I am taking a lot of flack on social media today after I was the only voter to place LeBron James on his Second Team All-NBA ballot, and that’s OK. Everyone has the right to their own opinion.
In a nutshell, this is it:
There were only two forward spots on the All-NBA ballot. I gave them to the players I listed No. 1 and No. 2 on my MVP ballot, Kevin Durant and Blake Griffin, who are both forwards.
I voted for Griffin ahead of James for many reasons.
- First of all, the Clippers had a better record (57-25) than the Heat (54-28) and set a franchise record for victories.
- The Clippers had that better record despite playing in a tougher conference. The Heat lollygagged their way through the regular season and finished with 12 fewer victories than they had in 2012-13, and when they had a chance to stay ahead of the Indiana Pacers after overtaking them in late March, they went 3-6 in April.
- The catalyst for the Clippers’ 57-25 record was Griffin, who scored 20 or more points in 31 consecutive games from Jan. 20 through March 26. LeBron’s longest streak of 20 or more points was 10 games, accomplished twice.
- The MVP award (and the all-NBA teams) is based upon performances from the regular season, not the postseason. It is not about who is the better player; it is about who was the most valuable to their team. And given that the Clippers had the best season in their inglorious history, Griffin was more valuable to L.A. during the regular season than James was to Miami.
Now, if you want me to tell you who the best player in the NBA is, I will tell you it is LeBron James, and it is not even close.
But if I am going to put him third on my MVP ballot, behind two other forwards, I cannot put him ahead of those forwards on my all-NBA Team because I’d be contradicting myself.
So whether you agree with my reasoning or not, I stand behind it.
Further explaining comes in this interview with Doug Gottlieb of CBS Sports Radio.