Miami Heat v Atlanta Hawks

Nine voters leave LeBron James off MVP ballot completely


It’s time for the annual cry for transparency in the NBA’s MVP voting.

Because if you’re a media member with an MVP vote, you should be able to defend your choices. If you are one of the seven people who did not vote Derrick Rose first, you should be able to explain that. And for the one person who put Kobe Bryant first, we’d really like to hear that explaination.

Or, if you were the person who put Blake Griffin third, we’d all love to hear how you got there.

But the biggest mistake this year — nine voters did not have LeBron James on any of their five votes. (Piston Powered noticed first on twitter, via Tom Ziller.)

If you had an MVP ballot (we didn’t) you have to fill in spots one through five. Nine people did not think LeBron James qualified in the top five in the MVP voting. LeBron who averaged 26.7 points, 7.5 rebounds and 7 assists per game not in the top 5. Did they see the Cavaliers drop off? The Heat’s improvement? Whether you count MVP as best player, most valuable to team, best player on a good team — whatever your criteria James is in your Top 5.

Dwight Howard was left off two ballots, I’d be curious to hear the logic there, too. Kobe Bryant was left of 17.

The argument that this should be a secret ballot so you can vote how your really feel holds no weight — this is MVP of the NBA, not president. This is sports, it’s not really important. We discuss and argue sports all the time. You should be able to defend your logic. Really, you should be able to defend your political votes, too, but one hurdle at a time.

Khris Middleton dunks, Jimmy Butler can’t stop him (VIDEO)

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Khris Middleton has more expectations and more pressure on him after a breakout season in Milwaukee, followed by him getting him PAID this summer.

Well, he looked pretty good on this play against the Bulls, making the steal then throwing down despite Jimmy Butler‘s efforts to stop him.

Middleton finished with 10 points on 5-of-7 shooting for the Bucks. However, Butler had the last laugh as he went off for 23 points on 12 shots and led the Bulls to the (meaningless) preseason win.

Somebody looks comfortable: Paul George drops 20 in first quarter

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Paul George‘s first experience starting as a power forward was going up against Anthony Davis — not just one of the best power forwards in the game, one of the handful of best players in the game period. That didn’t go well for George, and he wasn’t happy about it.

His second experience was in another preseason game Tuesday, going up against the Pistons and their four, Ersan İlyasova. He’s not quite as intimidating.

George scored 20 points on 7-of-8 shooting, 4-of-5 on threes — and that was just the first quarter (you can see it all in the video above).

As we have said before, George at the four is not a bad call by the Pacers, but some of that depends on the matchup. On the nights the Pacers face Davis or Blake Griffin or LaMarcus Aldridge or Zach Randolph (or a handful of others) the Pacers’ coaching staff is going to have to adjust. But there are a lot of nights where George at the four is going to force the other team to adjust, and that will play into the Pacers’ hands.