Michele Roberts is giving the players what they want as the new executive director of the National Basketball Players Association (the NBA players’ union). She knows she needs their loyalty during the looming 2017 lockout, so she’s trying to build up good will now. She’s doing the little things that resonate with players. Like questioning why there are media in the locker rooms before games. Or pushing back against the owners on the age limit.
Or giving the players their own chance to vote on the big NBA awards (most postseason awards, such as MVP or Rookie of the Year, are voted on by the media).
The first ever “Players’ Awards” will take place July 19 at the Rio hotel in Las Vegas (and be broadcast on BET July 21). Every NBA player was given the opportunity to vote in a variety of categories, and Thursday the list of nominees was released.
Here they are:
Global Impact Player
Coach You Most Want to Play For
Hardest to Guard
Best Home Court Advantage
AT&T Center (San Antonio)
Chesapeake Energy Arena (Oklahoma City)
Moda Center (Portland)
Oracle Arena (Golden State)
Player You Secretly Wish was On Your Team:
Most Valuable Player:
That list looks pretty similar to the media awards, upon first glance. Save for no Kawhi Leonard or Draymond Green as best defenders. Also, no LeBron James or Kobe Bryant in the category naming the players with the greatest global impact?
Whether you think these awards are more fair or accurate than the traditional media ones largely will depend on whether your guy wins in his category. For example, don’t be shocked if James Harden wins the Players Award MVP, so if you were a Harden guy you will think the players got it right after the media screwed it up.
I’ll just say this: Don’t think they are less biased than the media. Players have a lot of agendas — they will vote for guys with the same agent, AAU buddies, their friends, and on down the line. There is plenty of bias to go around.