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Awards Ballot '07

By admin Published: April 17, 2007

This morning I submitted by annual awards ballot to the NBA office.  As has been my custom in the past, I am posting my votes.  Many voters keep theirs secret, but I am voting on behalf of the fans and I shouldn't be if I'm not willing to share.

I don't get a vote on every award, the NBA selects who votes on what, but I did have an MVP and Rookie of the Year vote.

Here it is:

Most Valuable Player

1. Steve Nash, Suns
2. Dirk Nowitzki, Mavs
3. Kobe Bryant, Lakers
4. LeBron James, Cavs
5. Tim Duncan, Spurs

I know this is Dirk's year and he's probably going to win it.  Unlike other awards, the NBA does not give criteria for how this honor should be judged.  It is simply for the "most valuable player." I firmly believe, as I did two years ago, that Nash is that player.  His stats are fantastic, of course, but his contribution to the Suns style of play and success in unquestioned and he seems to only get better.  I wrestled whether to put LeBron fourth, fifth or off the ballot.  I put him ahead of Duncan because Duncan is not on my first team All-League as you'll see below.  I also gave serious consideration to Tracy McGrady as well.

Last year (you can see that ballot here) I gave LeBron my first place vote.  I thought this would be the year he'd win it, but he turned out not to be close.  I suspect after finishing second last year, LeBron will be totally left off lots of ballots this year.  We'll see if that motivates him.

Rookie of the Year

1. Brandon Roy, Blazers
2. Andrea Bargnani, Raptors
3. Rudy Gay, Grizzlies

Sort of a no-brainer.  Roy impressed me a great deal in summer league last year and again when I saw him in person this season.  He was great when the Blazers smashed the Cavs in Portland in January.  Also, I think Rudy Gay has great upside and he didn't get much notice this year because he was on the worst team in the league.

Most Improved Player

1. Al Jefferson, Celtics
2. Monta Ellis, Warriors
3. Sasha Pavlovic, Cavs

This will get the most debate, there's probably about a dozen players who deserve a vote.  I think Jefferson is on his way to being a beast and a future All-Star with Dwight Howard in the East.  I thought about Luol Deng with my third place vote, but decided to go with Sasha because no one else will vote for him and I think he's deserving.  In my opinion, Kevin Martin of Sacramento, who may win it, actually made his big jump last season, not this year.  I also considered voting for Linas Kleiza of the Denver Nuggets, who I predict will have a massive year next year even though, like Martin, he made his major strides this season.

Defensive Player of the Year

1. Bruce Bowen, Spurs
2. Ben Wallace, Bulls
3. Marcus Camby, Nuggets

I am voting for Bowen and Wallace largely for their body of work.  Bowen is due to win it, Wallace took a bit of a step back overall this season.  I love Ruben Patterson of the Bucks as a defender, I am high on Greg Buckner of the Mavs, and was impressed this season by Ime Udoka of the Blazers among others.  But none bump out these top three I don't think.

All-NBA Teams

First team

G - Steve Nash, Suns
G - Kobe Bryant, Lakers
C - Shaquille O'Neal, Heat
F - Dirk Nowitzki, Mavs
F - LeBron James, Cavs

Only tough call was at center, but I give Shaq credit for lifting the Heat when Dwyane Wade went down.  LeBron had a bit of a down year compared to last season, but he's the best small forward in the game.

Second team

G - Dwyane Wade, Heat
G - Tracy McGrady, Rockets
C - Yao Ming, Rockets
F - Carlos Boozer, Jazz
F - Tim Duncan, Spurs

I debated between Carlos Boozer and Chris Bosh for second team, but tilted it when I considered overall conference toughness.

Third Team

G - Gilbert Arenas, Wizards
G - Chauncey Billups, Pistons
C - Amare Stoudemire, Suns
F - Chris Bosh, Raptors
F - Kevin Garnett, Timberwolves

Last year I left off Arenas in favor of Vince Carter.  I did the opposite this year.  Also, I was upset at Garnett last year because it appeared as if he'd quit on his team down the stretch and left him off.  It will foolish to do so and I will not make the same mistake this year.  He made it over Josh Howard.

I regret not finding a place for Luol Deng of the Bulls, who may make it next year.  I also really wanted to get Deron Williams on there.  I'm super high on that guy, he's going to be a regular All-Star starting perhaps next year.  Also couldn't get Shawn Marion on, he's deserving as well.

Also, there's no Allen Iverson.  He did what he had to do, but I don't like players demanding trades.  Even if that was what the 76ers wanted.  I held a grudge against Carter on this for awhile.

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