Now this should be interesting. According to a memo obtained by USA Today’s Sam Amick, the National Basketball Players’ Association will vote on its own set of postseason awards for the first time in history.
The 2015 Players Choice Awards will be balloted anonymously and winners announced at a meeting in Las Vegas this summer. Here’s Amick with more pertinent details, including quotes from NBPA Executive Director Michele Roberts:
…first-year National Basketball Players Association executive director Michele Roberts issued an internal memo announcing the “2015 Players Choice Awards.”
“This program was created at your request to recognize outstanding performance of your peers, on and off the court,” Roberts wrote. “No one knows better than you what it takes to shine.”
Roberts indicated in the memo that MVP is among the awards that will be voted on, and there is a “Man of the Year” award as well that will honor a player’s efforts in the community.
This news comes amid perhaps the most heated MVP debate in modern history, as well in wake of recent comments from marquee players condemning the media-voted awards.
During his All-Star Weekend round of reporter rousing, reigning MVP Kevin Durant opined that players’ votes should count – precisely because they’re better equipped to judge who’s deserving of individual hardware than the media.
“Yeah, I think media and guys get too much power to vote on stuff that quite frankly I don’t think you really know a lot about (or) as much as we (players) know about it,” Durant said. “So, yeah, we play against these guys every single night. We battle against these guys. We know what they say on the court. We know how they handle their teammates. We know how they approach the game, and our vote should count. Our opinions should count. Like I said, I don’t think you guys know as much as we do, and I don’t see why you have more power than we do.”
Stephen Curry offered a similar if more tepid take during a radio appearance last month.
We don’t disagree with Durant, Curry, and the many players who carry a similar sentiment. The media’s voting is hardly infallible, and actually exhibits time and again just how ill-informed some of those with ballots really are. Remember Carmelo Anthony receiving a MVP vote in 2013? Or Kobe Bryant being named to All-Defensive Teams in 2011 and 2012?
But admitted or underlying bias and countless other factors influence league analysts just like it will the players’ balloting. Will the Los Angeles Clippers really vote against DeAndre Jordan for Player of the Year? What about time-honored reputation getting in the way? It’s not like the players have as much time as media members to research candidates before casting a vote, either. Are they to base their decisions on feel? Teammate and opponent feedback?
There’s no perfect voting process for awards like this, but it goes without saying that player opinion should be heard. One day in the future, the league’s awards and the union’s will hopefully come together to find a consensus MVP or Defensive Player of the Year – there’s no reason why both parties shouldn’t have an equal say in distinctions that decide a player’s legacy.
Will the Players Choice Awards even matter years from now? There’s no telling, but this certainly adds a juicy narrative to an already ripe awards season.