In the NBA, as in all major American sports, MVP voters cast their ballots at the end of the regular season, meaning whatever happens in the playoffs has no bearing on who wins the award.
The idea, of course, is for MVP to be a regular-season honor, and most people are perfectly content with that arrangement, even if it means the player who had the most memorable season might, theoretically, fail to win the award.
But there’s also a school of thought that if the playoffs are the most important games, they should count for MVP voting. Speaking Monday on The Dan Patrick show, TNT analyst Reggie Miller suggested the writers and broadcasters who vote for MVP should be allowed to wait until after the postseason.
“It would be nice to actually have a chance to watch players throughout the playoffs and then do the voting,” Miller said. “Actually you could watch all the playoffs and then do your voting for the MVP. I would love to kind of watch players during the playoffs when it’s money time, when it means the most.”
Miller’s comments came in response to a question about people who say Russell Westbrook’s poor performance (and James Harden’s great one) in Game 1 of the Rockets-Thunder playoff series shows that Harden is the league’s true MVP. Miller pointed out that the votes are already in, then said maybe it shouldn’t be that way.
— Dan Patrick Show (@dpshow) April 17, 2017
This year more than ever, MVP debate has dominated all NBA talk down the stretch, with Westbrook, Harden and Kawhi Leonard all enjoying wide support and also some opposition. It feels like it’d be nice to forget about that race and focus fully on the postseason, but there’s some merit to wanting to see MVP candidates in their most important games before casting a ballot.
Reggie Miller, for what it’s worth, never finished better than 13th in MVP voting. Maybe waiting until after the postseason would have helped him out.