May 8, 2013, 1:14 PM EDT
Gary Washburn of the Boston Globe gave his first-place MVP vote to Carmelo Anthony, making Washburn the only voter not to choose LeBron James, who won the award with 120 of 121 first-place votes.
Huge kudos to Washburn for explaining himself – he’s under no obligation to reveal that he was the Melo voter – but his defense of his vote didn’t exactly stop the criticism. Via the New York Daily News:
“As far as the guy in Boston, I don’t know why he catches so much flak for that,” Anthony said following Game 2. “He has the right to vote for whoever he want. LeBron won the MVP. Why is everybody so mad that he didn’t win it unanimously? . . . Thank you.”
This whole controversy has been unfair to Melo, who just had the best season of his career. Because of Washburn’s vote, there has been a large discussion about why LeBron is better than Melo. But so what if Melo isn’t as good as LeBron? That’s not exactly a huge flaw. But the onus on finding Melo’s flaws detracts from his successful season when we should be celebrating his scoring title career-low turnover percentage.
And now, just as the fire was dying down, Melo reignites it, even though I get he was just answering a question. In doing so, he says something I believe is wrong.
Nobody is really mad LeBron didn’t win unanimously. Everyone dumbfounded a quality basketball journalist – and Washburn is one – could be so wrong. I won’t rehash all the reasoning, which Zach Lowe of Grantland laid out very well, but it’s ridiculous to believe Melo was more deserving of this award than LeBron.
Instead of directing more questions to Melo (though, one was perfectly fair), if we’re going to keep this controversy alive, let’s further question Washburn. I’ll start. If Melo had won MVP – if, to Washburn’s shock, a majority of voters had agreed with him – does Washburn really believe the right player would have been recognized in history as the 2013 NBA MVP?