Changing Process to NBA Award Voting?
The NBA has entered that time of the year when they announce the individual awards for the regular season, highlighted by the All-NBA teams and the Most Valuable Player award. In a build-up to those main awards, Sixth Man of the Year, Coach of the Year and Most Improved Player of the Year awards are announced. Each of these awards are, obviously, considered to be an honor, as they should be, but with anything that includes voting, there are always issues.
Throughout the years fans and media alike have called for more transparency in the voting process because, as of now, the votes are cast in anonymity. Because of that, there always seems to be players who receive votes for each award that are considered to be head-scratchers. As the 2012 NBA playoffs are now into full swing, it is time to begin the discussion again, as this year produced yet another of the questionable votes.
First of all, let’s take a look at the players who were in the top ten in the Most Improved Player award race.
Ryan Anderson of the Orlando Magic was named the league’s Most Improved Player this year and while some may debate that, he is a player who has improved greatly in the past few seasons. Ersan Ilyasova of the Milwaukee Bucks came in second place and would have been a fine choice for the award, but taking second place is nothing to sneeze at either. Rounding out the top three is Nikola Pekovic of the Minnesota Timberwolves, who took advantage of an opportunity and nearly has become as untouchable in Minnesota as Kevin Love and Ricky Rubio.
As a whole, the top three vote-getters are solid choices. The second tier of players is rather spot on as well. Players receiving votes from spots four through ten are Greg Monroe of the Detroit Pistons, Andrew Bynum of the Los Angeles Lakers, Jeremy Lin of the New York Knicks, Goran Dragic of the Houston Rockets, Avery Bradley of the Boston Celtics, Danny Green of the San Antonio Spurs and Jeff Teague of the Atlanta Hawks.
There is not much to complain about in that second-tier of players receiving votes either and if you continue down the list there are plenty of other names who received points in the voting. Players such as Paul George, Ty Lawson, DeMarcus Cousins, Kyle Lowry and Gordon Hayward all received some votes in the race and are legitimate. However, one name stands out among the rest when scouring the rest of the list.
Namely, who in the NBA world placed a first-place vote for Andrew Bogut as the NBA’s Most Improved Player in the 2011-12 season?
Make no mistake about it, questioning the vote for Bogut is not a knock on the player, as he has always been known to give his all when able to be on the court. However, throughout the 2011-12 NBA season, Bogut was only able to play in 12 games. While his numbers were solid in those 12 games—averaging 11.3 points, 8.3 rebounds, 2.6 assists, 2 blocks and 1 steal—in order for Bogut to be considered for the award in his limited amount of playing time, he should have nearly tripled those numbers.
Let’s also not forget the fact the award is named the “Most Improved Player” award. For sake of argument, if Bogut put up the exact same numbers while able to play a majority of his team’s games throughout the year—remembering he was traded from Milwaukee to Golden State—his numbers still should not have put him in contention from anyone with a vote. His numbers are more than solid for an NBA center, but if you compare them to his career averages, as well as his numbers from the 2010-11 season, he regressed significantly.
It is simply ridiculous for any thoughtful and plugged-in NBA mind to submit a vote for Andrew Bogut for the Most Improved Player, let alone a first-place vote.
It may be considered nit-picking to look all the way down the list to see Andrew Bogut’s name. However, each year for each award there always seems to be a name that sticks out such as Bogut’s on this list and each time it is inexcusable. Each year, the conversation of finding out a way to make sure issues like this do not come up again occurs, yet without changes to the system. This needs to change and the correction to the system is one that is incredibly easy to implement going forward.
This year, 121 sportswriters and broadcasters throughout the NBA world placed their votes. These are all professionals who are to know about the league they cover in depth, providing key insight to those who read or watch them. They are in the public eye because of that. It is now time the balloting for the awards to have the voter’s name attached to it, giving the public the chance to see which writers and broadcasters are making the proper selections when given the opportunity to be a part of the process. This simple change to the process will help keep the sportswriters and broadcasters accountable to their readership or viewership.
What are your thoughts on this, NBA fans? Should the voting for the regular season awards be anonymous as it is now or should the voters attach their names to their selections? Would you want to know the selections of your favorite sportswriters or broadcasters?