Links: SLAM The Vote

by April 02, 2008

by Lang Whitaker

Yesterday, the NBA gave me, you and SLAM a nice little pat on the back:

I was asked to vote in the NBA’s postseason awards balloting.

That’s right kiddos, for the first time in SLAM history, our vote actually counts.

I’ve wanted a vote forever, and I used to publicly stomp and stammer about it here on The Links. But I had to bide my time and try to earn some respect, both for myself and for SLAM. (Yes, there are still, sadly, writers out there who don’t think that SLAM is relevant. But then, most of them work at newspapers, many of which are becoming irrelevant at light speed.) But I think we — and when I say “we” there, I mean the entire SLAM and SLAMonline community, including all of our amazing writers and devoted commenters and o.g. Linkstigators — all got a little nod of respect yesterday. Hey, I’ve been writing about the NBA pretty much daily for the last 7 years, on the web and in print, but SLAM’s been the basketball bible for almost 15 years now. This vote comes from the hard work of a ton of people, way too many to mention here.

So, all that said, this vote is mine, MINE!! And I’m not open to suggestions. I’ve put in the work, I’m watching at least two or three games every night, and I’m going to decide who I’m voting for. Khalid’s already started lobbying me, like I’m some sort of SLAM superdelegate, but I’m going to change my cell phone number and drop off the radar until the ballot is due.

Who am I going to vote for? Good question. There’s actually a bunch of awards, from MVP to Defensive Player of the Year to All-NBA to Rookie of the Year to Coach of the Year to Most Improved. And there’s not a lot of guidance on the ballot, just asking for your choices. And I need to settle on how to choose an MVP. David Dupree listed his criteria yesterday, and I like his thought process a lot. Over at ESPN, my main man Chris Broussard was on TV recently talking about how he takes into account a player’s body of work, which I don’t get because I feel like we’re being asked to judge their value this season. And I’m already getting emails from various teams lobbying their guys for the different awards.

Whatever I decide to do, I’ll be sure to write about it here when the winners are announced. I’ve got two weeks to figure all this out. The ballot is due the day after the season ends, and I’m going to use as much time as I can and see how the season shakes out. As much as we joke around about stuff here, I’m taking this seriously. We got in the door, now we need to make sure we don’t get kicked back out.

And hopefully the David Stern Robot won’t mind when I cast my vote for Stephon Marbury for MVP.

Kidding! You guys know me. I’m totally voting for Kobe. Or not.

• Hey, the Knicks have reached an agreement with Donnie Walsh! And this time there’s actually someone reporting it for ESPN — Chris “The Machine” Sheridan, so there’s credibility to the report. People are already trying to figure out who Walsh will hire as a GM to come in and take care of all the nuts and bolts of things, with names like Billy King and Mark Warkentien being bandied about. Here’s another name, of a guy who worked under Walsh for a long time and who’s contract runs out this summer: Atlanta Hawks GM Billy Knight. Just saying.

• And speaking of the Knicks, who knew Gus Johnson has such a lovely falsetto? Or knew ABBA lyrics?

• My favorite moment of last night’s Nuggets/Suns game was in the fourth when Shaq and Carmelo got tangled up and Shaq flipped Carmelo over his back and onto the floor as easily as if he was shrugging a towel off his shoulders. I was watching it live and had to rewind a few times to figure it out. Somehow a foul wasn’t called, even though Carmelo looked like he dislocated his shoulder. I emailed Melo last night and told him he’s lucky his arm’s still attached.

Tonight we get Dallas and Golden State again, for what feels like the ninth time in the last two weeks. And you better believe I’ll be watching.

• Finally, what’s going on here?