A vote for Duncan to repeat as MVP
According to this awards ballot, Tim Duncan should win his second straight MVP trophy.
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The stack of ballots in our hands is due back to the league office by Thursday at 3 p.m. ... but the last regular-season Monday is already upon us.
Which is to say we could take a little more time to deliberate, but we really can't.
Herewith, then, is how your faithful correspondent is voting in all the major award categories. Not the most innovative column, certainly, but we know you want to know.
2. Kevin Garnett
3. Kobe Bryant
4. Tracy McGrady
5. Jason Kidd
P.S. One disclaimer: If San Antonio ends up handing the West's No. 1 seed back to Dallas this week, and Minnesota hangs onto No. 4, KG can still wrest the vote from TD.
Coach of the Year
2. Jerry Sloan, Utah
3. Flip Saunders, Minnesota
Rookie of the Year
2. Amare Stoudemire, Phoenix
3. Caron Butler, Miami
Most Improved Player
2. Matt Harpring, Utah
3. Troy Murphy, Golden State
Sixth Man Award
2. Bobby Jackson, Sacramento
3. Malik Rose, San Antonio
Defensive Player of the Year
2. Kevin Garnett, Minnesota
3. Doug Christie, Sacramento
The rules stipulate that voters select players at the position they play regularly. Here goes:
First team F Tim Duncan, San Antonio F Kevin Garnett, Minnesota C Shaquille O'Neal, L.A. Lakers G Kobe Bryant, L.A. Lakers G Tracy McGrady, Orlando Second team F Dirk Nowitzki, Dallas F Chris Webber, Sacramento C Ben Wallace, Detroit G Jason Kidd, New Jersey G Allen Iverson, Philadelphia Third team F Jermaine O'Neal, Indiana F Jamal Mashburn, New Orleans C Yao Ming, Houston G Stephon Marbury, Phoenix G Steve Nash, DallasAll-Interview team
The league asks us to vote for any five players and a coach. We like to vote by position, or as close as we can get, for continuity's sake. Here goes again:
F Jamal Mashburn, New Orleans F Rick Fox, L.A. Lakers C Chris Webber, Sacramento* G Avery Johnson, Dallas G Wally Szczerbiak, Minnesota Coach: Doc Rivers, Orlando*Not quite a center, obviously, but he has to make the squad, by a hair over San Antonio's David Robinson in his farewell season.
Detroit's Joe Dumars and San Antonio's Gregg Popovich and R.C. Buford. The media don't get the EOY vote, and the media aren't allowed to split votes in any of the other categories. So we're throwing in our two shekels' worth as a bonus and splitting them for the fun of it. Dumars had the gumption to bring in a whole new backcourt after a 50-win season and, after this 50-win season, should re-sign the promising Rip Hamilton for less than Jerry Stackhouse was expected to demand. Joe D. is also in position to upgrade the Pistons again this summer with Memphis' lottery pick forthcoming (unless it's No. 1 overall) and a trade-friendly payroll below the luxury-tax threshold. As for the Spurs, their outlook is even brighter. San Antonio has a championship team in the present -- coached masterfully by Pop and helped immensely by Buford draftees Parker and Manu Ginobili -- and the cap space this summer or next (as Pop and R.C. planned together) to put a new All-Star next to Duncan. Add it all up and that's why there's no room, splitting or not, for Sacramento's perennially outstanding Geoff Petrie, who added Keon Clark and Jim Jackson to the league's deepest team.