Much ado is made of the postseason awards. Salary bonuses for some of the players kick in when they’re so honored. So do all kinds of commercial endorsements. Plus, referees tend to give All-This or All-That players the benefit of many iffy calls.
The trouble is that most of these awards are selected by writers and broadcasters who (excepting some ex-players) don’t know the difference between a pick-and-roll and a Kaiser roll. Moreover, some awards are so vague as to be nonsensical.
Indeed, the most meaningless of these is the annual MVP award.
Really, what exactly does Most Valuable Player mean? The best player in the league — and how would this be determined except for a league-wide one-on-one tournament. Or is it the best player on the best team? But the best team isn’t determined until the playoffs are over. Perhaps, then, it’s the best player on the team with the best regular-season winning percentage.
It certainly isn’t awarded to the player who does the most for his team. If that were the case, then consider that the Sacramento Kings won 29 games last season, but without DeMarcus Cousins or Rudy Gay how many would they have won? 15? 10?
Similarly, how many of the Orlando Magic’s 25 wins would’ve been losses without the services of Victor Oladipo or Nikola Vucevic?
Also, why was Michael Jordan the MVP only four times? In truth, MJ should’ve been MVP in each of the six seasons in which the Bulls were champs. Instead, he was replaced by Charles Barkley (in 1993) and Karl Malone (in 1997). Were the writers and broadcasters simply sick of voting for him?
David Robinson was voted Defensive Player of the Year three times by the writers and broadcasters. This, even though the Admiral couldn’t guard his own shadow and his only slightly meaningful defense was an occasional blocked shot. Indeed, several ex-coaches have pointed out that too often Robinson positioned himself to try to draw a charge against a penetrating guard instead of gathering to block the ensuing shot.
And it was Robinson who was primarily responsible for Dennis Rodman to quit on the Spurs. What happened was that, during a game against a dynamic running opponent, Rodman wanted to pressure the inbounds pass to prevent the bad guys from initiating their devastating fast break. When he asked Robinson to cover for him by halving the distance between his man and the Admiral’s man at the other end of the court, Robinson refused. That’s when The Worm discovered that Robinson could never be the locus of a championship team.
Scottie Pippen was never chosen to be the Defensive POY during the Admiral’s career — and was much more deserving.
Dwight Howard is a classic example of a center who can easily be suckered out of position due to his overriding desire to block every shot in his neighborhood. Which is why he routinely bites on the slightest shot fake — and why he’s usually saddled with early foul trouble.
Rookie of the Year? Here’s some of the Rookie of the Year recipients:
Emeka Okafor, whose most noteworthy credential since then is being a distant cousin of Jahlil Okafor.
Pete Maravich, perhaps the greediest ball hog and worst defender in NBA history. And a loser, to boot.
In truth, the Atlanta Hawks were a championship-caliber team before Maravich joined them in 1970. The Hawks included Lou Hudson, Joe Caldwell, Walt Hazzard, Bill Bridges and Jim Davis — a bruising, talented cast that won 48 games in the 1969-70 campaign. With Maravich in control of the ball, the Hawks’ chemistry dissipated — averaging 38 wins during his tenure in Atlanta. Moreover, the Hawks never got out of the first round of the playoffs (posting a combined record of 5-12) and failed to qualify for the money season in his farewell season in Atlanta.
But Pistol Pete was certainly quick on the draw and scored points by the dozen.
Ralph Sampson, who should’ve been hired as a spokesman for a marshmallow company.
Derrick “Whoopty-damn-do” Coleman, whose selfishness and laziness made his entire career a waste of his super-colossal talent.
Named to several All-NBA First Teams were grossly overrated fool’s-gold-plated guys like Karl Malone, Gary Payton, David Robinson and Charles Barkley.
When Malone’s Jazz faced the Bulls in the championship series of 1997 and 1998, Chicago elected to refrain from double-teaming him. As a result, Malone totaled three big games in the 12 that were played. Not nearly enough to brand him one of the NBA’s best. And don’t forget, it was Malone who coughed up the ball to Michael Jordan in the most critical play in the deciding Game 6 in 1998.
As Scottie Pippen famously said, “The Mailman doesn’t deliver on Sundays.”
As for Payton, he built his reputation on gambling for steals on incoming passes and in passing lanes — plus he passed only when he couldn’t create his own shot. His utter selfishness was exposed when he joined the Lakers in 2003-04, refusing to accept the Triangle and insisting that he be allowed to post-up and/or drive the ball into the paint whenever the spirit moved him.
Barkley loved to keep the ball on a string while he angled for a shot — hence the Barkley Rule that prohibits unlimited one-on-one dribbling. Defense was something that his teammates were supposed to play and was only rarely his concern.
Then there was the time that Barkley strongly demanded that his Houston Rocket teammates be in playing shape when training camp began — then was 20 pounds overweight when he appeared.
Barkley was also a notorious locker room lawyer — telling one player he was a great one while deprecating other teammates. And working his way through most of the roster with the same deceitful rap.
But numbers and showmanship were (and still are) the qualities that most impress the media.
Who should’ve replaced this particular trio on the All-NBA squads to which they were named?
The likes of Hakeem Olajuwon, John Stockton, Scottie Pippen, Shawn Kemp and Shaquille O’Neal.
And how could the Coach of the Year award be meaningful if Mike Brown was so honored in 2009?
Brown’s reputation as a defensive coach was somewhat overblown, but was still an asset. The same could not be said for his offensive game plans which were truly offensive, consisting of mostly running LeBron left, LeBron right and LeBron up-the-middle in every clutch situation. Brown followed the same pattern with Kobe in Los Angeles. Iso after iso after iso … Thereby enabling opponents’ defenses to know precisely where the ball would be and where it was going to be. Hey, even LeBron — along with his mother Gloria James — raised public and private objections to Brown’s predictable offense.
Moreover, several of his ex-players and many coaches around the league decried Bown’s inability to make meaningful adjustments both during and between games. Likewise were Brown’s in-game substitutions ridiculed as creating mismatches that opponents could eagerly exploit.
Also, Brown spent too much practice time lecturing his players. Stiffening their limbs, boring them, getting them used to disregarding whatever he has to say. Remember how his assistants did virtually all of the talking during game-time huddles?
Even more troublesome was Brown’s easy-going way of relating to his players — so easy-going that both LeBron and Kobe intimidated him and mostly did whatever they wanted once the game clock was lit. This situation created further undercurrents of disrespect among the other players on both the Lakers and the Cavs. So much so, that his players laughed at Brown behind his back.
Coach of the Year?
Also, the best coach in the history of the NBA was named COY once — that would be Phil Jackson in 1996.
As currently constituted, the postseason awards are ludicrous. They exist solely to create media comments and controversy, thereby keeping the NBA in the news after each season is finished.
It says here, that these awards would only be real if the votes are taken away from the writers and broadcasters and given to the players and coaches.