Thanks to all those who voted in our poll last week asking whether Kevin Durant or LeBron James is the stronger MVP candidate.
The final results were astonishingly close, with Durant taking over Tuesday night as he was scoring 42 points against Houston and winning the poll with 47.10 percent of the vote to James’ 46.33.
Is this a preview of what the actual voting will be like?
It probably was, and the challenge for the NBA front office in late April and early May will be keeping the vote results a secret – something they fail to do year after year after year.
Here’s why: The league office will typically alert the winning player’s media relations staff that so and so has won an award, and the team’s PR folks will put out a news release promising a “major announcement” the following day. Within minutes, the team’s beat writers and broadcasters have been tipped off to the news, and word spreads like wildfire on Twitter. By the time the “major announcement” takes place, it is already old news.
We postulated last week that the MVP race was a two-man affair, and we still stick to that statement. But the fans in Chicago are thinking differently and have begun chanting “M-V-P” for Joakim Noah as he continues to stuff the stat sheet and play terrific defense.
One of the best TV moments of the season came Sunday afternoon when ESPN’s Lisa Solters was interviewing Noah’s father, Yannick, at the very same moment that Joakim was defending James one-on-one.
Noah came up with a stop, and the elder Noah jumped out of his seat in sheer joy.
Noah has earned some love in these rankings, too, but at the top I am sticking with the guy who has been in that position for the past three months. Yes, LeBron’s 61-point outburst was spectacular. But he has been positively human ever since, and one needs to be superhuman to elevate ahead of Durant.
So onto the rankings we go …