This was dispatched to me on April 14 by the NBA office as part of my All-NBA team vote:
"You have been chosen by the National Basketball Association to serve on a committee to vote for the All-NBA Team for the 2006-07 season. Please vote for the player at the position that he plays regularly. You can vote for five players on each of the three All-NBA teams. No ties may be awarded."
I did not bold and underline that sentence. It was bolded and underlined by the league. I'd like to bring this up after viewing the All-NBA Voting that was released by the league today. There were 129 ballots out there, therefore there must be 129 first-team votes for center. However, if you combine Amare Stoudemire (36), Yao Ming (38), Dwight Howard (1), Shaquille O'Neal (3, one of them mine), and Marcus Camby (2) you come up with 80 votes. Where are the other 49 votes? I'll tell you, in Tim Duncan's totals. And perhaps a few in Dirk Nowitzki. Which is why, in a nutshell, LeBron James was left off the first team.
How do I know this? Because if you combine all the forwards who got first-team votes you come up with 297. If each voter voted for two forwards as instructed there would be only 258 total votes.
But this isn't close to where the tomfoolery ends. This from the NBA release today:
"The media voted for All-NBA First, Second and Third Teams by position with points awarded on a 5-3-1 basis."
OK, well Stoudemire got 36 first-place votes and, says the release, 494 overall points. This is mathematically impossible. See, 36 first-place votes X 5 points each = 180 points. Then let's just assume Stoudemire was second on every other ballot (which is impossible because I personally put him on the third team, but anyway) so say he's got 93 second-place votes. That's 93 second-place votes X 3 points each = 279. Add up the points: 180 + 279 = 459. 459 is the max he can have. The 494 points reported, though, is exactly the same as LeBron's total. Which seems a bit odd/fishy. But Stoudemire doesn't have to out vote LeBron for the team, just the other centers.
I can only assume this was a clerical error. At least I really hope so, otherwise there's some funny business going on. According to reader Alan Dail, who actually added up all the possible points across the board, there's 145 too many. Take away those excess 145 from Stoudemire's total and everything seems to jive and he edges Yao Ming on the first team. Or maybe he doesn't. Hmmmm...
Anyway, my fellow media voters have really disappointed me this awards season. I guess they didn't like any of the center choices so they stuck in Duncan (so I guess those 74 games Francisco Elson and Fabricio Oberto combined to start for the Spurs at center must be meaningless) on the first team. The NBA-released All-Star ballot lists both Duncan and Dirk as forwards, by the by.
As such, Duncan ended up with 30 more first place votes than LeBron, who was bumped to the second team even though he may've been on more ballots as a forward than Duncan. Plus, I know some voters put Tracy McGrady in as a forward. He's a guard. Shane Battier is the Rocket's small forward. I mean, I wanted to get McGrady on the first team badly, too. Perhaps I should've just put Steve Nash at center since he'd have gotten the points anyway because the NBA seems to just turn the other cheek to the rampant idiocy.
Sorry to say, here's an offender right here: respected colleague and ESPN Insider Chris Sheridan put Dirk at center and McGrady at forward on the first team.
Now, if you want to make the argument that you should vote for the five best players regardless of position, fine. If you want to talk about how there aren't five positions left in basketball, cool. Maybe you have a point and there can be a debate. But those aren't the rules now, as the NBA specifically spells out and many voters, including this one, follow. You can see my ballot in case you forgot.
It may just be a story for one day, but the All-NBA team does mean a lot to a lot of people and those of us tasked with deciding it and the folks in New York tabulating it ought to treat it with a lot more respect.
Finally, I am feeling no regrets voting Nash as my MVP (Dirk is going to win), Carlos Boozer on my second-team All-NBA (he didn't make any teams), and giving Sasha Pavlovic his only vote for Most Improved Player.