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Monday, 06 May 2013 22:37

Boston Globe's Gary Washburn trolls the MVP vote

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Boston Globe national basketball and Boston Celtics reporter Gary Washburn published a defense of his decision to cast his NBA MVP vote for Carmelo Anthony. Washburn’s vote prevented Lebron James from becoming the first unanimous MVP in NBA history. James received 120 out of 121 first place votes to win the award for the fourth consecutive season. Washburn’s decision has generated quite a buzz on Twitter with many questioning his decision (and whether he deserves a ballot) and others defending him for having the ‘courage to think outside the box’. In the article, Washburn cites the impact that Anthony had on the Knicks return to relevance and a perceived relative lack of talent surrounding him, especially when compared with the James’ Miami Heat. Washburn asserts that without Anthony, the Knicks “are a lottery team”. The argument that Washburn uses isn’t a new one. The question of how to interpret the intent behind “most valuable” when assessing candidates for the award has a long history across all of the major sports. There have been several instances in the NBA where the accepted “best player” was passed over for the award in favor of another player that carried his team to unexpected heights; Steve Nash over Kobe Bryant in 2006, Allen Iverson over Shaquille O’Neal in 2001, and Charles Barkley over Michael Jordan in 1993 to name three recent examples. On the other hand, given Anthony’s lack of contribution in any area of the game outside of scoring, his predilection for ball-stopping isolation offense, and his reputation as a less than exemplary teammate, the argument that he was the most ‘valuable’ player seems hollow. While the MVP is a regular-season award and the playoffs are not considered, this seems especially true after a playoff series in which he wasn’t even the most valuable player on his own team (that distinction belongs to Knicks point guard Raymond Felton). Considering that he called attention to his vote by writing a column on it, it is not a stretch to suggest that Washburn’s primary motivation was to create some national attention for himself. If that was his goal, congratulations on a job well done.

Rich Conte

Rich Conte has been passionately following the Boston Celtics and the NBA for almost 40 years.  That interest began with the classic Game 5 of the 1976 NBA Final, blossomed during the original Big Three era, and persisted through the lean years of the 90s and the "Thanksdad" Gaston era.  Rich has been blogging and podcasting through CLNS Radio for the past two years  and also hosts a technology podcast; The Tech Life on the Beats and Eats network.  You can follow him on Twitter @richconte and find him as a frequent contributor to the Celtics Beat Podcast discussion group on Facebook.