NEW YORK—Last season, Kevin Durant won his first NBA MVP award. This year, he was selected as a Western Conference All-Star despite missing more than half of the Thunder’s games. He’s clearly one of the most widely respected players around the league, and deservedly so. He’s arguably the second-best player in the world.
Now, Durant wants to change the way the end-of-season awards are given out. He wants to take it out of the hands of the media and put it into the hands of players.
“They have too much power,” Durant said at All-Star Media Day in Manhattan on Friday. “The players know each other inside and out. The media isn’t in the film room and goes for sexy names.”
It’s certainly an interesting argument to make. Players have a unique perspective about which of their peers are most valuable to a team. It would likely cause a change in the way the voting shakes out, with some more under-the-radar names getting attention.
But there really isn’t a lot wrong with the current system. By and large, the most deserving players win the awards. At least the big ones. There’s no arguing that Durant was the clear deserving MVP last year, or that LeBron James was the two seasons previously. Rookie of the Year is also an easy one to get right. It’s the smaller awards, like Most Improved Player, Defensive Player of the Year and Sixth Man of the Year, which require more nuanced understanding of team chemistry and often go to smaller names, that could be impacted if the NBA were to hypothetically adopt Durant’s suggestion.
It’s a nice thought and a good conversation starter. But it’s highly unlikely that the league makes this change unless there’s a groundswell of support that hasn’t been there.