[James Harden making an appearance to get his “Since the media voted for Steph, we gone give you this shit” trophy at the NBPA Player’s Awards]
I’m not a hashtag chaser, so I usually write about whatever inspires me at the time, and today, after seeing another dumb ass meme using pictures of MVP trophies and other various awards to debate who’s a better player between the usual suspects, I decided to touch on the fallacy of the NBA awards. All of them.
A few weeks ago, Kevin Durant voiced his opinion on the omission of James Harden from the ALL NBA Team(s). I figured that James Harden was popular with most of the players in the league when he won the Most Valuable Player award last year at the NBPA Player’s Awards, but some of the shit that Durant said didn’t make much sense to me.
Kevin Durant, who is a former NBA MVP, former scoring champion, and a current nominee for theDAMNtruth “Soft Nigga of the Year Award”, had this to say :
“Nobody really appreciates what he does except for the players in our league,” …. “Everybody on the outside doesn’t really appreciate what he brings. Anybody that can put up 29 points, seven rebounds, seven assists and not make the All-NBA team, that’s like a sin to even think about not putting a guy like that on the All-NBA team.”- Kevin Durant
Based off of the numbers, there is more than a strong enough case for James Harden to have made an All NBA Team this year; I don’t think that shit is up for a debate. My contention is that everything isn’t always about numbers, and Kevin Durant is thinking too highly of a system that doesn’t care about meritocracy.
Let me paint this picture a bit clearer. Last year, James Harden’s season stats were 27.4 points, 5.7 rebounds, & 7 assist a game. He averaged LESS points (29pts), LESS rebounds (6.1, correction to KD’s quote) , LESS assist (7.5) than he did last year, but he was voted to the ALL NBA FIRST TEAM in the 2014-2015 season. In his career, he also has a NBA 6th Man of the Year award, so this makes Kevin Durant’s comment of “Nobody really appreciates what he does except the players in our league” a bit nonsensical.
[After having his face caved in 2015, he came back rocking a face mask to score 49pts, 16rbs & 10ast]
In 2014-2015, Russell Westbrook put up 28.1 ppg, 7.3 rpg, 8.6 apg, & 2.09 spg, in an injury plagued season for the Oklahoma City Thunder. Although all of these numbers are individually better than what Harden was able to put up, Westbrook was only able to crack the All NBA Second team. Once again, it isn’t always solely about the box score. There are variables that contribute and detract to where people are placed, and most of the time, the shit is veiled and political.
If you were to ask the casual basketball fan, (or even that one nigga who claims he’s a huge fan but only watches highlights of niggas like Jason Williams on Facebook and then says he’s a top 3 all time point guard) what the actual NBA Award voting process consisted of, more times than not, they wouldn’t be able to tell you shit, and that maybe by design.
The NBA’s voting process is the most fucked up, political piece of shit construct that you will ever see. For instance, the voting panel for the All NBA Teams consist of a dynamically changing committee of over a 115 individuals from the media and various NBA team personnel from varying markets. There are no guidelines. There are no criteria. There is no accountability. The voting process, for the most part, is purely in the dark. No one is required to reveal their vote, nor or they even required to reveal that they have a vote. It is purely there to facilitate the NBA’s marketing of it’s talent and for members of the media to create their own headlines as to why Player A won over Player B.
Voting for the All NBA Defensive team is done solely by the 30 NBA coaches in the league, but voting for the Defensive Player of the Year is done by a select few NBA beat writers and broadcasters. Yep, you niggas heard that right. The people who vote for the ALL NBA Defensive teams do NOT vote for who is Defensive Player of the Year. You know why? Because fuck you, that’s why…
The NBA Awards are plot devices used in order to facilitate a 7 and a half month long KIA commercial. If the cards are dealt correctly, they’re also used to make players who spent six seasons in Dallas being a relatively above average player come across as an all time great point guard after entering a system that gave the illusion that he “made his teammates better” by always, (I mean always) referring to him as “Two Time MVP” before his name is uttered in any and all capacities ever.
It’s business, and everything is subjective rather than objective, and that’s exactly how they like it because there is more money to made in emotion rather than facts.