Sheridan’s MVP Rankings, April 9 Edition: This Pick is Easy; Coach of Year is not

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magnifyingglassMy ballot will be e-mailed to NBA headquarters late at night one week from today, and I will then publish all of my picks for postseason awards — as is my standard practice.

But not every one of the 126 voters makes his/her selections public. At least that is the way it has been in the past.

But this year, transparency rules. The Pro Basketball Writers Association and the NBA media relations office have come to an agreement under which all of the voters’ picks in every single category will be made public. Too bad this didn’t happen a year ago, when we would have learned who had the gumption to vote for Jordan Crawford as Sixth Man of the Year. (The NBA even checked with the voter to see if he meant to select Jamal Crawford, and the voter responded ‘no.’ He actually felt the lesser Crawford was deserving).

Sheridan’s MVP Rankings, March 19 Edition: Blake Griffin > LeBron James

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blakefunkThe readers have spoken … and the readers are thinking the same thing I am thinking: Blake Griffin is a stronger MVP candidate than LeBron James.

We published a poll late last week asking readers to chime in on the question of who should be sitting in the No. 2 spot beneath Kevin Durant, and Griffin drew 61 percent of the vote.

Yes, it seems sacrilegious to list LeBron third-best at anything – especially after he had another one of his freakish performances last night in Cleveland, dropping 25 in the first quarter and finishing with 43.

But how come he only seems to have those nights when Dwyane Wade is sitting out?

Remember when Bron-Bron went for 61 against the Bobcats a couple weeks ago? Yes, we all remember, because it was one of the more unforgettable nights of this season by any player from any team. But in the seven games afterward, he never scored more than 24 (or fewer than 17) as his team lost five of those seven games.

LeBron had 27 turnovers (against 47 assists) in that seven-game span, which is Westbrook territory when it comes to leading your team to empty possessions.

Most importantly, that seven-game stretch marked a period in which the Heat squandered an opportunity to quit looking up in the standings at the Indiana Pacers, who were having problems of their own. Miami and Indiana will play each other two more times – the next matchup coming a week from tonight – and those games will go a long way toward determining which will enter the postseason with a decent head of steam.

So whether we are talking playoff positioning or the MVP award, the race is far from over. This week’s rankings are only a last-day-of-winter heat check.

But for now, LeBron’s failures during March outweigh his triumphs.

And that means he drops one spot behind Griffin, who hasn’t scored fewer than 20 points since Jan. 18. That’s 28 in a row for those who may be wondering. Oh, by the way, the Clippers have more victories (48) than the Heat (46), in case you needed a little extra convincing.

So on to the rankings we go …

RANK PLAYER RUNDOWN LAST
1 KEVIN DURANT, F, OKLAHOMA CITY: How long until we start hearing conjecture about him joining the Lakers … or the Knicks. His contract is up in 2016, and all that hoops journalism is about these days is speculating about what will happen on July 1 — of this year, or beyond. Yes, I am overdramatizing. But free agency speculation is waaaaay out of control. 1
2 LAC_Griffin_Blake BLAKE GRIFFIN, F, LA CLIPPERS: Besides the intro, here’s another factoid: Griffin is a better endorser than James when it comes to selling cars. Just ask the folks at Kia. But in all seriousness, Griffin has scored 20 or more points 46 times to LeBron’s 52. But in 2014, Griffin leads ‘Bron, 40-39. 3
3 LeBRON JAMES, F, MIAMI:  I am not hating on him, OK? If I was starting a team from scratch, he’s the first player I would take because of his overall skills and his astounding level of confidence — a trait that has only has manifested itself in the past two years. But let’s face it: ‘Bron’s team should be playing at a higher level, kicking things into gear the way they did last season. 2
4 Charlotte Bobcats AL JEFFERSON, C, CHARLOTTE: Once you get below No. 3, this exercise gets tricky. So what puts Big Al in this slot? Two words: Mike Dunlap. You want a further explanation? Folks … this team was 21-61 a year ago, OK? The East’s POW is the linchpin in one of the biggest franchise turnarounds we’ve seen in years. 7
5 Chicago Bulls Media Day JOAKIM NOAH, C, CHICAGO: This podcast veered toward Coach of the Year, and a strong case can be made that Tom Thibodeau is the most deserving man out there — largely because of this guy, the best passing big man I have seen since David Robinson. The William Hill betting offers include a 70-1 price on the Bulls winning the title. 5
6 TOR_Lowry_Kyle KYLE LOWRY, TORONTO: Every week someone breaks in with a bullet, a testament to me being fickle and running super hot and super cold. Yes, it seems there should be someone from the 50-win Spurs in this slot, but that team is a special case. This guy has been spectacular since the Rudy Gay trade, especially lately. He’s going to make big, big bucks as a free agent this summer. -
7 JAMES HARDEN, G, HOUSTON: When we get down to seventh and beyond, there is very little differentiating the candidates, all of whom will draw fifth-place votes when the ballots are sent out. One of the most interesting subplots will be who is fourth and who is fifth. By the way, I know it is old news and all, but WHAT THE HECK WERE THE THUNDER THINKING WHEN THEY TRADED THIS GUY?! 7
8 Warriors STEPHEN CURRY, G, GOLDEN STATE: The best golfer on this list, which is worth something, right? Or maybe it’s just that my golf deprivation is so acute as the endless winter that has gripped New York shows no signs of abating. On a more serious note, the Splash Bros. – Curry and Klay Thompson – are the first teammates to combine for 400 3-pointers in consecutive seasons 6
9 WAS_Wall_ John JOHN WALL, G, WASHINGTON: Fouled out in overtime vs. the Kings on Tuesday and looked like the second-best point guard on the floor. But that is a testament to the skills of Isaiah Thomas, who rang up a triple-double and gets his share of love in our Most Improved Rankings. As for Wall, he’s shooting 48 percent in his last 10 games, and Wiz still have a chance at a top 4 seed. 9
10 Carmelo_Anthony_Headshot CARMELO ANTHONY, F, NEW YORK: Yes, you may recoil in disgust – especially those in Indiana who are witnessing the first of these rankings without Paul George. But the fact is that NY takes straight wins into tonight vs. the Pacers, and Melo has been carrying them. By the way, my take on Phil Jackson’s newser was that Mike Woodson is out if Knicks miss the playoffs. -

DROPPED OUT: Goran Dragic (8), Paul George (10).

MORE RANKINGS: Rookies | Most Improved | Sixth Man | Power Rankings

PREVIOUS RANKINGS:

March 12 Edition: Kevin Durant is Still No. 1 For Me
March 5 Edition: What Do the Readers Say?
Feb. 26 Edition: Why The Knicks Stink and ‘Melo Isn’t Worthy
Feb. 19 Edition: Who is the LeBron James of NBA Writers?
Feb. 12 Edition: Like a Frozen Block of Ice
Feb. 5 Edition: The Benefits of Riding Solo
Jan. 29 Edition: Is The Race Over?
Jan. 22 Edition: KD Rocks the Hard Rock
Jan. 15 Edition: Where Will Adam Silver Be Hated First?
Jan. 8 Edition: Vegas Baby, Vegas
Jan. 1 Edition: Good Riddance, 2013
Dec. 25 Edition: LBJ and Wi Tu Lo
Dec. 18 Edition: Aldridge Moves to No. 1
Dec. 11 Edition: Still Limited Love for LeBron
Dec. 4 Edition: Paul George Back at No. 1
Nov. 27 Edition: Viva Tony Parker
Nov. 20 Edition: Durant takes over No. 1 spot.
Nov. 13 Edition: Paul George is No. 1.

Chris Sheridan is publisher and editor-in-chief of SheridanHoops.com. Follow him on Twitter.

MVP Debate: Is Blake Griffin More Worthy than LeBron James?

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LAC_Griffin_BlakeLeBron James headshotA lot has happened since our MVP rankings were published on Wednesday.

The Heat have not lost five out of six, blowing a chance to surpass Indiana in the Eastern Conference standings, and the Los Angeles Clippers won their 10th in a row Friday night by defeating Utah as Blake Griffin reached 20 points for the 25th consecutive game.

I had Griffin ranked third and James ranked second behind Kevin Durant in the latest edition of the MVP ranks, and now I am leaning toward elevating Griffin to the No. 2 spot in the next edition of the ranks.

Is that a fair thing to do?

I will listen to the advice our readers provide in the poll published below, and from whatever comments are entered in the comments section. It seems sacrilegious to list James as the third wheel in any context, but perhaps this is the exception.

Thanks for voting. The percentage results will appear after you cast your ballot.

Sheridan’s MVP Rankings, March 12 Edition: Durant Still No. 1 For Me

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Tthanksforvotinghanks 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 …

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Sheridan’s MVP Rankings, Feb. 26 Edition: Why the Knicks stink and ‘Melo isn’t worthy

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Carmelo AnthonyThis keeps happening: I watch the Knicks lose, then I switch the channel and marvel at an ex-Knick leading his team.

It happened again Monday night, when New York was losing to Dallas on Dirk Nowitzki’s lucky bounce at the buzzer, and one click of the remote control brought me to Clippers-Pelicans, where Jamal Crawford was burying another seven 3-pointers.

Crawford was once a Knick. So was David Lee. And Zach Randolph. And Channing Frye.

Any of those guys might make a nice second option for New York behind Carmelo Anthony, whose epic scoring nights are going for naught as the season slips away from the Knicks amid a flurry of off-the-court action – from Metta World Peace and Beno Udrih getting bought out to Raymond Felton getting arrested for having a semi-automatic firearm to ‘Melo uttering another blast of venom that must be put through an interpreter to decide whether it was a red flag that he plans to leave.

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