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Winderman: Playoffs should count toward post-season awards

Apr 12, 2011, 5:22 PM EDT

Memphis Grizzlies v Chicago Bulls Getty Images

Every year the process feels dirty, for some reason this season more so than others.

Why, exactly, do NBA award ballots have to be in to the league office by Thursday?

Why can’t the playoffs count, especially since many consider those the only games that matter, anyway?

This isn’t baseball, when you play a six-month regular season and a one-month postseason. This is a sport where the postseason lasts two months, roughly a quarter of the overall process.

Yes, we appreciate that the postseason is exclusionary, not everyone makes it.

But most do, 16 of 30 teams. (Also known as the only teams we care about, anyway.)

More to the point, virtually every voter factors in winning, with most making it a primary component. The most meaningful winning comes now.

Granted, it would be unfair with some ballots. So keep an end-of-the-regular-season deadline for Rookie of the Year, since leading candidates are drafted by dreadful teams. (But wouldn’t the view on Landry Fields or Gary Neal change with a solid postseason?)

David Stern’s response to this has been that the NBA already has an award for the postseason, namely MVP of the Finals. But that is just for one series, not for all four rounds.

And while it would delay the ceremonies, remove those lavish pregame presentations during the playoffs, Major League Baseball has done just fine doling out its hardware as late as Thanksgiving. And the NHL captures Canada’s collective attention with their postseason awards gala.

Heck, July announcements this offseason would take some of the gloom off the lockout.

If Derrick Rose goes out in the second round to Orlando and LeBron and Kobe and Dwight play on, will this season truly be remembered for Rose’s breakout?

If Chris Paul stirs up playoff magic, will there be second-guessing over the All-NBA first team?

Thursday is too early of a deadline. And this is not like those mayoral recalls sweeping the nation. No second chances here to make things right.

This is one and done. Even if the process gets done too early.

In the NBA, true MVPs aren’t the ones at the top of ballots in mid April.

They’re the ones standing in mid June.

Ira Winderman writes regularly for and covers the Heat and the NBA for the South Florida Sun-Sentinel. You can follow him on Twitter at

  1. bearsbulls34 - Apr 12, 2011 at 5:39 PM

    Well then, you might as well take away the last several MVP awards, seeing as how LeBron, Kobe, Dirk, and Nash were unable to win Championships the same year they won their awards.

    • philtration - Apr 12, 2011 at 10:52 PM

      Yes but this is yet another attempt to bash Derrick Rose so none of that matters.

      If the Bulls went undefeated in the playoffs and Rose average 40 points a game PBT would still be crying for some weird reason.
      Let it go already.

      • Kurt Helin - Apr 12, 2011 at 10:55 PM

        Bulls fans are to Rose as Lakers fans are to Kobe.

  2. jsarge99 - Apr 12, 2011 at 5:40 PM

    It was designed for great players on bad teams, but since the best player on the best team usually wins now, it doesn’t matter.

  3. denverhoopdreams - Apr 12, 2011 at 5:45 PM

    Ira, you just want LeBron to get a chance at it if they blow up in the playoffs. It’s okay.. I feel you on this.. I don’t know why it hasn’t been done this way since the beggining.

  4. hoopsfanatic - Apr 12, 2011 at 6:22 PM

    The idea of allowing the playoffs to count towards awards such as MVP is interesting, and, obviously, has been debated before. I have a couple of thoughts on this matter. First, the NBA regular season is 82 games and therefore long enough for awards to be justified and handed out. Second, the NBA already has the Finals MVP to be awarded during the championship series. Third, a better argument, in my opinion, is giving consideration for a playoff MVP. The Finals MVP is exclusively awarded for the championship series. However, the league could begin to hand out an award for the player with the best overall playoff performance. This could be the same player who wins the Finals MVP. But it could also be given to a player who lost in the earlier rounds, yet put up great numbers.

  5. vanhenge1234 - Apr 12, 2011 at 6:57 PM

    I’m confused. Is the new argument now that D.Rose shouldn’t be MVP because the Bulls aren’t really that good? I thought it was that he shouldn’t be MVP because the Bulls depth and defense is the real star, and better than Miami’s or Orlando’s?

    If the bulls don’t make conference finals, it would be a let down for sure. Should that discount having gotten to 60 wins? Especially having done so with at least one core player (Boozer or Noah) missing 3/4 of the season? That’s MVP stuff.

    Look at the end of the Orlando game (or any part of it for that matter). Yes, the only reason it was close is because the Bulls D did not show up, but who got them the W? Can stop D.Rose from getting to the hole (save a hard foul from Howard) I’ll take him as my MVP any day of the week.

  6. davidly - Apr 12, 2011 at 7:36 PM

    What I’d like to know is: Why do all the points count towards the players totals in career scoring, but when it comes to total coaching victories, they only ever talk about the regular season?

    • hoopsfanatic - Apr 12, 2011 at 8:03 PM

      Playoff scoring is kept separate from regular season scoring. I do believe Michael Jordan is the all-time career leader in playoff scoring in NBA history. However, his playoff scoring totals do not count towards his total career points.

      • davidly - Apr 12, 2011 at 9:25 PM

        Thanks. I wasn’t aware of that, obviously.

  7. thestudiokida - Apr 12, 2011 at 10:39 PM

    This is a great idea and no it wouldn’t take MVPs away from LeBron… just because somebody didn’t win the finals doesn’t make them not an MVP.

    Who it WOULD take an MVP award away from is Dirk Nowitzki. His MVP acceptance ceremony was more embarrassing than LeBron’s The Decision or Miami’s ridiculous welcome party. Dirk got owned in the first round as a 67-13 #1 seed by the lowly no-defense playing Warriors. Thoroughly owned.

  8. philtration - Apr 12, 2011 at 11:05 PM

    Do you even watch basketball Kurt?
    Or are you one of those guys that just likes the cartoon character type players and you base your opinions on whether or not you like a team’s uniform color?

    • savocabol1 - Apr 12, 2011 at 11:26 PM

      Do you even read the articles, or do you just comment negatively because you feel like it?

      Kurt didn’t write this article.

      • philtration - Apr 12, 2011 at 11:28 PM

        No but he did make a dumb reply to my comment.
        Did YOU even read the comments?

      • davidly - Apr 13, 2011 at 2:46 AM

        He was responding to Kurt’s comment: Bulls fans are to Rose as Lakers fans are to Kobe.

      • savocabol1 - Apr 13, 2011 at 8:01 AM

        I did not see that comment. I retract my attempt at bashing you.

  9. philtration - Apr 12, 2011 at 11:27 PM

    As soon as Kurt’s snotty comment started getting some thumbs down votes they were removed.

    This is looking more and more like some 13 year old girls’ Myspace page.

    • davidly - Apr 13, 2011 at 2:52 AM

      The whole thumbs up or down thing is pretty silly to begin with. I’m pretty sure that the more thumbs you see, the greater the influence of the reptilian brain.

  10. dankyb - Apr 12, 2011 at 11:41 PM

    Regular season MVP, Post season MVP, and Finals MVP

  11. chitownmatt - Apr 14, 2011 at 3:59 PM

    The post season should definitely NOT count towards any of the awards.

    The whole awards group is about recognizing players for their individual contributions regardless of their team. Players on teams that don’t make the playoffs would be unfairly handicapped. Think about it, would players on teams that don’t make the second or third round be considered as heavily as players that go to the conference finals or finals?

    The playoffs already have enough rewards….finals mvp and the Larry O’Brien Trophy.

    Most people have Rose, Howard, and LBJ as their 1,2,3 pick for MVP…. I can absolutely guarantee you that ALL three of those guys will not make it past the second round!!!

  12. icu84bs - May 1, 2011 at 9:22 AM

    After reading a lot of Ira Winderman’s items, I long for Kurt Helin’s input (sarcasm alert). Do these two even watch NBA basketball?

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