Russell Westbrook was named the NBA’s MVP at Monday’s NBA Awards show, running away with 69 first place votes — 47 more than James Harden received in second. Well behind those two Los Angeles natives was Compton’s own DeMar DeRozan, who received one fifth-place vote for the league’s top honour.
MVP voting. Wasn't as close as I thought. I had Harden/Kawhi/Russ/LeBron/Giannis as my top 5 pic.twitter.com/nKnGieLoIu— Vincent Goodwill (@vgoodwill) June 27, 2017
Fifth place votes are ultimately forgotten to history, but it’s still a nice bit of recognition for DeRozan at the end of a career season in which he finished fifth in league scoring (27.3 PPG) while setting career highs in rebounding (5.2 RPG), true shooting percentage (55.2), usage (34.3 (!!)) and PER (24.0). He began the season by scoring 30 or more points in 9 of Toronto’s first 11 games, and closed it by buoying a decapitated Raptors offense while Kyle Lowry was sidelined. In the first season of a five-year, $139 million contract, DeRozan proved his worth to the franchise.
Toronto didn’t receive a ton of recognition this awards season, but there were some other Raptors who figured into the voting:
Dwane Casey: Finished ninth in Coach of the Year voting.
DeMarre Carroll: Finished sixth in voting for the NBA’s Sportsmanship Award (Kemba Walker won it) as the Atlantic Division nominee. Even if his play on the court has been disappointing, Carroll is an undeniably great dude. Maybe stop assaulting his Twitter and Instagram mentions.
2016-17 NBA Sportsmanship Award voting results pic.twitter.com/Hdd2E3YxVh— Rob Lopez (@R0BaTO) June 27, 2017
DeMar DeRozan: In addition to his appearance on the final MVP tally, DeRozan received a single vote as the NBA’s Most Improved Player — an award won in a runaway by Giannis Antetokounmpo. This was a season of statistical breakouts, so it’s understandable that DeRozan’s jump up to fifth in league scoring may have been overshadowed somewhat.
Masai Ujiri: Like Coach of the Year, Executive of the Year was a loaded category this season. As it turns out, the incompetent front office people are concentrated to a few epicenters of dumbassery. Still, it seems odd that Ujiri, who pulled off a pair of acclaimed, all-in trade deadline deals received just a pair of third-place votes, finishing 15th. Perhaps he was hurt by the amorphous nature of the Raptors’ front office. Either way, the result deserves no more outrage than a shoulder shrug.
The award is inherently flawed. A one-year sampling of an executive’s work hardly does justice to the long-term planning it requires to build a winning organization. At least Bob Myers was rightfully voted as this year’s winner, though.
2016-17 NBA Executive of the Year Award voting results pic.twitter.com/wQhsuSiTjX— Rob Lopez (@R0BaTO) June 27, 2017
What are your thoughts on this year’s awards voting?