Compare Haupt’s ballot to a voter who is more in line with the consensus, like ESPN’s Rachel Nichols. Overall, Nichols had a fairly uncontroversial ballot with the only real contrarian choice coming from her Most Improved Player ballot, which featured Zion Williamson. Nichols was the only voter that had Williamson on their Most Improved ballot.
Any ole yokel can take a screenshot of an awards ballot and dunk on an unsuspecting media member. But The F5 holds itself to a marginally higher standard. So over the last few days, I combed through every NBA awards ballot to mathematically rank media members by how far their votes deviated from the consensus. The math that goes into the formula for ranking voters is straight forward, but extremely dull. In short, I calculated how many standard deviations each voter’s ballot is from the consensus ballot. If you’re interested in reading the full methodology, check the footnotes1.
The big takeaway here is that Max Haupt, a first-time voter (and probably last-time voter — more on that in a moment) covering the NBA for Deutsche Presse-Agentur, has by far the most unique collection of ballots out of any awards voter. His MVP, Coach of the Year, and All-Defensive Team ballots are each two or more standard deviations away from the consensus. That number by itself doesn’t carry much meaning, so let’s look into the specifics behind why these values shake out the way they do.
Ultimately, Haupt’s MVP ballot is what pushed him so far out to right on the contrarian scale. To begin, he gave Luka Doncic a second-place vote when no one else gave him anything higher than a fourth-place vote. Additionally, he was one of only five voters to give Stephen Curry a first-place vote and the only voter to omit Nikola Jokic entirely from his MVP ballot. Instead of putting Jokic on his MVP ballot, Haupt made the objectively unique choice of giving Russell Westbrook and Ben Simmons a third- and fourth-place MVP vote, respectively.
I’ve done this analysis for the past three seasons and one of the reoccurring trends has been that female media members tend to score lower on the contrarianism scale than male voters. I think part of that has to do with the fact that female media members are more likely to be the subject of ad hominem attacks and unfair criticism from fans for casting an unconventional ballot. So perhaps out of self-preservation, female voters tend to make fewer controversial choices than male voters do. Of the 13 female media members that voted on this year’s awards, only two (The Ringer’s Seerat Sohi and ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne) ranked in the top 50 in terms of contrarianism.
Howard Beck: For those who love to obsess over All-NBA voting... Embiid & Jokic are eligible at *both* C/F, per the official ballot. The following are eligible at both G/F: JBrown, Tatum, LaVine, Luka, LeBron, Kawhi, PG, Butler, Middleton, Simmons, Booker. Let the hand-wringing commence.
Joe Cowley: @JaMorant Ja is a transcendent player- no arguing that. But the ROTY should go to the most impactful. The NBA built a TV schedule around Zion and expanded a bubble for Zion. His 24 games were must-see TV. I'll take that 24-and change PER and stand on that side of history.
Doug Gottlieb: Why does Maria Taylor have a vote? Real question. She is a studio host/sideline reporter in her first year covering the NBA. She works a ton, not just on the league. No reason for her to have a vote https://twitter.com/hmfaigen/status/1307374145135546368
Donovan Mitchell: Because she knows what she talking about ... and worked hard to get where she at... and hooped.... y’all really gotta stop trying @MariaTaylor its corny!
Baron Davis: We have to find another way of voting for These Awards. Everyone who won deserved it. The media and writers whoever else We realize that 10% of the voters actually played basketball.
Jorge Sierra: Some media votes suck, but you may want to think twice before giving more power to players when it comes to selecting award winners. Two beauties from the players vote for the All-Star: * Will Barton ahead of Chris Paul. * Carmelo Anthony four spots ahead of Rudy Gobert.
September 22, 2021 | 11:35 am EDT Update
Philadelphia 76ers coach Doc Rivers wants to change Ben Simmons’ mind. According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, the star guard has told the team that he will not report to training camp next week and does not plan to play for the franchise again. “Well, I hope we can change that thought,” Rivers said on ESPN’s Keyshawn, JWill, and Max on Wednesday morning. “That’s part of our job.”
Marc Farzetta: “We hear it all, but we’re not going to give up on that…I just love how [Ben Simmons] plays. I love a lot of the things that he does for the team…but we have to go through all this to get him back” -Sixers Coach Doc Rivers on @FirstTake
While Rivers wants to change the narrative, he hasn’t had much of a chance this offseason. He was asked how much he’s talked to Simmons. “Not much, but we’ve had some,” he said. “And I get his feelings. I understand where he’s at right now, but we’re going to keep trying to work on it to get him in the right place.”
Adrian Wojnarowski: Free agent G Theo Pinson will go to training camp with the Boston Celtics, sources tell ESPN. Pinson spent parts of his first three NBA seasons with the Nets and Knicks.
Michael Scotto: The Houston Rockets signed Dante Exum to a three-year deal worth $16.22 million if he achieves all bonuses in his contract, league sources told @HoopsHype. Years two and three are non-guaranteed.
Keith Smith: Dante Exum’s contract features likely bonuses, unlikely bonuses and non-guaranteed salary! Current cap hits: 22-23: $5,000,000 23-24: $5,000,000 24-25: $5,000,000 $6.9M in likely bonuses, $1,215,000 in unlikely bonuses. Final two seasons are both fully non-guaranteed. @spotrac
Did you ever wonder what would’ve happened if you didn’t have that injury? Brandon Jennings: I would’ve been an All-Star for sure if I didn’t tear my Achilles, and I believe we would have made the playoffs that year in Detroit, and then I’d end up getting paid. That probably would’ve happened. Then again, who knows what happens after that? I feel like with the injury, that’s when the chaos started happening outside of my career. I felt like with the money, it would’ve probably been more chaos.
When you had that 55-point game, what stuck out to you about it? Was that your favorite NBA moment? Brandon Jennings: The 55-point game was still something I can’t explain. I just got hot, and the ball was just going in. I only scored 10 points in the first half, and I had a terrible first quarter. I just came out in the second half hot. I’m sure everybody is like, that should be your favorite game, but one of my favorite games ever was my first game in the NBA when I almost had a triple-double in Philly. I didn’t know if I was going to start. He told me I was going to start the day before.