Draymond Green received the most first-place votes but lost a very close Defensive Player of the Year race to Kawhi Leonard.
This would not have changed the winner, but…
First off, an apology is needed to Golden State Warriors forward Draymond Green.
On this ballot, a Defensive Player of the Year award was one of the selections, and Green was completely ignored. He deserves consideration, and may just win the award though he wasn’t picked on my ballot.
When thinking of the candidates, Green’s name just slipped my mind, as Los Angeles Clippers center DeAndre Jordan, Memphis center Marc Gasol, and San Antonio’s Kawhi Leonard were the selections made. Once it was discovered Green was forgotten, a change was sought but after selections are submitted, all votes are final.
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I guess kudos to Young for admitting his mistake. It obviously would have been better not to make it in the first place, but once he did, he didn’t have to reveal it. His ballot – in order: Jordan, Leonard, Gasol – was reasonable enough. Two other voters selected the same three players (though in a different order).
Young certainly isn’t the first voter to make a mistake. Not everyone admits it, though.
But how does this happen?
When we picked awards, I made long lists of candidates and pared them down so I wouldn’t forget anyone. I ordered players, revised and re-revised. And those were fake votes that don’t count toward anything.
Players have contract incentives tied to awards like Defensive Player of the Year, and those honors sway legacies.
Since ballots became public last year, we’ve learned more about voting practices – and it’s not all pretty. Though most voters do a good job, there’s a definite bias toward teams they cover – especially among team-employed media. And many of the choices raise the question of how serious voters take the process.
I want to believe Young’s gaffe was an isolated incident, but it seems increasingly seems unlikely. A lot of blame will get pinned on him, but he’s the rare voter who not only admitted his mistake, but recognized it in the first place. Do the three voters who put LeBron James on their Defensive Player of the Year ballot even realize how little he cared about that end of the floor for most of this season?
Saying the NBA-awards process is broken is an overstatement, but it has major flaws. Young’s ballot is only one small example.