MIAMI (CBSMiami) – What is the definition of the “most valuable player?” The NBA doesn’t define it for voters, but nearly every voter this year said Miami Heat superstar LeBron James was it. The lone holdout turned out to be Boston Globe writer Gary Washburn.
Instead of picking James, as 120 other voters for the MVP award did, Washburn picked New York Knicks forward Carmelo Anthony.
“This isn’t the best player in the game award, it’s the most valuable player award, and I think what (Carmelo) Anthony accomplished this season was worthy of my vote. He led the (New York) Knicks to their first division title in 19 years. That’s a long time ago,” Washburn wrote.
Going by a strictly numbers comparison, LeBron averaged 26.8 points, 8 rebounds, 7.3 assists, and 1.7 steals per game while shooting 56.5 percent from the field and 40.6 percent from behind the three-point line.
Carmelo averaged 28.7 points, 6.9 rebounds, 2.6 assists, and 0.8 steals per game while shooting 44.9 percent from the field and 37.9 percent from behind the three-point line.
Outside of a 1.9 points per game difference in scoring, LeBron outpaced Carmelo in every major statistical category.
In the advanced statistical categories, LeBron ranked first in the NBA in offensive win share, or an estimate of the number of wins contributed to a team by a player’s offense. Carmelo ranked ninth in the league in offensive win share.
Defensive win share saw LeBron ranked eighth in the league while Carmelo ranked 113th in the league in DWS.
Finally in pure win share, LeBron ranked first in the league at 19.3 while Caremlo ranked 14th, behind LeBron’s teammate Dwyane Wade who was 13th.
So why did Washburn pick Carmelo over LeBron, “If you were to take Anthony off the Knicks, they are a lottery team. James plays with two other All-Stars, the league’s all-time 3-point leader, a defensive stalwart, and a fearless point guard. The Heat are loaded…He is the best player of this generation, a multifaceted superstar with the physical prowess of Adonis, but I chose to reward a player who has lifted his team to new heights.”
Washburn’s pick ensured once again that no player has ever won the MVP unanimously in NBA history. In the end, it matters little because for LeBron and the rest of the Heat, the MVP award is secondary to the team first goal of winning an NBA championship.