Pindowns: Time for a new award — ‘The MVP, other than LeBron’

LeBron James of the Cavaliers was the real NBA MVP.

LeBron James comes to a team, it goes to the NBA Finals. LeBron James leaves a team, it languishes in either mediocrity (Miami) or purgatory (Cleveland, both times).

For the fifth consecutive season, James didn’t win the NBA’s Most Valuable Player award Monday night. He has not won it since the 2012-13 season.

LeBron has finished among the top five in MVP voting an NBA-record 13 times (and he was sixth in 2005), but as was the case with the iconic Michael Jordan before him, he’s being penalized for being too good. The league is suffering from LeBron Fatigue. He’s won the award only four times.

Change the name of the award, already.

Try this, “The NBA MVP… other than LeBron.”

James Harden, who couldn’t win in Houston until Chris Paul arrived, was named MVP in a landslide Monday night. The team of the league’s MVP spit the bit in the Western Conference Finals, blowing a 3-2 lead to eventual champion Golden State after Paul went down with an injured right hamstring, leaving Harden to carry the load. Oops.

Meanwhile, Kyrie Irving asks and is sent out of Cleveland to Boston and James still gets his team to the Finals for an eighth consecutive season.

James bested Harden in points (2,241 to 2,170), rebounds (704 to 385), assists (745 to 620), field-goal percentage (54.3 to 45.0), 3-point percentage (36.9 to 36.6), minutes played (3,015 to 2,520), game played (82 to 71) and triple-doubles (18-4)… all in the regular season, on which the award is based… and ended April 11, more than two months ago.

Credibility, we hardly knew ye…

P.S. A coach (Dwane Casey, late of the Raptors now of the Pistons) who was fired was named Coach of the Year, the Rookie of the Year (Ben Simmons of the 76ers) is in his second season earning a paycheck in the league and should have won Comeback Player of the Year instead and the Defensive Player of the Year (Rudy Gobert of the Jazz) played in exactly 56 games season.


With Harden being named MVP on Monday night, the Oklahoma City Thunder, with apologies to Franklin Delano Roosevelt, will live in infamy.

(On a side note, very neat of Harden to bring his mom, Monja Willis, on stage to accept the prestigious honor. Well done, Beard).

For the Thunder became the first team in the history of the NBA to draft three future MVPs in consecutive seasons (2007 through 2009, by general manager Sam Presti) — Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook and Harden — according to ESPN Stats & Info.

Actually, that’s not accurate.

The Seattle SuperSonics actually drafted Durant and Westbrook before the franchise was stolen and moved to Oklahoma City.

All the more reason for OKC to go down in infamy.

Sixth sense

Jordan Clarkson and Rodney Hood of the Cavaliers both received votes for the NBA Sixth Man award.

Clarkson received one second-place vote and two thirds, finishing tied for sixth, while Hood received one third-place vote, finishing tied for 10th.

We can only assume those votes were based on how Clarkson and Hood played with their former teams, the Lakers and the Jazz, respectively.

The (front) office

Cavaliers general manager Koby Altman finished tied for 10th in voting for Executive of the Year.

In his first season at the helm, Altman earned one second-place vote and one third-place vote.

Money matters

The NBA has raised the available credit line of owners to $325 million, a $75-million increase that could soften the impact of higher-team payrolls and luxury-tax penalties next season, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.

According to Wojnarowski, the Board of Governors unanimously passed the increased debt limit in a vote Friday, which should be good news to Cleveland and Golden State, the teams with the highest payrolls in the league and that have met in the last four NBA Finals.

The NBA last raised the owners’ debt limit in 2014, soon after the league completed a new $2.6 billion media deal.