Disclaimer: We here at CelticsHub try our best not to get into the business media criticism, especially when it involves someone we know, like, and respect very much. Sometimes, however, the story is so monumental it all but requires some sort of commentary. The following is a special to CelticsHub from 98.5 The Sports Hub’s Rich Keefe:
By now you have all heard that Heat F LeBron James won his 4th NBA MVP Award over the weekend. He received 120/121 1st place votes. Today we learned that Celtics beat writer Gary Washburn, of the Boston Globe was the lone outlier. He voted instead for Knicks All-Star Carmelo Anthony, preventing LeBron from being the first unanimous winner. He wrote why he voted the way he did and has been making the rounds on local and national radio all day.
He was wrong. Here’s why.
No matter what your criteria is for MVP, LeBron James was the only choice. Let’s take a look.
Carmelo led the league in scoring (28.7 points per game) and James finished 4th (less than 2 points back at 26.8). But James shot a significantly better percentage from the floor (56.5 to 44.9) and from 3 (40.6 to 37.9).
One of Washburn’s big reasons for voting for Anthony was that he led the league in scoring. Tracy McGrady led the league in scoring twice. He finished 4th in MVP one of those years and didn’t receive a SINGLE VOTE in the other.
When compared with Anthony, James averaged more rebounds, assists, steals, blocks, and minutes. The assist number was particularly lopsided (7.3 to 2.6). Who makes their teammates better? If you want to add the assist-points onto their scoring you get 41.4 for James and 33.9 for Anthony (and that’s calculating just 2 points per assist).
James had 36 double-doubles, Anthony had 10.
James missed 6 games all season (in the final month of the year for rest), Anthony missed 15.
James finished 2nd in the Defensive Player of the Year voting, Anthony finished 2nd to last (this can’t be confirmed).
If you like PER (Player Efficiency Rating) that’s also in favor of James: 31.67 (1st); Anthony: 24.83 (4th)
If you vote based on statistics, it’s obvious. If you vote on simply who the best player is, it’s obvious. If you want to come up with some off the wall/ I’m sick of voting for LeBron theory, then you find a way to vote for someone else.
But if your argument is, “he led the Knicks to their first division title in 19 years. That’s a long time” then what about Chris Paul?
Paul led the Clippers to their first division title in…. EVER. First title in franchise history. Seems more historically significant to me.
Another “reason” to vote for Anthony was the theory that without him the Knicks don’t make the playoffs and without James the Heat are still a top team. Well it’s a small sample size, but New York went 7-8 this year without Anthony. That pace would have beat out the Bucks for the 8 spot.
The Knicks won the division in large part because the Celtics were far worse/older/just trying to get through the regular season. Deron Williams played hurt for most of the season. The 76ers got 0 minutes from Andrew Bynum after trading for him, and the Raptors are…the Raptors. Now, the Heat didn’t play in a world-beating division either, but to say Anthony gets your vote because he scored a lot of points and the Knicks won the division is weak.
James has better teammates. Fact. They did win 12 more games and have the best record in the NBA. The Knicks finished with the 6th most wins in the league.
If you really want to use the, “Without him where is his team reasoning?” Then I assume Washburn had James Harden, Stephen Curry, and Zach Randolph high on his ballot.
Fact is James has already been penalized for choosing to join forces with Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh. He should have been the MVP in 2011 (when Derrick Rose won), and everyone knew it, except not voting for him was the only way to say they disagreed with him leaving Cleveland, “The Decision,” and the perception that he was taking the easy way out to win titles. That lasted one year and he has since won back-to-back MVPs in Miami, and 4 out of 5 overall.
Look, I’m not a LeBron apologist. In the words of the Catfish LB, “Far from it. Faaarrrrr from it.” I actually like Anthony more, but to think he was the MVP over James is crazy. Michael Jordan missed out on some MVPs simply because writers were sick of voting for him. James has raised the bar for this generation and is without question the best player in the game. To vote for someone else when he continues to put up insane numbers, because a guy made a team relevant again, or because he was the scoring champ? Makes no sense.
Yes, I understand that James still won it this year, but I don’t understand how an NBA writer doesn’t agree with that. This wasn’t a Tim Duncan or Jason Kidd, Duncan or Kevin Garnett , or Dirk Nowitzki or Steve Nash or Kobe Bryant type of year. This was clear cut. Maybe what James is doing is being taken for granted… by one Boston writer, anyway.
Rich Keefe is an Anchor and Host on 98.5 The Sports Hub in Boston. You can follow him on twitter: @Keefe21