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NBA Awards Ballots Released

Got my ballots for the postseason awards today. I got four of the six, plus All-NBA ballott.

Let’s start with what I did not get and who I would’ve picked (easy to say off top since I don’t have a vote). I did not get the Rookie of the Year ballot. That race has been narrowed down to just a few candidates. If I had a vote, my top choice would have been …

Milwaukee’s Brandon Jennings. Sacramento’s Tyreke Evans and the Warriors’ Stephen Curry have great numbers, and have been the frontrunners for most of the season. But stats are much easier to compile on losing teams. Jennings has quarterbacked the Milwaukee Bucks into the postseason. The Bucks are one of the hottest teams in the league at the most critical time of the regular season. They have blended in John Salmons unbelievably well. As the point guard, the floor general, Jennings gets major credit for that. Every play, every mistake, every decision he has made on the court for the last two months has mattered much more than it has for Evans and Curry.

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The other ballot I did not get was defensive player of the year. I would’ve taken Orlando’s Dwight Howard. He leads the league in defensive rebounds and blocks. Also, his team is best in the league in FG% defense, No. 6 in points allowed, No. 3 in rebound differential, No. 6 in blocks mostly because of him.

But again, those are categories I don’t have, so I won’t be studying the data and reading about the candidates and listening to arguments.

I’ve gotten a lot of questions on how this works. Here’s a breakdown:

* Traveling media (print/radio/tv) get to vote

* Each of the six categories is voted on 122 times

* 32 votes come from the national writers (i.e., Yahoo! Sports’ Marc Spears, ESPN’s Marc Stein, etc)

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* 90 of the votes come from the media for each team. There are 30 teams, so each category can be voted on a max of 3 times by each team’s media

* How the ballots are divided depend on the number of traveling media members. If a team has 3, then each would get all six ballots

* The Warriors have five traveling media members (the two beat writers, myself and Rusty Simmons, radio legend Tim Roye, and TV broadcasters Bob Fitzgerald and Jim Barnett). Since each category can only get three votes, not all of us can vote on the same category.

Hope I made that clear enough. Now, on to the next one. The ballots I do have:

MVP

Coach of the Year

Most Improved Player

Sixth Man of the Year

The only one that I think is pretty unanimous is Sixth Man. Atlanta’s Jamal Crawford has that locked up. We had a long debate on Twitter (twitter.com/gswscribe) about MVP. Many seem to think LeBron is the unanimous choice. I think it’s going to take some serious judgment because Kobe, Durant and Wade are in the conversation.

With that said, I’m all ears.

Marcus Thompson

  • Swopa

    Well, it’s a good thing you don’t have a ballot for Rookie of the Year, because your reasoning in favor of Jennings is horrific. :-)

    Don’t the Bucks play Luke Ridnour along with Jennings quite often, especially in crunch time, so that Jennings doesn’t have to carry the “quarterbacking” burden himself? And while you credit Jennings for John Salmons’ effectiveness since joining the Bucks, I don’t recall you writing that Monta Ellis’ scoring explosion earlier this year was due to Curry’s skillful management of the offense. Why the double standard?

    By the standards you use in judging Jennings, you could argue that Derek Fisher is one of NBA’s premier PGs for having “quarterbacked” the Lakers to so many championships.

    Of course, that was the logic that led Chris Mullin to sign Fisher to a sizable free-agent contract in 2004, with the result being a team that went 15-38 before Baron Davis was dropped in the W’s laps. So maybe you’ve just been talking to Mully…

  • Whack-A-Dub

    I agree about Jennings. You think they’re holding out those ballots just because the ROY race is so tight?

  • Playoffbound

    Disagree on Jennings. Bogut is having a career year and Salmons is playing out of his mind. Jennings has too many games where he shoots 2 for 15 and 8 points. As the last post pointed, Ridnour manages the game with him.

    I don’t have a problem with voters picking Tyreke Evans or Stephen Curry.

    I won’t comment on Evans since every voter is enamored with him and he seems to have it locked.

    But, I don’t understand the hate on Curry though. More writers, including some bay area writers, are hating on him…. All kinds of excuses of why he shouldn’t get it.

    He is the only rookie this year with 30 plus points and 10 plus assist multiple times. He has gotten better every month. His numbers are better if not as good (top 3 in most rookie categories. In fact the only stat that Evans is better is his 20 plus points. Had K Martin not gone down early in the year for Sac, Evans scoring may be similar to Curry. When Martin went down, he had to score. I mean, really, who else can score in SAC? NOBODY

    Plus, it is not Curry’s fault that:

    1. Stephen Jackson and Monta Ellis alienated him early on. The best thing about it is, he has earned Ellis’s respect (per KNBR Monta Ellis interview). Rookie handled that debacle well. (By the way, I’m one of the few who think that if given a good front line, they will reck havoc in the NBA and be one of the best back court. But, that is another debate. Forget this trade Monta Madness. I want to see what they do first with a healthy roster and a healthy front court. Then I’ll decide. Until then, keep the two together). 2. He is leading a team with a roster full of injuries and D Leaguers. He’s also played well without Monta Ellis. Heck, he’s manage to beat playoff teams (ATL) with D leaguers.

    Put Jennings on the Warriors, the win totals are the same. Put Curry with the Bucks, I bet they are in the same playoff hunt. I mean really, who can’t make the playoffs in the East.

    With Curry’s universal appeal (well spoken, well mannered, well liked, well educated, and humble down to earth personality), I bet he becomes the Derek Jeter of the bay area. I think that Curry, hands down is the best point guard in this draft class. Best passer, Best shooter, Best at running a team.

  • Hook Mitchell

    WOW Swopa. Hard to argue against your points.

    Not saying I agree 100% but I see what u saying.

    Playoffbound I agree that we can’t fully evaluate our small backcourt of curry n Ellis because the frontcourt been hurt all season.

    I have yet to see a Randolph wright biedrins frontcourt unleashed.

  • A’s in 2010

    Has a there ever been a ROY who shoots 37% from the field? My gawd… I mean, I could argue the Bucks are playoff bound DESPITE Brandon Jennings. It’s pretty embarrassing seeing someone defend that guy.

  • Perry

    I agree on B. Jennnings as well, Marcus…..

    I am all for awarding the winners.

    Don’t forget Scott Skiles……he’s done a pretty good job with a ‘rag tag’ bunch of guys and some young players.

    Hakim Warrick shipped out……John Salmons welcomed in…..

    Andrew Bogut has always been a legitimate threat. Defensively, he’s 2nd in the league in blocks……offensively, you can almost count on him for a double-double a night. He’s a terrific rebounder.

    Before the season started, I predicted the following:

    1. S. Curry would be the best NBA scorer
    2. B. Griffin would be the best all-around NBA player
    3. R. Rubio would be the best NBA PG

    Things haven’t exactly shaped out the way I predicted……

    B. Jennings is without question the most dynamic scorer of the bunch. I think S. Curry has proven himself to be the best facilitator of the bunch.

    I think Tyreke Evans has proven himself to be the best all-around NBA player of the bunch.

    That’s the way I view it.

    When I say the best ‘all-around NBA player’…I am referring to the whole package…..intelligence, readiness, commitment, overall talent.

    Regarding DOY Award:

    Dwight Howard’s defense is somewhat skewed by his incessant fouls that are never called.

    Last year, he nearly raped P. Gasol on every touch during the Finals and the officials seemed to miss most of it..

    I thought it was a fucking crime how Howard got away with murder during the Finals last year…..

    Not a big Dwight Howard fan……can I offer a better choice for DOY in my book…….Josh Smith.

    Josh Smith is 4th in blocks and 9th in steals.

    For a player of his talent and his skill set, Josh Smith is one of the most under-rated players in this league. He shouldn’t be able to make the plays he makes just because of his size and build……but he is so athletic and talented that he is able to surprise.

    He plays an aggressive brand of defense: athletic weak side blocks; trail blocks and great hands.

    Lebron ain’t that bad a defender either when he trails the break and catches up to block shots on guys that weigh 100 lbs. less than him (M. Ellis; I think he trail blocked B. Jennings too)……

    If I was building a defensive oriented team that would also have great offensive talent, I would take Josh Smith and Lebron any day over your boy, D. Howard…..

  • Mike

    Coach of the year: Don Nelson.

  • Aperacer

    MVP: LBJ
    Coach: Nellie
    Most Improved: Monta Ellis
    6th Man: Crawford

  • Whack-A-Dub

    Perry:

    -Evans is not the better all-around player.
    The way I see it, Curry is better all-around, Evans’ game is pretty undeveloped.

    -Jennings IS the most dynamic scorer and a much better leader than most people credit for.

    -Griffin might be the best all-around player in years to come

    -Curry, with a better body MAY be the best scorer, passer, etc. of all of them.

    -To me Evans is still a bit in the water. Over-dribbling, so-so court vision, undeveloped passing lanes, a bit of a volume shooter sometimes, 16 shots a game- those things don’t matter much when going for ROY, but I think they matter too much when trying to make the playoffs, etc. and really hurt your teams’ chances. Curry does a lot of things that don’t show up on the stat sheet.

    Call me biased, but…I’m pretty sure we got the best rookie.

  • Jeremy

    MVP: LeBron
    Runner Up: Durant

    Coach: Scotty Brooks
    Runner Up: Scott Skiles

    Most Improved: Kevin Durant
    Runner Up: Andrew Bogut

    6th: Jamal Crawford
    Runner Up: Manu Ginobli

    Defensive POY: Dwight Howard
    Runner Up: Gerald Wallace

    RoY: Tyreke Evans
    Runner Up: Stephen Curry

  • Jeremy

    Executive of the Year: Robert Rowell
    Runner Up: Larry Riley

    The results would be a runaway of only everything had gone completely different than it did. They should get the reward anyway.

  • Whack-A-Dub

    Jeremy, thanks for the list of people we don’t give our awards to.

  • DiLillo1148

    MVP – Lebron

    Defensive – Dwight

    ROTY – Tyeke

    6th Man – Crawford

    Most Improved – Durant

    Coach – Jerry Sloan

  • itsagreattimeout

    Wow, Marcus, you really surprised me with that Jennings pick. With the utmost respect for your NBA judgement, I think that’s completely bonkers. You don’t think Curry could quarterback the Bucks to the playoffs in the East? I’m with “A’s in 2010″, I think one could just as easily say they’re making the playoffs DESPITE Brandon Jennings. Look at their respective GAMES, Marcus! Curry has better passing, scoring, court vision… tell me in which way is Jennings better than Curry?

  • Whack-A-Dub

    Maybe…speed?? That’s why John Wall is so ‘good’

  • jsl

    Swopa: Word.

    MT: Put Jennings on a Nelson team and he’d die. Put Curry on a Skiles team and you’d REALLY see him flourish. I LOVE the way the Bucks play so well with such relatively mediocre talent — largely because they’re well-coached and play great D. But with Curry’s much better passing and shooting, they’d be that much better.

    To be sure, Jennings is good — and, like many lesser players — he’ll have a career day against our Nelson-helmed Warriors. He just lucked out going to such a well-coached team (the way Skiles handled Jennings’ deep, February anguish was simply perfect); Curry’s had to handle playing in the vast Nelsonian wasteland.

    Choosing Jennings as ROY in these circumstances — and denying Tyreke’s and Curry’s growing prowess because they play for rock bottom losers — is just too cute by half.

    Jennings is no Tyreke. And he’s certainly no Curry. That should become even more obvious next year.

  • Whack-A-Dub

    Jsl: I’m laughing too hard right now.
    +1

  • OliverStone

    “the way Skiles handled Jennings’ deep, February anguish was simply perfect”

    Nellie would’ve had him in his “Doghouse”!

  • OliverStone

    p.s. Should a player that goes through a “Month of anguish” be ROY?

    Should a player that said “He wasn’t going to shoot anymore” because he was going so bad be ROY?

    Like it or not have to go with the chaulk, Tyreke.

  • http://cloudyhands.com johnfree

    hey Marcus, I wanna talk Bears in the NBA draft!

    Do you think Randle will
    1. get drafted?
    2. make a team?
    3. make a contribution?

    I think he might be a #2, but more likely make a team in summer league. I personally predict he will be the next Earl Boynkins – he’s got the shot, and the nba body (altho’ a small one :) , quickness, free throw %, and the unflappability. So he will start slow, but when given a chance will be around a long time.

    How about the other Cal seniors?

    Christopher goes to Europe, J Boynkins goes to Wall Street, and I think Robinson makes somebody’s team as a glue guy. He in fact would be a perfect Nellie-ball player – the next Reggie Williams (who was the next Azibuke, …) Theo may in fact turn out to have the best career of any of them.

    thanks!

  • Whack-A-Dub

    Future league:

    Jennings-winningest rookie of the three
    Evans-most 2-guard ish of the three
    Curry-the best of the three

    Could you imagine how much better Curry would ‘miraculously’ become in Skiles’ or Westphal’s system? Oh my god…can’t wait till Nellie leaves.

  • Michael Jordan

    K-O-B-E spells M-V-P

  • jmurph

    I don’t know why Nelly gets so much hate. Would we have beaten Dallas with out him? No. The only appearence we have had in the playoffs in… 15 years?… is due to his style of ball. The big question is why aren’t you up in arms that he wasn’t inducteed into the Hall of Fame? Compare his accomplishments to last years inductee, Jery Sloan… Jerry is a great coach, but Nelly has far more accomplishments and has contribuited to the NBA more.

    Nelly, three time NBA Coach of the Year
    Sloan, none

    Nelly, 5 time NBA champion with the celtics as a player.
    Sloan, none as a player.

    Nelly and Sloan neither have a NBA championship title as a coach… but Nelly has a tile coaching the USA team to a Gold medal.

    Nelly most wins as a coach… at least soon to be.
    Sloan 4th most wins as a coach (he will probably pass Nelly if he continues to coach more then 4 years).

    Nelly is considered a innovator to the game and coaches to his players strength. For those who don’t think he is defensive minded enough, his stint with Milwaukee where he had many wining seasons, they were known for their defense.

    just compare their bios posted on NBA.com:
    http://www.nba.com/coaches/

    In any rate it is just sad in my opinion that a coach who has done a lot for the NBA and for the Warriors gets so much hate. You think he did a bad job with the warriors, we will probably end up with a better record this year then: Nets, Wolves, Wizards, Detriot, and Sacramento. How many of those teams played most of the year without their starting and backup centers and power forwards? If it wasn’t for Nelly’s style and coaching, we would probably only be a 15 win team this year.

    Thats all i got to say. I am sure someone will post their hate after this, yea I am disapionted with the season, but it is not Nelly’s fault. NBA is a tough league, and the west is even harder…

  • TownLove

    Tyreke Evans was an absolute beast at the beginning of the season. He was holding his own against the league’s elite. He may have hit a rookie wall in addition to the recent injury, but I hinestly cant hate on the year he had.

    I love Curry’s game, that one handed full court pass last night was a thing of beauty. I know Im biased, but he gets my ROY vote.

    I do wonder at times if Curry would have the gawdy numbers if he was not on a depleted Warrior’s team. Regardless he has been amazing to watch.

  • Whack-A-Dub

    Marcus, seriously…Nellie broke the record, you can post that…

  • Samatman

    I’m not much for individual awards. It’s a team game and the nba (more so than the college and wnba games) is too oriented away from team play towards individual star play. However, if you’re going to give individual awards:

    1. Curry is clearly the best all-around player among the rookies. He’s an astonishly good passer because he sees the floor so well. He’s the classic make-your-teammates-better type of point guard; you get open and you’ll have the ball just at the right time and the right place because he has that rare ability to see the game several steps ahead. He commits some lazy turnovers, but I think he’ll cut down on that. He’s also a tremendous shooter, and I think he’ll get better as he learns the league and the players better. What’s more, he’s really good at creating little shot openings with tricky moves, and with his quick release (must’ve learned it from dad) he doesn’t need much room. I don’t see any of the other rookies point guards being as good as he is as a passer, shooter, rebounder, ball-hawk/stealer. Plus, he moves his feet and recovers really well on defense. The kid is clearly a superstar in the making. He’s going to be a better all-around player than Nash, and that’s a two-mvp guy. I don’t think the rookie of the year race is that close.

    2. As for the mvp thing: I think it’s even less close. I think Lebron’s a much better all-around player than Kobe: a much better passer who’s better at setting up teammates and takes less ill-advised one-on-one shots. Plus, he’s stronger inside, runs the court better, blocks shots, keeps improving his outside shooting. Wade is maybe the closest because he pretty much does everything too, and Miami would be nowhere without him. But I think it’s Lebron by several lengths.

  • Scott

    It doesn’t make sense to use teams wins as the main determinant when deciding ROY. Aren’t the best and most talented rookies taken by the worst team? Is Tyreke Evans expected to turn a 17 wins Kings team into a playoff contender overnight? You are punishing great players because they were drafted at the top of the draft by horrible teams. Kevin Durant’s team only won 20 games his rookie season, but he was given ROY. I suppose the voter should have given it to Luis Scola since his team made it to the playoffs. Why not just give James Harden the award. Afterall, he took a 23 win OKC Thunder team and transformed them into a 50 game winner. I’m a Warriors fan, but I think it has to go to Tyreke.

    1 Tyreke Evans
    2 Stephen Curry
    3 Brandon Jenning or Darren Collison (better fg% and defense than Jennings)

  • BRANDON

    STEPHEN CURRY HAS BEEN A LEADER AND A GREAT SCORER HE SHOULD BE ROOKIE OF THE YEAR BECAUSE IM SEEING MORE FROM HIM THAN IM SEEING FROM TYREKE and Brandon jennings if he dosent get picked something is really wrong