During halftime of yesterday’s Cavs/Celtics game, Michael Wilbon and Jon Barry were discussing various elements of the first half. With LeBron James getting it done at both ends of the floor, Wilbon mentioned that his play in a game of yesterday’s magnitude was why LeBron James “is the MVP.” Barry’s reply was:
Well, he’s in the discussion, yes.
Well isn’t that nice of Mr. Barry to put him in the discussion. And as of today, we see why Barry refused to admit that James is the MVP. ESPN published a list of a handful of ESPN, ESPN the Magazine and ESPN NBA analysts, laying out their choices for the 2009 NBA MVP award. Of the 18 panelists, only one – Jon Barry – decided to not choose LeBron James as his MVP. After the jump, we lay out the logic of all 18 ballots.
Henry Abbott – LeBron James
When the best record in the league comes from a team revolving around an individual performance for the ages, don’t you have to pick that guy?
JA Adande – LeBron James
Believe it or not, his defining moment came in a ‘W’ versus the Clippers.
Jon Barry – Dwyane Wade
My criteria: Who has had the best season? Wade’s the one.
Maurice Brooks – LeBron James
Kudos to Kobe and D-Wade, but those two superstars don’t belong in the same breath as LeBron this season.
Chris Broussard – LeBron James
Already terrific statistics would’ve been even better if he hadn’t spent so much time on the bench in the fourth quarter of Cavs blowouts.
Ric Bucher – LeBron James
If ever there was a year I wanted to split my first-place vote, this was it. My main quibble with James is he hasn’t fully tapped his potential.
Chad Ford – LeBron James
LeBron is the best player in the game, and he’s playing on the team with the best record in the league. If he’s not the unanimous pick for MVP, it’s a crime.
LZ Granderson – LeBron James
No other player instills confidence the way LeBron does.
Jamele Hill – LeBron James
King James’ triple-double spree made this a special campaign, and he was a legitimate candidate for defensive POY.
John Hollinger – LeBron James
James has had a historic, Jordan-esque season while his team unexpectedly has posted the league’s best record, and he is an obvious choice over Dwight Howard, Dwyane Wade, Chris Paul and Kobe Bryant
Tim Legler – LeBron James
No player is more directly responsible for his team’s success than LeBron.
Eric Neel – LeBron James
The dominant player in the league from day one. Continues to improve his individual game while also enabling and inspiring his supporting cast.
Chris Palmer – LeBron James
By throwing down the best individual season since MJ’s 32, 8 and 8 in 1992, James has surpassed lofty expectations and earned the right to be called the game’s best player.
Jack Ramsey – LeBron James
James pretty much carried the Cavs to best record in the NBA with tremendous play at both ends of the court.
Jalen Rose – LeBron James
His team has been getting it done from buzzer to buzzer and has lost only once at home all season.
Chris Sheridan – LeBron James
I reserve the right to change my final decisions between now and Thursday morning, yet any change would come in the 4 and 5 slots.
Marc Stein – LeBron James
When you factor in all the variables — numbers, versatility, intangibles, team success, overall stature, etc. — it’s a pretty easy choice.
David Thorpe – LeBron James
It seems clear-cut to me. James is the most efficiently productive player in basketball.
I’m not sure if Brent Barry also hates LeBron James, but after Rick Barry made comments about James earlier this year, I think we’re just a soundbyte short of a Hater Trifecta.
For the entire roundtable, head to ESPN.com. Thanks to the wonder of the Internets, we can go back to last year’s roundtable and see the criteria that each representative claims as their foundation for selection.
As Craig pointed out, Jamele Hill appears to have changed her basis between the two years, but at least she got it right this time around. Unfortunately, Jon Barry was not invited to last years, so his vote – which obviously would have went to LeBron James based on the “best season” – did not get cast.
He’s in the “discussion.”