Friday, April 9th, 2010 at 1:19 pm  |  49 responses

Links: Our Ballot

Decision 2010!

by Lang Whitaker

Last week I got an email from the NBA asking me to vote in the official NBA postseason awards balloting. This is my third year voting in these awards, and I always take it seriously. I’ve always been transparent in my voting, telling you guys whom I voted for and why I voted for those guys. It’s always bothered me when you hear some random player got like one vote for Defensive Player of the Year, and the vote came from a guy who works for that team. I’ve always taken the voting for these awards as seriously as I can. I am honored that the NBA thinks highly enough of me to value my vote, and I’m going to stand behind my vote.

That said, I have until later next week to actually file my vote, and I’m going to take a few days to meditate on this. Which is why I want your opinions. As much basketball as I watch, I don’t see everything. Also, I’m from SLAM, and you guys — our readers — are a huge part of SLAM. Always have been, always will be. So I’ll take your opinions into consideration. Make a reasoned, well thought-out case, and I’m willing to think about it.

As always, I’ll listen to your arguments, but the final say is mine. It’s my name on the ballot, for better or for worse.

Here are the categories I’m supposed to vote on. And all players I mention will be mentioned in alphabetical order, just so there’s no favoritism going on.

Rookie Of The Year
NAMES: Steph Curry, Tyreke Evans, Brandon Jennings.
THOUGHTS: These three guys have to be the top three candidates. This one could get controversial — the other day back in the office I mentioned my early thoughts on how I wanted to vote in this category, and everyone got all worked up about it. Curry’s been the most effective scorer (and is second in the NBA in steals), Evans the leader of his team, and Jennings is the only one going to the Playoffs. Yet you could argue Jennings doesn’t play in crunch time and has a poor FG percentage, Evans is successful only because he dominates the ball, and Curry is just a product of playing time and their system.

Coach Of The Year
NAMES: Rick Adelman, Scott Brooks, Larry Brown, Alvin Gentry, Lionel Hollins, Nate McMillan, Scott Skiles, Jerry Sloan.
THOUGHTS: And I didn’t even mention Mike Brown, who has the best record in the NBA (and the best player in the NBA).

Defensive Player Of The Year
NAMES: Dwight Howard, Rajon Rondo, Josh Smith, Gerald Wallace
THOUGHTS: I think it’s Dwight’s award, but Rondo makes a good case as sort of a protest candidate as a guy who is dominant defensively on the ground. Also interesting that there’s very little talk about Ron Artest or Shane Battier, two perennial candidates in this category.

All-NBA Team (three teams)
NAMES: Too many to list here
THOUGHTS: With three teams to figure out, there’s a lot of think on. Worth noting is that the ballot only asks for two guards, two forwards and a center on each team. NOT A POINT GUARD AND A SHOOTING GUARD, ETC. For purposes of filing players within positions, I use NBA.com and see where they have a player listed (for instance, they say Kevin Durant is a Forward, so you have to put him at Forward and can’t slot him as a Guard.) But there’s a lot to think on. For instance, if Dwight Howard is the first team center, and maybe Amare Stoudemire is second team, who is third team center? (And it can’t be Tim Duncan, because even though he plays center, he’s listed as a Forward.)

Sixth Man
NAMES: Jamal Crawford, Manu Ginobili, Lamar Odom, Jason Terry, Anderson Varejao
THOUGHTS: Jamal’s got this in a runaway. Worth noting: Ginobili’s started almost one-fourth of San Antonio’s games, and Lamar’s started about one-third of L.A.’s games.

NAMES: LeBron James, Kobe Bryant, Kevin Durant, Dwight Howard, Dwyane Wade.
THOUGHTS: Oh, did I put LeBron first even though alphabetically he should be listed later? Whoops! My bad!

Most Improved Player
NAMES: Corey Brewer, Aaron Brooks, Channing Frye, Marc Gasol, George Hill.
I know Brooks is much improved, averaging 19.7 ppg up from 11 ppg, but it’s hard for me to consider those stats from a point guard who averages 16 shots and 5 assists per game. And another thought: His numbers might not be all that different from last season, but I think you can make a pretty good case for Josh Smith having made as much improvement as anyone else.

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  • http://digitalthread.com AlbertBarr

    All I know is this…Tyreke Evans had a monster game last night…If he does manage to secure a 20-5-5 average, I think it would be downright wrong to say he isn’t rookie of the year. I also think he is the best of the three obvious candidates in creating for himself. And even though teams are now sometimes triple teaming him as he drives the the hoop, he has still maintained good productivity and helped win a few games. Curry and Jennings are phenomenal as well but I liked what kobe said “Tyreke is a grown ass man.” He is going to wear teams out.

  • DOOM

    R.O.Y. I think goes to Reke. Only fourth rook to go 20-5-5. That’s pretty amazing. C.O.Y. I think goes to Nate McMillan, with all the injuries the blazers have had and they are sixth in the west? Very impressive. D.P.O.Y. is Rondo I think, 6th man Crawford, and the most improved player should be Marc Gasol, he has def stepped his game up this year and helped the Griz threaten for a playoff spot. No one thought they’d do that this year and he was a major reason why

  • barnabusb

    Marc Gasol for MIP. He’s a force. His numbers haven’t improved a huge amount from last year, but he’s playing like a BMF.

  • sw

    I don’t think Rondo should be considered for dpoy. He gets burned by guards all the time and then attempts to steal the ball after they run past him. This creates problems for the defensive rotations and KG’s legs don’t get him places as quick as they used to.

  • Brian

    For R.O.Y., Steph Curry should get the hardware. Yes, Tyreke Evans is gonna be the 4th rook to average 20-5-5 behind Big O, MJ, and King James. BJ is going to the playoffs, but he has steadily declined since 55 pt. outburst. Curry has silenced all his doubters about his PG skills while being a constant on a struggling Warriors squad. C.O.Y. is Scott Brooks by far. We knew the Thunder were gonna be good soon and improve from last year, but this quickly. Also, their defense is incredible. Sixth Man is Crawford. Do we really have to debate about this. M.I.P. should go to Gasol because he has stepped it up on both ends of the court. Averaging a near double-double and revitalizing the Grizz. He makes the Pau trade a little more even. MVP is gonna go to LBJ, but it should go to Durant. Just like team expectations, Durant has surpassed them all at a lightning pace. He is the catalyst for this squad. Even if they did improve a bit, to improve from 23 to 50 wins is a big jump, especially when you basically have the same squad from last year.

  • Exile

    ROY: Although I love Evans…. I am leaning towards Steph Curry. Evans is a beast, but I think Curry is the better player.

    Also…. Isn’t it time we got rid of the 6th man award?

  • Tim

    Andrew Bogut should definitely get the Third Team (if not the Second Team) Center position. Dude was killing it this year. 16 & 10 with 2.5 blocks for a playoff team. I’ll take that.

  • http://www.realcavsfans.com Anton

    Coach of the Year: LeBron
    MVP: Jason Williams
    Most Improved Player: Tiger Woods
    Defensive Player of the Year: Steve Nash
    6th Man of the Year: Khloe Kardashian
    Rookie of the Year: Blake Griffin
    Community Outrach Award: Gilbert Arenas
    Most Likely to Kill Someone in the Offseason with Minimal Punishment: JR Smith
    Bodybuilder of the Year: Rashard Lewis
    No Regard for Human Life Award: Corey Brewer
    Mental Pu$$y of the Year: Dwight Howard
    WTF of the Year: Zachory Randolph
    Suicide Watch of the Year: Knickenbockers
    Inverse Swag/Performance of the Year: Brandon Jennings
    AARP Member of the Year: Kevin Garnett
    Failed Trade of the Year: Amare to Cavs
    Most Likely to have Ugliest Companion in Offseason: Dirk
    Free Agent of the Year: Wally Szcerbiak
    Undisputed H.O.R.S.E. Champion of the Year: Greg Oden

  • http://slamonline.com Mo Money Bizzes

    If I know The Links like I do, you’re gonna vote Smith for Defensive POY, Horford 3rd team center, and Crawford 6th man. Hell, I could see Woody getting coach of the year 2.

  • http://twitter.com/PDXGayBBall dma

    My ROY goes to Curry over Jennings. The league is all about numbers, and unfortunately, GSW produces numbers. Nobody thought the small ball backcourt would have worked. Coach goes to SVG just because he added THREE rotation players in VC, JWill and Barnes and didn’t miss a beat. Defensive player is Dwight of course. 6th man Jamal Crawford, congrats on playoffs finally. MVP no doubt LeBron. MIP I would prefer to give it to Brook Lopez, but from that list, I’m going with Gasol.

  • k

    I think Brooks and Hill are a case of guys being this good already but just getting more minutes this year. For me the MIP is either Bogut or Brewer.

    Brooks (Scott) seems like an obvious choice for COY, though if Houston were eliminated tomorrow instead of a week ago Adelman would seem a good choice too.

    6th should be Crawford, I might have said Landry except he’s started I believe every game since he got to Sacto.

    I’d give Jennings ROY but I really don’t even feel that strongly about him or either of the other two.

    The other ones seem obvious.

  • http://nba.com Reflex

    R.O.Y: Curry’s on fire, but only since January. It’s easy to forget that Reke’s been on fire from Game 1 to now. 20-5- night in night out, it should be his award no doubt.
    MVP: 1) Bron (*yawn) 2)KD <3 3) D.Howard
    Coach of the Year: 1) Skiles 2) Brooks 3) Nate Mc
    D.P.O.Y: D.Howard, this shouldn’t be as close, game in game out guards cut through the lane for a lay up, see Dwight and settle for a jumpshot instead. 3blks pg plus numerous more intangibles that benefit his team.
    Most Improved: It’s KD surely, went from potential
    ststar to beast

  • http://nba.com Reflex

    overnight and is still just 21. If he’s not in the ballot then Gasol or Westbrook should get it
    6th man: J Crawford, great pickup for ATL
    NBA 1ST TEAM: G: DWill G:Wade G F: Bron F: KD C: D12
    I love Kobe to the nth degree but I don’t think he’s play (save for the 1st 15-20 games where he was as good as anyone) this year merits 1st team selection, I feel Wade has been slept on a bit this year, he’s still been beastly just not getting as much love as over the last 2 seasons

  • http://nba.com Reflex

    *his play
    loads of errors in my comments, my bad

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


  • Sparty’s Law

    I really hope either Kobe or KD wins MVP instead of LeBron. LeBron is such a d*ck.

  • http://www.nba.com/suns Dacre

    MVP: LeBron James – games best player
    DPOY: Dwight Howard – CREATING statistical records
    ROY: B. Jennings – which team improved over last yr?
    6MOY: J. Crawford – doesn’t start ANY games
    c D. Howard – best centre in the league
    f L. James – will be here for the next 6 yrs
    f C. Anthony – welcome to one of the 5 best players.
    g K. Bryant – will win games with last shot
    g D. Williams – best pg label belongs here
    MIP: C. Frye – goes from NO 3pt shot to deep fryer

  • http://250aspirin.blogspot.com DJ Leon Smith

    Does Bogut not get mentioned because he’d have to be ranked ahead of Al Horford?

  • J

    Anton for post of the year!

  • http://www.teflinprague.com SAB

    ^^ yeh, but OUCH on the JR Smith comment……
    i like the thoughts so far… can’t really decide between Durant/Bogut/Gasol for MIP… Jamal to win the last ever 6th man award (cos the award is kinda pointless)… Gentry doesn’t have any love as coach of the year? I don’t think many thought Phoenix would be back this strong this year… great to see D-Will getting the love for first team…

  • Mitya

    How about David Lee for the third team? Is he listed as a Center?
    @Anton: that was some funny stuff man

  • http://joeloholic.wordpress.com Joel O’s

    @Anton: Vintage stuff.

  • http://joeloholic.wordpress.com Joel O’s

    For Coach of the Year, I think Scott Brooks has the edge over Skiles. Yes, Skiles did a tremendous job with his squad, and until Bogut went down they were a squad that many considered much more dangerous than a lower East seed. But Brooks has his Thunder RIGHT IN THE MIX with Denver, Dallas, Phoenix and Utah. Any of these four may get to the Finals, and are considered contenders. OKC, incredibly, are their equals right now.

  • http://joeloholic.wordpress.com Joel O’s

    For the record, I think Durant has inherited that “aura” that Kobe had 2-3 years ago where his offensive ability gives his team this crazy optimism where, if they can keep the score close in the 4th quarter, even against apparently superior opponents, “anything can happen” KD proved just that against Utah earlier this week. Going into the playoffs, people are still doubting the Thunder, but I think they have a good shot of being giant killers soon.

  • http://joeloholic.wordpress.com Joel O’s

    Okay, here are my two cents on the All NBA Teams. 1st team: Dwight, Bron and Durant, Kobe and DWill.
    2nd team: Duncan, Melo and Dirk, Wade and Rondo.
    3rd team: Bogut, Bosh and Amare, Nash and Joe Johnson.

  • http://joeloholic.wordpress.com Joel O’s

    What! Duncan is still a “forward”? He hasn’t played “power forward” since Robinson retired, geez.

  • TheFro

    Nate McMillan for COY. No one had to deal with more unforeseen injuries, and the Blazers are still in a position to potentially be 6th in the West.

  • Mitya

    I say COY to Scotty – McMilan still had depth and experience at his disposal, plus one Marcus Camby later on.

  • Mitya

    I meant Brooks of course. Skiles is a good choice as well, but I just love the Thunder and the West is much tougher.

  • http://www.hibachi20.blogspot.com Hursty

    I “heart” Anton’s comments.

  • http://www.hibachi20.blogspot.com Hursty

    MVP – James
    DPOY – Howard
    6th Man – Crawford
    ROY – Evans
    MIP – Brooks

    1st Team


    2nd Team

    3rd Team

  • TheKiDD2kill

    JOSH SMITH, i mean he passes like steve nash, Dunks better than lebron(Lebron does the same dunk), and blocks like dwight howard.

    If he could just learn to shoot he would be the best player in the NBA.

    Josh Smith improved alot this year, he played like an allstar……………..he deserves the nba’s most improved player award!

  • http://www.nba.com/suns Dacre

    Hey hursty, you got boozer in PF at 2nd and 3nd team. I take it you mean, Dirk in 2nd team? :)

  • Jon W.

    Steph Curry (ROY), Dwyane Wade (MVP), Kevin Durant (MIP), Jamal Crawford (Sixth Man), Dwight Howard (DPOY), Scott Brooks (COY), and Cavs as champs……

  • JD

    MVP Lebron
    ROY Tyreke Evans
    DPOY Dwight Howard
    6th man Manu Ginobili
    MIP Brooks
    COY Alvin Gentry

  • http://twitter.com/PDXGayBBall dma

    anybody that doesn’t pick jamal crawford for 6th man should be banned from the links. hell even from slam.

  • givard

    MVP: obviously Lebron, been as dominant as ever!
    MIP: i know bogut went down, but he stepped up and was probly the 2nd or 3rd best C in the league in the new year
    ROY: my heart says curry but i know its tyrekes
    6th man: Jamal got this by a mile
    DPOY: Dwight obviously
    COY: Scott Skiles

    1st team all-nba
    C: dwight
    F: Lebron
    F: Durant
    G: Kobe
    G: D-will

    2nd team all-nba
    C: amare
    F: melo
    F: Dirk
    G: Wade
    G: Nash

    3rd team all-nba
    C: bogut
    F: Boozer
    F: Bosh
    G: Rondo
    G: Roy

  • http://www.hibachi20.blogspot.com Hursty

    @Dacre, whoops! You’re right. Dirk in 2, Boozer in 3.

  • http://www.twitter.com/sveinnbirkir Old Guy

    I’ll tell you what my ballot would look like:

    ROY: I want to go with Curry, and eventually, I think he might surpass Tyreke as the best player in this draft class, but that 20-5-5 line is difficult to overlook, so I’ll give it to Tyreke.

    COY: A lot of worthy names here, but I think what Scott Brooks has managed to do with this Thunders team is mighty impressive.

    DOY: Howard. There’s not even a counter-argument to be made here.

    MIP: Gerald Wallace’s name probably deserves a mention, along with Josh Smith and Aaron Brooks, but my pick is Marc Gasol. He was something of a joke last year, but now I’m not even sure if Pau was the best Gasol traded last year.

    6th: Jamal Crawford. His pr48 scoring ave. is one of the highest in the NBA. Vinnie Johnson was like a homeless person’s Jamal Crawford.

    MVP: LeBron, I guess you could make a case for Howard or Kobe or Wade, or whomever, but you’d just be playing the devil’s advocate, right?

    All-NBA first team
    D. Wade
    K. Bryant
    L. James
    K. Durant
    D. Howard

    All-NBA second team
    S. Nash
    D. Williams
    C. Anthony
    D. Nowizki
    A. Stoudamire

    All-NBA third team
    J. Johnson
    B. Roy
    T. Duncan
    P. Gasol
    C. Bosh
    A. Bogut

    The guard spots are difficult to select, Rondo, Billups, and Kidd are all worthy of a mention, luckily Chris Paul’s injury freed up one spot.

  • barnabusb

    I think the NBA already showed they want to give awards to Tyreke during All-Star Weekend. He deserves ROY more than that Rook/Soph MVP, though.

  • mike

    I think the toughest decision is the R.O.Y. award. I discount Curry because of 25 wins and Don Nelson’s system. If I had a vote I would really want to vote for Jennings because he put up numbers when needed like the 55 and could have better numbers I think but has to play with Ridinour, Redd, Stackhouse, and Salmons. I would put Jennings one and Evans two because the other voters will like the 20, 5, and 5 for the fourth time and not the 55(!). I thought OKC’s coach was the best this year until the last couple of games.

  • http://hoopistani.blogspot.com Hoopistani

    ROY: Tyreke Evans
    Coach: Scott Brooks
    DPOY: Gerald Wallace
    6th Man: Jamal Crawford
    MVP: LeBron James
    MIP: Aaron Brooks

  • http://joeloholic.wordpress.com Joel O’s

    ROY is Jennings. His team is pretty much him, Bogut, and a bunch of shooters and rebounders. Skiles’ teams as usual play their butts off, but I think Jennings is ALREADY a consummate pure PG of a playoff squad. Evans put up great numbers, yeah, but I think we’ve been spoiled by guys like Lebron and Wade who routinely clock in those 28,7 and 7 nights so our idea of “superstar” is a guy who can put up those type of all-round numbers night in and night out. That mindset favours Evans, who probably will be putting up monstrous Wade-like numbers in a few years. But Jennings is the starting PG of a team that, before Bogut went down, many people thought would give any higher seed a heck of a fight in the first round. Numbers are one thing, and Jennings DID put up numbers, perhaps a bit too soon with the 55, making teams defend his shot more – but what matters is that Jennings adjusted and has grown leaps and bounds as a pg ever since. Remember what a PG is ultimately measured by – not his individual stats, but the W/L column. In that regard, it’s a no contest. Jennings for ROY.

  • TyMo

    Evans may be successful only because he dominates the ball, but I think that is evidence of why he should be ROY. His team put so much pressure on him from Day 1 to be their guy. They put the ball in his hands, and he’s never been overwhelmed by that responsibility. That and he’s put up huge numbers for a rookie. The wins will come in time.

  • Garett

    ROY: Tyreke

    Coach: Scott Brooks

    DPO: Dwight

    All-NBA 1:
    C Dwight
    F Durant
    F LBJ
    G Kobe
    G Dwayne

    All-NBA 2:
    C Amare
    F Bosh
    F Melo
    G Dwill
    G Nash

    All-NBA 3:
    C Bogut
    F Duncan
    F Dirk
    G Pierce
    G Rondo

    6th: Jamal

    MVP: LBJ

    MIP: Durant

  • http://dsfjklf.com Jukai

    MVP: Lebron
    DPOY: Dwight Howard
    ROY: Evans
    COY: Aaron Scott
    MIP: Aaron Brooks
    All NBA First-Team: Nash, Williams, Durant, Lebron, Howard
    All NBA Second-Team: Wade, Kobe, Anthony, Dirk, Stoudamire (even though he ain’t a center, sigh)
    All NBA Third-Team: Johnson, Roy, Bosh, Duncan, Bogut
    All-NBA Defense: Rondo, Westbrook, Artest, Josh Smith, Howard
    All-NBA Defense: Hinrich, Wade, Battier, Lebron, Bogut
    Rookie First Team: Jennings, Evans, Casspi, Gibson, Blair
    Rookie Second Team: Curry, Harden, Buddinger, Jerebko, David Anderson?

  • http://dsfjklf.com Jukai

    A few notes:
    -no, it’s not a typo I put Nash and Williams on first-team and Kobe/Wade on second…. Nash and Williams have brought their A-games all year long, Wade has only picked it up the second half and Kobe has faded. No one has a problem with putting two shooting guards there, I’m putting two points!
    -Makin’ the rookie teams like G-G-F-F-C… although I’m not sure they have to be in that category, like All-NBA… Easily add Curry in first team if I can squeeze in another guard
    -Is David Anderson really the best rookie center next to Blair? Did I really just decide between him and Jon Brockman?

  • http://dsfjklf.com Jukai

    Oh, and if Kobe makes all-team defense ANYTHING this year, it will be the biggest sham ever

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