices for the 2008-09 All-NBA Teams were:
All-NBA First Team
F LeBron James
F Tim Duncan
C Dwight Howard
G Kobe Bryant
G Dwyane Wade

All no-brainers. If you beef with any of these selections, you don’t like basketball. Simple as that.

All-NBA Second Team
F Dirk Nowitzki
F Paul Pierce
C Yao Ming
G Brandon Roy
G Chris Paul

I thought Chris Paul was probably in the top five players in the League this year, ahead of Duncan, but obviously I couldn’t bump Kobe or Wade for CP3. Brandon Roy had a helluva season. I saw a few writers arguing that Roy deserved Most Improved, which I thought was odd considering both his RPG and APG were down this year from last year. But I thought his value to Portland has never been higher. Yao? Yo. He was durable (77 games) and was thisclose to averaging a double-double. Dirk was Dirk, a seven-foot freak who dribbles like a point guard and averaged 26 ppg. And then there was Paul Pierce. The other night, with about 8 minutes to go in the Sixers/Celts game, the camera panned over to Paul Pierce, parked on the Boston bench, and it caught him yawning. (I tweeted it here.) But a couple of minutes later, with the game on the line, there was Pierce in the game, taking on the Sixers’ toughest defender (Iggy), creating his own shot and getting the W for the Celts. Nothing Pierce does is all that remarkable in and of itself, but I think more than anyone else, he was the reason for Boston being a contender again this season.

All-NBA Third Team
F Kevin Durant
F Pau Gasol
C Shaquille O’Neal
G Joe Johnson
G Tony Parker

This was probably the toughest category for me to fill out. Shaq was a no-brainer to me, and to a lesser extent, I thought Gasol was an easy selection as well, and Durant, too. (Although…are Gasol and Durant even forwards? NBA.com has Gasol listed as a “F-C” and Durant a “G-F.” so I’m making them my forwards.) As far as the guards, I really wanted to include Deron Williams. He missed 14 games, but TP missed 10 himself. Deron went for 19 and 11, while Tony went for 22 and 7. And basically, when it came down to it, I thought it was more impressive that Tony helped the Spurs win 54 games than it was that Deron helped Utah win 48. As for Joe Johnson, I thought he had his best season as a pro. He got doubled every game on nearly every possession, but he led the Hawks in PPG (21.4) and APG (5.8), defended the opponents’ best guards every night, and, more importantly, led the Hawks to 47 wins and homecourt in the East while playing 79 games. And he was second in the NBA (to Dre Iguodala) in total minutes played with 3,124 (averaged 39.6 mpg). Deron missed my ballot by thismuch.

2008-09 NBA MOST IMPROVED PLAYER AWARD PRESENTED BY KIA MOTORS BALLOT

CRITERIA GIVEN: “This award is designed to honor an up-and-coming player who has made a dramatic improvement from the previous season or seasons. It is not intended to be given to a player who has made a ‘comeback.’ Please vote for three players.”

WHO I DIDN’T VOTE FOR: David Lee and Paul Milsap were the two main guys I considered but left off. I thought Lee improved but mostly got proportionately skewed numbers because he was in Mike D’Antoni’s stat-stuffing system. And Milsap, to me, really just improved his opportunity more so than his ability. Which leads us to…

My choices for the 2008-09 NBA Most Improved Player Presented by Kia Motors were:
1. Danny Granger — Indiana Pacers
2. Kevin Durant — Oklahoma City Thunder
3. Devin Harris — New Jersey Nets
This was one of the categories that had me kinda vexed. Devin Harris obviously had a much better season this year than last — he had the highest jump in PPG in the NBA at 6.5 — but at the same time I felt that was largely due to a change in his role with the Nets. So often in Dallas he seemed like he was raring to go but he played the team game, which is why so many people pegged him for stardom and why the Nets traded for him. He did improve once he came to Jersey, sure, but I thought it was mostly a function of the Nets just turning him loose. Durant not only went through a coaching change and a ton of double-teams, but he upped his PPG by 5.0 (and his RPG and APG) and, most importantly, from what I saw and heard from talking with people down there, KD really started trying to take on the leadership role asked of him. At the end of the day, however, I thought Danny Granger’s transformation into a bona-fide scorer was the most impressive improvement I saw all season.

2008-09 NBA SIXTH MAN AWARD PRESENTED BY KIA MOTORS BALLOT

CRITERIA GIVEN: “This award is designed to honor a player for his contributions in a reserve role. In order to be eligible for this award, a player must come off the bench for more games than he starts. Please vote for three players.”

WHO I DIDN’T VOTE FOR: Flip Murray, for one. Flip did his instant offense thing off the bench all year for the Hawks, but he really produced about the same as he has anywhere given the opportunity. I also know Travis Outlaw got a lot of love from many people, but I just thought the three guys I voted for had better seasons for their teams.

My choices for the 2008-09 NBA Sixth Man Presented by Kia Motors were:
1. Jason Terry — Dallas Mavericks
2. Lamar Odom — Los Angeles Lakers
3. Nate Robinson — New York Knicks

I don’t think anyone can argue with JeTerry. I was surprised more people didn’t pimp the candidacy of LO. He did start for a bit while Bynum was out, but he came off the bench more than he started, and he also embraced the role of being the Sixth Man for the Lakers. Nate Dogg? Dude can score, and in a way he really epitomizes what a Sixth Man is supposed to be, with his in-Nate ability to fire up crowds both at home and on the road.

2008-09 NBA MOST VALUABLE PLAYER AWARD PRESENTED BY KIA MOTORS BALLOT

CRITERIA GIVEN: None. Which makes this such a nebulous award.

WHO I DIDN’T VOTE FOR: Actually, since they ask you to choose five people, I thought the five guys I selected were all completely worthy and I don’t really feel bad about not including anyone in particular.

My choices for the 2008-09 NBA Most Valuable Player Presented by Kia Motors were:
1. LeBron James — Cleveland Cavaliers
2. Kobe Bryant — Los Angeles Lakers
3. Dwyane Wade — Miami Heat
4. Chris Paul — New Orleans Hornets
5. Dwight Howard — Orlando Magic

So there it is, the Big Kahuna of the awards. I wrote way back on Sept. 19, the day I turned in my NBA Preview for SLAM issue 123, that I thought this season it would be “more evident than ever that LeBron was the MVP.” I was pretty sure of this all season long, watching LeBron smash and burn his way through the NBA and lead the Cavs to unprecedented heights.

Oddly enough, the only real second thoughts I had on this award came last week when I was talking to, of all people, Stephon Marbury. I was up in Boston working on a story for the next issue of SLAM, and before I drove back to NYC, I managed to meet up with Steph for dinner in Waltham, where the Celts’ practice facility is located. We were talking about all kind of stuff, off the record kinds of stuff, but at one point I asked him who he thought was the best player in the NBA, LeBron or Kobe.

“Come on man, are you serious?” Steph said.

I told him not only that I was indeed serious, but that I also suspected the best player in the NBA this year was LeBron James.

“I think Kobe’s the best player on this planet, forget the NBA.” Steph said. “Think about this: Which player do you want to take the last shot?”

I told Steph that for me it depended on a lot of variables. How much time was left? Was there a foul to give? What team was I playing against? Every time I came up with a variable, Steph sighed and rolled his eyes. “Come on, man, which player do you want to take the last shot?” Steph was relentless, as he kept badgering me for an answer (so much so that I told him I felt like a guest on “Stars on Stars”).

Eventually, while driving home that night, I came to this understanding: If there was a play at the end of the game — say there were 5 seconds left on the clock — and I needed someone to take that final shot, I’d probably want Kobe to take that shot. He’s the best offensive player in the game today. I have no problem acknowledging that and accepting that.

The thing is, for the other 47 minutes and 55 seconds of the game, I’d want LeBron James to be my guy. I’d want him to grab rebounds, dunk on people in traffic, block shots, lead fastbreaks, cut up with guys on the sideline, throw powder into the air, drive to the basket, go to the line…basically, I’d want LeBron out there doing what he’s done all season long.

You know, all those things that have made LeBron James, at least in my mind, the most valuable player in the NBA.

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  • Superman Osman

    Worth the wait Lang. Excellent choices.

  • http://lastknickstanding.blogspot.com Bryan

    Good stuff I can’t argue with any of the choices.

  • http://canadianballer.blogspot.com/ karma

    great post…finally appreciate the Kobe love.

    Agree with all your picks actually (I’m a Kobe fan, but the LBJ pick was a no-brainer)…sucks that CP3 wont make it to the 1st team selection.

    Great season this was.

    On a side note, who do y’all think had the best individual performance of the season? LBJ’s near trip-dub at MSG or Kobe’s 61? Is there any other performance I need to mention?

  • Superman Osman

    karma, how about the 50+ showdown between DWade and Bron? DWade’s near month of stellar performances?

  • thesubwayconnection

    I think I’d vote similarly on all those, except MIP. I’m a big Harris fan (and was in Dallas) – but his jumpshot’s gotten a lot better this year. Granger’s transformation into a scorer has to do with his shooting as well, but I think that Durant has transcended both of them, not only with individual stats, but OKC improved it’s win total and were more competitive.

  • http://slamonline.com Holly MacKenzie

    I have expected George Karl to get a lot more love than he has in everyone’s COTY categories.
    The first/second team guard situation is insane. I wish you could just vote top five players regardless of position. Just shows how many amazing guards there are. You can’t knock Kobe or Dwyane of course, but Chris Paul as second team? Yikes, we’re lucky to watch these guys play basketball together.
    Loved the argument for Granger, I remember earlier this season looking at the scoring averages and thinking, WHAT is he doing up here? He had no business being beside Kobe and Bron and yet, there he was, killing it night after night after night. It’s been fun watching Granger develop into an All-Star.

  • http://slamonline.com Holly MacKenzie

    And that would be, had expected…. not have. Apparently I can’t speak today.

  • http://hibachi20.blogspot.com Moose

    I like this ballot. But, I believe that Wade should’ve made it in there over Kobe . . . and I was a little disappointed that Rondo didn’t get any love for the MIP. I thought that you repped SLAM well with this ballot, Lang.

  • Coach Master

    Lang, you’re wrong on Lurch Lopez. Who had 10 more double-doubles than Lurch while playing considerably less minutes per game? That’s right, K-Love.

  • http://hibachi20.blogspot.com Moose

    Coach Master is Ryan Jones in disguise.

  • http://www.http://courtsidebasketball.blogspot.com/ stu

    all great picks except the MVP, i’m with steph on that :)
    what ever happened to that stephon guy anyways?

  • Mike H

    Props to you for putting B-Roy on the 2nd team. I doubt that he’ll ever make 1st team as long as Kobe and D-Wade are in the league but he definitely deserved 2nd team this year.

  • Mike

    the only thing I can argue with is that Duncan imo should be second team to Dirk
    he’s been injured all season and I don’t think he had an all NBA first team for this season
    if it was all time, he’d be on the first team for sure though

  • AP

    I am really interested in knowing where you and Steph ate @ in Waltham?! def not a lot of options

  • Coach Master

    Should add a category: Best trade of during 2008-09 season? Answer: Billups

  • Coach Master

    Moose, Coach Master is Zod. Kneel.

  • http://hibachi20.blogspot.com Moose

    Lang, next time you’re in Beantown just hit me up, I’d love to eat with you and Steph. :-)

  • Coach Master

    Moose, do agree on Wade BTW

  • Superman Osman

    Count me in on the Wade finishing second.

  • http://hibachi20.blogspot.com Moose

    Thanks, Coach Master. My main arguments? First of all, Wade has better numbers almost everywhere this year. My other one, the Lakers would be way better than the Heat minus these two guys . . . but that argument takes a lot to support. What I mean for the last one is on mere talent and experience alone. But I don’t need to convince you.

  • http://fashionsensei.files.wordpress.com/2008/02/jackie-moon.jpg Jackie Moon

    I pictured that conversation between Lang and Steph happening at the bus stop.

  • http://www.twitter.com/TheDiesel Anton

    6th man of the year = Quicken Loans Arena
    MIP = The Birdman

  • vmcb

    All-NBA First Team was definitely a hard choice. You gotta include Kobe and Wade, but how do you leave off Paul? Good list, though.

  • adbphilly

    Good job Lang. Even tho LBJ is a beast, I like Wade for MVP. In my opinion. Yo moose did you get an email from Lang about the College shirt giveaway from last week? I’m so pumped for my Nova. Even though they lost.

  • http://hibachi20.blogspot.com Moose

    No, I haven’t, adbphilly. I’m pumped too. Congrats on winning! I’m not disappointed at the lack of an email at the moment, I can see that Lang has much more important things on his plate (like this) than emailing us; I’m just honored that he chose us to win the shirts. Sorry about your Villanova.

  • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RBQEmmgDl9I Boing Dynasty

    Bosh over Durant for 3rd team F. Cause, you know, hes actually a F.

  • Krishan

    The lack of birdman love is baffling

  • Teddy-the-Bear

    LeBron MVP, of course. But Kobe is still the BEST player in the league.
    Also, Yao is the best OFFENSIVE center in the NBA, hands down. Dwight is the best DEFENSIVE center in the NBA, hands down.
    There we go.

  • Teddy-the-Bear

    Starbury has a point there.

  • Krishan

    Granger has always been a scorer. So has harris and durant. Their improvement on offense IS surprising, but isn’t wholly unexpected. Andersen on the other hand played only 5 games last season and came back and helped us completely forget camby was a nugget. Not only did he came out of left field, he came out of left field from the OTHER park. Brrrrdman.

  • riggs

    i still have no idea why people are picking brown for COtY, he gives bron the ball and runs with it, has he drawn up any plays to counter attack a given situation? anything coming out of a timeout?

  • adbphilly

    Agreed Moose. Thanks for the response. Yeah Lang’s been doing good work, especially now that the playoffs are gonna start heating up. Hopefully it’ll be as exciting as the March Madness tourney. Also, sorry about ur Uconn Moose. Ill have to switch Nova up with a RUN WITH US shirt to rock around town. GO SIXERS

  • Krishan

    No JR Smith for sixth man consideration? No Billups even for the All-NBA third team? Why do you hate the Nuggets so much, Whitaker?

  • http://www.slamonline.com Lang Whitaker

    really quickly…didnt vote for Birdman because hes not a young up and coming player, as the rules stipulate.

  • http://hibachi20.blogspot.com/ Moose

    It’s fine about Connecticut, adbphilly. Best of luck to the Sixers. And Krishan, I don’t want to answer for Lang, but I’ll give you my reasons why not: J.R. Smith isn’t consistent enough, especially compared to the other guys who got consideration, and did Billups honestly match up with Johnson and Parker this year? But I definitely see where you’re coming from.

  • http://where-basketball-b-longs.blogspot.com/ B. Long

    I must be a mind reader because last week I said the person Lang was talking to was it Steph.

  • AlbertBarr

    I remember you saying it B.

  • WhaHuh

    TONY PARKER AVERAGED 22 POINTS WITH A 50% fg% AS A GUARD!!! I’m wondering why no one else seems to have noticed this. Good look on the All NBA team selection. You cheated to keep Kobe all 1st team (PG/SG) I wouldnt be surprised if he is pushed to 2nd team.

  • AlbertBarr

    @WhaHuh…are you serious…you WOULDN’T be surprised if Kobe got bumped to 2nd team. Ridiculous.

  • WhaHuh

    @AlbertBarr because Wade has been a better SG this season in all statistical categories (except wins) and a better defensive player. Chris Paul is the best PG in the league. I think Kobe>CP3 but I have always assumed (wrongly) that one of the guards has to be a PG. We will wait and see if more Ballot voters read the rules the same way as lang.

  • http://idunkonthem.blogspot.com albie1kenobi

    Not a Kobe fan, but there’s absolutely no fxuking way the MVP runner up is on the 2nd team. That’s like battier being 2nd or 3rd in DPOY last year but didn’t male all defense 1st team

  • http://aol.com truf

    Amazing! Thanks, Lang. This is my favorite post of yours in the recent past. Matter of fact, with your recent sporadic posting I started to feel you pulling a Scoop and maybe bouncing to ESPN on us. I hope not. good looks, again.

  • http://www.shawn-kemps-offspring.blogspot.com Eboy

    I’m glad Lang made the right choice for MVP….that is all.

  • http://birdmonster.blogspot.com tenorca

    Well done Lang. All my quibbles are small (woulda switched O.J. and Lopez the Greater; would’ve had CP3 at the 2nd MVP spot) but you did a stellar job. I would have voted for Ronny Turiaf. FOR EVERYTHING.
    Now, we just on our hands and wait for Lakers v. Cavs. I got Cavs in 6 but wouldn’t be surprised to see Lakers in 6 either.

  • http://birdmonster.blogspot.com tenorca

    @ Truf: S.A.S. is gone from ESPN. Do I smell a comeback? Or should I not call it a comeback?

  • http://slamonline.com Ben Osborne

    Great stuff, Lang. I was glad to play a small role in this ballot. BTW, am I the only person on here who has never been in a Kia nor knows what one looks like?

  • http://www.lkz.ch Darksaber

    caution: broken record here, but why is Timmy a first team choice this season? The man started getting the O’Neal “rest your knees on back to backs” treatment from February on and has been solid but also less productive. Meanwhile the 7 foot PG has one of his best seasons under yet another coach with a new system, his No. 2 guy hurt for huge chunks of the season, and has the longest streak of 20+ scoring games in the league while getting Dallas to 50 wins. And yet Tim, who in the classical PF sense is a beast but scores less, rebounds better and plays passable defense (due to his weak knees) this season gets your vote? Really Lang?

  • http://www.lkz.ch Darksaber

    plus, Tony Longoria is the spurs main man this season, without a doubt. Started the season en fuego, got hurt, came right back at a blistering pace. GREAT season for him. Mason had good games. Findog has been superclutch, Timmy hasn’t really taken over many games like Dirk did numerous times this season. Well at least you gave JET love.

  • http://slamonline.com Lang Whitaker

    @Darksaber: Timmy’s basically averaging 19, 11 and 2 blocks per game, he played in 75 games and his team won the toughest conference in the NBA. That’s good enough for me.

  • http://slamonline.com Lang Whitaker

    @truf: I’m too busy with SLAM to go anywhere else. The sporadic posting sucks, I know, but I’m hoping to get at it hard once the Playoffs start…

  • Teddy-the-Bear

    @ tenorca: Don’t call it a comeback, Scoop’s been here for years! Rockin’ his peers, puttin’ suckas in fear!

  • http://www.broy7.com/roy/index nate the great

    mhmm good job.

  • Teddy-the-Bear

    Lang, pretty good list, but why is LeBron James second in Defensive Player of the Year? Kobe is far better at the defensive end… I’m not saying he should be top 3, either. So… ?

  • http://www.stonesthrow.com/ Michael NZ

    Again, Defensive player should be renamed ‘Defensive Stats of the Year’. Its screwed up.

    Also, giving MIP to a second year guy (not that you did Lang) is stupid. OF COURSE A SECOND YEAR PLAYER IS GOING TO IMPROVE – well, most of the time anyway. Skeets actually bangs on about this all the time. And I agree.

  • http://www.lkz.ch Darksaber

    Ahhh Lang, you are such a Spurs lover. Get outta here.

  • JamesPH

    permutations Lang? really? =)

  • Teddy-the-Bear

    If both Ron Artest and Shane Battier don’t make All-NBA First Defensive Team, that’s gon’ be some bullsh@rt.
    But they will, right?

  • Teddy-the-Bear

    In other words, tenorca: I bet Scoop’s probably hiding out with SLAM all along, just under an alias.

  • g

    lebron over wade in defensive player of the year???? r u serious wade averages 1.3 blocks per game lebron averages 1.1 …..wade averages 2.2 steals per game lebron 1.7 and not to mention wade is the only guard to be in the top 20 in blocks

  • Bruno Fontes

    C´mon Lang…
    No MIP mention to Nenê ?
    He improved a LOT from last year…
    The guy had cancer on his balls…
    Now he´s playing better than ever!
    Show him some love!

    Also no Nuggets on the All NBA teams?
    Wassup with KD? Carmelo is better than him and had similar numbers playing on a better team!

    Regards,

  • http://aol.com truf

    Good to hear, Lang! Looking forward.

  • Blinguo

    Kobe was on “Stars on Stars” and Stephon likes the guy simply over being in the same draft year class. Like Garnett in the back page article of SLAM for an ASG reflection interview last year(two?), always going to go with Vince Carter for a dunk contest, same draft year-sticking together.

  • Blinguo

    Also, although no Jesse Dunn, SLAM held it down by Lang’s use of “nebulous” instead of simply vague. Lets see the alphabet soup writers’ articles use that word or an equivalent (or even have them mention how vague the rules are, whilst they go on for lengths about their version of the rules).

  • http://slamonline.com/online/category/blogs/fear/ Fred34

    Good stuff – but no honorable mention for K-Love?

  • http://myspace.com/2grownup2beshownup Jack

    Good picks, but god you must hate the Nuggets. No Melo or Chauncey on an All-NBA team (not even third? Paul Pierce and KD??????), no mention for Nene in MIP, no J.R Smith for 6th man, and no GK for COY. Sorry, Chauncey was better this year than Tony Parker, same for Melo and Paul Pierce. Everything else was good though. Well done Lang, honestly. They were good picks, I just though you would at least give them some recognition, especially Smith and Nene.

  • http://www.alllooksame.com Tarzan Cooper

    and I thought he really reinvented the weakside blocked shot..—GET THE FUNK OUTTA HERE WITH THIS STEAMING PILE!!

  • kingjer

    aww u serious lang.. u a denver hater or what!

  • http://www.alllooksame.com Tarzan Cooper

    and birdman/dwade is 2/3 or 3/2 dpoy

  • http://myspace.com/2grownup2beshownup Jack

    I’m honestly baffled at the lack of love for the Nuggets. They finished 2nd in the *&$@ing western conference goddammit? You know that guy Melo, I’m pretty sure he had a better season that Kevin Durant, and on a better team… Nene should have gotten your 3rd place vote for MIP, the dude had cancer on his balls man come on… I’m baffled at this. The media is driving me insane with all it’s ignorance on the Nuggets’ part. Why aren’t they mentioned among contenders even though they are the 2nd seed? I’m. Stunned… No other way to put it.

  • http://myspace.com/2grownup2beshownup Jack

    Yeah, not to mention Birdman nearly lead the league in blocking with 20 mins a game.

  • http://www.lkz.ch Darksaber

    Bron is more DPOY than the shorter Wade who has better D-Stats, in Lang’s eyes? Puff puff pass, Lango.

  • Lz – Cphfinest3

    Liked most of your picks Lang, mos def right MVP you choose. My only regret is about your NBA 1st team. Considering “Please vote for the player at the position that he plays regularly. You can vote for five players on each of the three All-NBA teams. No ties may be awarded.” either Kobe or Wade should have been off the first team, making room for Chris Paul. Since Wade’s had a better year than Kobe, Kobe imo should be on the second team, moving Brandon down (because of him being a SG as well) and TP up. Thus making Joe J. lose out being replaced by Deron. Since the NBA ask you to vote for position, you should have done just that. I agree that Kobe is better than Chris Paul, but c’mon a optimal basketballteam goes PG-SG-SF-PF-C, and that’s the way the NBA 1st team should line up as well and since neither Wade or Bryant is a PG, one of them have to lose out. If the NBA didn’t have that criteria (‘Please vote for the player at the position that he plays regularly.’) I would have agreed with you, but since they do I believe you made a major bummer ignoring the criteria. A part from that, very nice article and good arguments for your picks.

  • madamerica

    Lang, I like basketball a lot, and although I respect your Duncan choice, I don’t agree with it. He’s not even the best player on his team any more. Dirk was better this season. I guess all this will be settled in the playoffs. If the Spurs dispatch the Mavs without Manu, I won’t ever argue for Dirk over Duncan again.

  • Slobodan Chutzpah

    ” I watch games all season. I do research. I read as many opinions on the awards as I can find. And then I think on it for a few days, going over all the possibilities and permutations in my head.” And then you go on and make all consensus choices. This why the endless, season-long speculation about the MVP award, for instance, is so utterly pointless and boring. Everyone will just vote for the consensus guy anyway.

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  • http://slamonline.com Lang Whitaker

    @Slobodan: I hear you, but I’m not going to vote for players who aren’t deserving just to be “controversial.”

  • http://slamonline.com Lang Whitaker

    @Lz: But the NBA didn’t ask me to do that — they asked for two Guards and that’s all. I chose the two best guards in the NBA this season.

  • http://slamonline.com Lang Whitaker

    @Jack and @Bruno: No, I didn’t consider Nene because, AS I WROTE IN THE POST, the Most Improved Player Award is supposed to go to “an up-and-coming player who has made a dramatic improvement from the previous season or seasons. It is not intended to be given to a player who has made a ‘comeback.’”

  • Fred

    I’m a agree with Jack, no love for the 2nd seat in the loaded West!
    David Aldridge on NBA.com put Melo on the 2nd All-NBA team and Billup on the 3rd. Better choice than you Lang! Overall his 1-2-3 All-NBA Team are well more realistic than yours. By the way he choose JR for most improve player too!

  • JQ

    Lang, you summed it up perfectly, I’d want Kobe for that last shot too, but that’s it, that’s the only thing he has over Bron…Bron for the rest of the game..

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  • truthteller

    What about All NBA Defensive Team?

  • http://slamonline.com Lang Whitaker

    David Aldridge definitely doesn’t know what he’s talking about. :)

  • Blinguo

    Well he says what “his sources” tell him. Better than Jason Whitlock saying what his “Big Sexy” alter ego tells him. That sucka.

  • http://sfdjilf.com Jukai

    Lang: who votes all-defensive and all-rookie?

  • http://ittakesanationofmillionstoholdthissac.blogspot.com ciolkstar

    Saying Tim plays “passable” defense is hilariously incorrect. If Tim’s D is passable than Dirks is clearly an “F”.
    If the Spurs had Dirk instead they’d be struggling to stay in the 7th or 8th seed. Tim has slowed a bit RECENTLY, but through about 3/4 of the season he was having one of his best statistical years and he CARRIED a Spurs team that was missing Gino and Tony.

  • Blinguo

    But DA is dope for saying this part:
    ——————–
    DUDES WHO’VE HAD GREAT SEASONS THAT FEW WILL RECOGNIZE
    Guards: Jose Calderon, Toronto, Deron Williams, Utah
    Forwards: Danny Granger, Indiana, Antwan Jamison, Washington
    Center: Joel Pryzbilla, Portland.
    ——————–
    Ghostface, dude, Ghostface. Recognize.

  • http://ittakesanationofmillionstoholdthissac.blogspot.com ciolkstar

    Is there a “comeback player of the year” award? Birdman and Nene would both be great candidates for that.
    I’m happy Granger is getting some respect as MIP. He battled through injuries all season, has been a clutch performer and generally made it impossible to ignore his talents any longer.
    My only other suggestion would be JR in the mix as a 6th man, but Jet had that one on lock anyway.
    Overall, VERY solid list.

  • http://sfdjilf.com Jukai

    besides defensive player of the year (Chris Paul and Lebron… sigh..) great list!

  • http://ittakesanationofmillionstoholdthissac.blogspot.com ciolkstar

    Oh, and Kobe’s D is so overrated its not even funny. Its just because every once in a while he’ll get low in an exagerrated defensive stance and pressure the hell out of the ball, usually reaching in/fouling, and generally just make a big scene over how “hard” he’s defending someone. But he really doesn’t belong in the convo.

  • http://sfdjilf.com Jukai

    Ciolkstar: I think you’re downgrading Kobe’s D a little bit too much. Dude is a great one-on-one defender, players who try to go straight to the basket with quickness or skill usually are shut down, ask JR Smith. He’s got quick hands (probably could play the passing lane a bit better) and from the highlights he gets blocking shots, could easily raise that stat if he didn’t have fouls to worry about.
    I think the one HUGE flaw on Kobe as a defender is that he can’t guard anyone going around screens. Really, he can’t. He either shoves the screener with his elbows or goes around the guy causing mismatch havok. This is why he had to be taken off Ray Allen in the finals, this is why Paul Pierce obliterated him, they had Pierce running pick and rolls at the end.
    But c’mon, don’t downplay the dude THAT much. Kobe was out of position guarding Pierce anyway.

  • http://ittakesanationofmillionstoholdthissac.blogspot.com ciolkstar

    …and Rondo could have been in the discusiion for MIP, but he wasn’t as consistent as Granger. Birdman should probably be in the DPOY mix, as well. When that guy is in the game, its a gurantee that he’s blocking somebody’s shot.

  • http://ittakesanationofmillionstoholdthissac.blogspot.com ciolkstar

    Screen and rolls are like 75% of the offense most good team in the league run, so that’s not exactly a good place to be weak. I just don’t think Kobe is that great of a defender, maybe I’m blided my dislike for the guy. He competes, yes, and his stl/blk numbers aren’t bad, but I just feel like he’s severely overrated as a defender. He’s great in flashes, especially against guys he can fluster with intense pressure and constant reach ins(JR..ahem) But I just don’t think he’s even close to Wade or Bron for that matter on agame to game, possesion to possesion basis.

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  • http://sfdjilf.com Jukai

    Ciolkstar: You’re right, it’s NOT a good place to be weak at. It’s what really hurt them against Boston because slower, older people like Fisher had to chase down Ray Allen. I meant that Kobe has more trouble with OFF THE BALL screens than actual pick and rolls, but, as Pierce proved, Kobe can get too antsy, apply too much pressure, then flips out when he realizes he’s running into the screener.
    That being said, he’s got huge hands, always quick and scrappy, and when he does apply pressure, that dude is locked.
    He deserves second-team all-defensive mention

  • http://sfdjilf.com Jukai

    didn’t mean huge hands, meant long arms. Kobe has rather small hands.

  • http://neworleansbasketball.blogspot.com Caleb

    “obviously I couldn’t bump Kobe or Wade for CP3.”

    Obviously? I think you could definitely bump Kobe.

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  • http://neworleansbasketball.blogspot.com Caleb

    Also, Kevin Love needs some ROY love…
    Oh and regards to Devin Harris – the thing people haven’t really mentioned is how adept he’s become at getting to the line. From 5.4 FTA per 36 min last year to 8.7 FTA per 36 min this year. That’s a pretty impressive jump.

  • http://slamonline.com Lang Whitaker

    @Caleb: OK, obviously, if you’re an NBA fan and you’re able to recognize what makes some players better than other, I SHOULDN’T bump Kobe or Wade for CP3.

  • http://neworleansbasketball.blogspot.com Caleb

    Yes, I am an NBA and am able to recognize what makes some players better than others… and that’s exactly why I think putting CP3 over Kobe would be a perfectly accetable idea. Granted, I have no problem with your choice… only the idea that there’s no arguing it.

  • http://neworleansbasketball.blogspot.com Caleb

    Sorry for the typos.

  • http://neworleansbasketball.blogspot.com Caleb

    To elaborate… it bugs me when people express opinions and then have to add the caveat “but if you disagree, then you don’t know X or you don’t like X.” It’s seems like a way to prevent any discussion… because you’re attacking anyone who might disagree with you from the outset and discouraging them from saying so. Granted, I do realize that the statement is probably supposed to be hyperbolic and sort of jokey, but still… my point stands. It would be no different than me saying, “Chris Paul is better than Kobe as all the statistical metrics in the world cleary show, and if you disagree then you are stupid.” And I wouldn’t say that, now would I?

  • underdog

    It’s strange, but this year every award seems to be a no brainer, expect the MIP one. Lang, I really couldn’t argue any of your choices; the only thing I missed is mentioning Thad Young in the MIP section.

  • tealish

    I agree with Caleb. Kobe is still the best player in the League today, but his play on the court did not warrant a 1st-team selection over Chris Paul. A guy who CAN do it, but doesn’t need to and therefore DOESN’T do so, cannot be graded as if he performed in that way.
    I have no beef with putting Kob over CP3 for MVP because of team success, but check out what they’ve done this year:
    CP 23/11/5.5/3 on over 50FG%
    KB 27/5/5/1.5 on 47fg%
    -
    One of these guys played a historic season, the other played a great one giving his team what it needed. Kobe=Elite of the elite = All-NBA 1st team is an auto reflex, I know, but you’ve got to consider what they actually did. At the very least, First team consideration for Chris Paul should not be as outrageous as you say.

  • tealish

    And by the way when I say “doesn’t do so”, I am obviously referring to outplaying CP3′s historic season. Not saying Kobe did not bring it this season. I’m just saying he didn’t unleash everything he’s got, which I think Paul came close to.

  • http://sfdjilf.com Jukai

    FINALLY! TEALISH SAID IT!
    Just because we know he “CAN” do it doesn’t mean that he “SHOULD” get it when his PERFORMANCE didn’t warrant it. Hense why, even though the triangle may be limited Kobe offensively, Lebron still deserves the MVP. And maybe Chris Paul deserves all-first team consideration, although being the best-by-leaps-and-bounds superior player on a 65 win team is hard to argue with.

  • jeremy

    really hope CP3 makes the 1st team! u just can’t put into words how amazing he was this season! i mean, kobe already got the MVP that paul undoubtedly also deserved. but u have to notice that after a year, CP even cranked it up another notch. u gotta give him props man! 23pts, 11asts, 6rebs, 3stls, 50%fg for a man barely 6 feet is downright insane.

    and besides, its much better if u include a real point guard in all-nba teams. even though kobe, wade, and lebron can control and bring the ball up.

  • http://myspace.com/2grownup2beshownup Jack

    But Nene is up and coming. He’s just kind of old for the award. lol

  • Flash

    wade should be next to dwight in dfensive POy! or hell he should be DPOY! with all those blocks (including game savers, when it mattered d most) and steals (2nd in d L) he had this season, for a guy his size he should not be overlooked. not to take anything away from lebron but its his team that helped him become better defensively thats why THEY are 1st in d L in def becoz they’re more cooperative which enabled lebron to get those “behind you” blocks! its a team effort..dont let lebron get all the credit, cmon do you ever see him try to block a guy face2face? hell no! he attempted it on a.i.2 but dre made him look silly, thats the reason he always only go for them coward blocks when the player doesnt see him coming. but dwade does challenge u face2face ala Zo! just ask brook lopez he felt it twice! thats why i think wade’s better defensively as an individual than lebron because he’s always up for the challenge given his size. DPOY should be argued only with either howard or wade!

  • Flash

    if dwade doesnt make all-defensive 1st team this year and LBJ does, im gonna be f***ing convinced that the NBA is really helping lebron to be its best ever!

  • http://www.myspace.com/mcnarrative Kieran

    on what planet does Dirk dribble like a point guard????

  • Mick

    Criteria be damned (“Please… ” does not indicate a firm criteria anyway),

    It would make more sense to bump Duncan to 2nd team for Paul than Kobe.

    Paul-Wade-Bryant-James-Howard is both a viable lineup (w/ Wade & Bryant at the wings and James & Howard on the inside) and a lineup that happens to include the top five MVP candidates.

  • Mick

    Kobe’s not only the guy you should want taking the final shot, but he’s the guy you should want GUARDING the final shot from almost any perimeter player 6’3″ to 6’9″.

    I agree with the post that says the Defensive Player of the Year award should be changed to the Defensive Stats of the Year award. Bryant doesn’t gamble to fill the defensive stat lines, but when he locks in he LOCKS IN, and he’s going to stick to his man like glue, and neither Lebron or D-Wade can match him in those situations.

  • badnewzb8ller

    how was kobe all nba 1st team D and not top 5 in MVP D voting

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