LeBron James was awarded his fourth MVP title this weekend and he almost made history with a unanimous vote. However, all but one vote went his way. That one vote, made by the Boston Globe’s Gary Washburn, went to Carmelo Anthony.
Throughout the entire year, I expected James to win the MVP. He did everything that made him the best candidate for the award. But the reasoning by Washburn for Anthony made some sense to me.
“I just honestly felt that Carmelo Anthony lifted the Knicks to new heights this season – a No. 2 seed and their first division title in 19 years – with an aging roster, the team’s second-best player [Amar’e Stoudemire] out most of the season and a myriad of other injuries,” Washburn told Yahoo! Sports. “LeBron James is unquestionably the best player in the league, but I felt this season Anthony had more value to his team.”
And in a sense, I agree.
The MVP award should not go to the best player on the best team always. Sometimes it does and it’s justified. Other times it’s just given to a player that had the best statistical year. But for me, I truly believe it is given to the guy that’s most valuable.
Washburn’s assessment of Anthony says that without Stoudemire, he still brought the team to new heights. That is a fair way to look at it, but for me, it’s a little different.
Entering this year, James was already in the discussion to win the MVP award. This is before the season started. But like many things in the NBA, things are predestined to happen. It’s predictable.
James winning the award is no surprise. This is not to take away his contributions, but it’s kind of hard to take a real value to it when there is little to no surprise.
Anthony on the other hand, surprised me. I knew he was a great scorer, but not to the level where he could beat Kevin Durant for the scoring title. I didn’t think that he could be that kind of a leader for the Knicks, yet he did so without Stoudemire for the majority of the season. The Knicks don’t make the playoffs without Anthony. The Heat still make the playoffs without James.
To me, that’s what the MOST VALUABLE Player award is all about. How valuable is a certain player to a certain team? Both James and Anthony are valuable, but Melo’s presence means just a little more to his team.
I don’t disagree with James winning the award. But I am glad that Washburn seriously considered Anthony’s value to the Knicks and gave him a vote. It wasn’t the popular decision, but I think it was justified.
Here’s Washburn’s column explaining his reasoning.