I’m normally a pretty calm, rational guy. When it comes to NBA talk, that guy’s usually MIA.
Case in point: I was making the case that Derrick Rose of the Chicago Bulls should be the league’s most valuable player, because he had a statistical year most guards dream of, and it helped the Chicago Bulls clinch the best record in the NBA.
I made the same argument the previous two years, when LeBron James led the Cleveland Cavaliers in every significant category, and the Cavs had the league’s best record in his final two years before he signed with the Miami Heat.
My friend said James should win again — he once again posted jaw-dropping stats, so who cares if the Bulls won a few more regular season games than Miami?
“Kevin, you can’t say Rose just because his team got the top seed,” he said. “The ‘best guy on the best team’ argument has no weight because the last few top seeds didn’t win titles.”
I went for the kill. “You’re saying LeBron James deserves the MVP this year because LeBron James didn’t win a title in Cleveland?”
For what it’s worth. most voters agreed with me and Rose did win the award.
I had also long argued that Blake Griffin of the Los Angeles Clippers deserved the rookie of the year award. My friend agreed with me, and so did most of the NBA’s voting panel, which “unanimously” voted for Griffin.
I used quote marks because Marc Berman of the New York Post left his ballot blank, because he didn’t believe Griffin was a rookie.
Griffin should have been a rookie in the 2009-10 regular season, but a knee injury delayed that for a year. Berman said Griffin still got paid his rookie salary in 2009-10, and he had played in the 2009-10 preseason, so he’s not a rookie in 2010-11.
We talked on Twitter. I told him NBA awards are regular season awards, and preseason doesn’t count. He said the NBA charges the same ticket price for preseason games, so he’s going to give them equal weight. I told him All-Star Game tickets were more expensive, but that doesn’t mean it deserves equal weight.
I still think Berman’s wrong. But I didn’t get heated, because Berman did the right thing — not just as a voter, but as a journalist.
When the NBA gave Berman the Rookie of the Year ballot, he told them about his grievance, and he asked to vote for another award. The NBA declined, so Berman left his ballot blank, allowing Griffin to still be the unanimous choice.
Compare that to a few baseball voters, who left Nolan Ryan, Cal Ripken Jr. and Tony Gwynn off of Hall of Fame induction. They believed those guys belonged in the Hall of Fame, but not on unanimous votes, and they made themselves the story.
They’re lucky I’m not the commissioner of baseball. If you believe a guy is a Hall of Famer, and you submit a ballot without his name, Commissioner Wilson would make sure you don’t get another ballot.
Berman made his choice, but not at Griffin’s expense, and he stood by what he did. That gets my vote.