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.
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.
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 20, 2021 | 1:33 pm EDT Update
Marc J. Spears: Warriors are working out free agent guards Isaiah Thomas, Avery Bradley & ex-Warrior Quinn Cook among others this week, sources told @TheUndefeated. Warriors would like to sign a big man & 2 guards for camp. Workouts will include 5-on-5 games with a diverse group of free agents.
Marc J. Spears: Also told Warriors have sincere interest in @Isaiah Thomas, sources said. The injury plagued two-time NBA All-Star told @TheUndefeated he is “fully healthy now and can do everything I used to do and more.” Thomas says he physically better now than in 2017 and is dunking again.
Marc Stein: The expectation remains, one week out from 76ers media day, that Ben Simmons will choose not to report to the team’s training camp, league sources say. But the Sixers, sources say, remain intent on trying to convince Simmons to report. More NBA from me at marcstein.substack.com
Frank Ntilikina: 4 years, 4 years already… I remember the day of the draft like it was yesterday, One of my childhood dreams then became reality. Playing for the Knicks has truly been a blessing and an amazing experience. You welcomed a kid who just left home in order to pursue his dreams and goals, and to continuously grow. I could not ask for more. I would like to thank the entire franchise, the coaches, players, all members of training and medical staff and all the people who work hard every day for the success of this organization over the years. Last but not least, to all the Knicks fans around the world… Thank you ! The support has been amazing from day 1. Wins and losses, highs and lows, we have all seen one thing for sure, and that is that the passion and the love for basketball stays unbeaten through it all. I am leaving now to open a new chapter in my journey, forever grateful for the opportunity. The French Prince 🇫🇷👑 @nyknicks @thegarden @msgnetworks #NewYorkForever
Malika Andrews will host a new daily NBA studio show for ESPN after Rachel Nichols’ “The Jump” was canceled amid controversy in August, the Washington Post’s Ben Strauss first reported Monday. The one-hour “NBA Today” will debut Oct. 18 and air at 3 p.m. every week day on ESPN, ESPN confirmed in a release. The panel of analysts joining Andrews consists of former NBA players Vince Carter and Kendrick Perkins, who were both featured on “The Jump”; current WNBA player and radio host Chiney Ogwumike; and writer and podcaster Zach Lowe.
September 20, 2021 | 8:16 am EDT Update
UNICS Kazan announced the signing of former Milwaukee Bucks and Dallas Mavericks guard O.J. Mayo. The 33-year-old veteran will make his european debut in VTB League and the EuroLeague this season, signing a one-year deal with the club. Mayo has 573 NBA games under his belt, with the Memphis Grizzlies, the Milwaukee Bucks and the Dallas Mavericks, averaging 13.9 points, 3.1 rebounds, 2.9 assists, and 1.0 steal per contest.
“Shabazz Napier underwent a comprehensive examination. He has a rather serious injury to the ligaments of the right ankle joint. On the positive side, I can say that there is no fracture and, therefore, there is no need for surgery, of the minuses, the recovery time is still unknown. We have all the necessary conditions to get him back on the floor quickly. All is needed is the support of the fans,” general manager Alexander Tserkovny said. Napier moved to Europe after six years in the NBA and showed promise in front of the season. In the first VTB SuperCup game, against UNICS, he banked in 33 points on 8-11 shooting including 6-8 from deep. He also dished out four assists during the 30 minutes on the floor.