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  Wed, April 21, 2004


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Voters got it almost right
LeBron deserved rookie honours but Bosh got jobbed

By BILL HARRIS -- Toronto Sun

It's an outrage. An absolute outrage.

We're not talking about LeBron James being named the NBA's rookie of the year. That makes perfect sense, despite the puerile protests of Carmelo Anthony supporters.

The real outrage was that Chris Bosh of the Raptors finished so far up the track.

Two third-place votes for Bosh? That's it?

Everyone likes to think the days of Toronto being viewed as an NBA outpost are over. But when you're slapped in the face with two third-place votes, maybe the stereotype is not as dead as the Raptors like to believe.

Everyone has known for weeks -- ever since NBA reporters started conducting straw polls among voting media members -- that James was going to finish first and Anthony was going to finish second. Yours truly strongly believes James was the right choice, with the understanding that Anthony would have been a fitting winner, too.

A lot of people are pointing to the fact that Anthony's Denver Nuggets made the playoffs in the tough Western Conference, whereas James' Cleveland Cavaliers failed to make the playoffs in the far weaker Eastern Conference. But this award should not be related to team success.

It is not "most valuable rookie." The award goes to the "rookie of the year." That's an important distinction.

The term "valuable" prompts much debate when it comes to MVP awards in any league. How do you quantify value? If there are two star players on a championship-calibre club, do they cancel each other out? If you're a great player on a horrible team, should you automatically be disqualified? There are no easy answers to any of those questions.

However, the MVP conundrum is not so compelling that it automatically should be transferred to other areas. Yes, Anthony's team fared better than James' team. But that really shouldn't be relevant here. The rookie-of-the-year award is a straight-forward individual award.

There was no compelling statistical reason to pick Anthony over James. Their averages in points and rebounds were virtually identical, whereas James averaged 3.1 assists more than Anthony. And since James, as the No. 1 pick in the 2003 draft and arguably the most hyped player in NBA history, had far more pressure on him than did Anthony, the No. 3 pick, that rightfully sealed the deal.

Say it's five years from now and James and Anthony are the top two MVP candidates. If their stats are similar and the Nuggets are significantly better then the Cavs, Anthony should be the MVP. No argument from this corner.

But speaking of arguments, there's plenty with which to take issue when considering that Bosh finished a distant fifth in rookie-of-the-year balloting, behind James, Anthony, Dwyane Wade of the Miami Heat (three second-place votes, 108 third-place votes) and Kirk Hinrich of the Chicago Bulls (four third-place votes).

Wade in particular had a solid season, so it's not outrageous that he finished ahead of Bosh. It's a judgment call. However, Wade should not have lapped Bosh. And the notion that Hinrich got more votes than Bosh is so ridiculous, it makes one want to ask for a recount.

Both Wade and Hinrich are point guards. A tough position to play in the NBA? Absolutely, especially for a kid. But let's be honest here: Neither of those guys had to deal with as much physical abuse as Bosh, a 6-foot-10, 230-pound bean-pole who held his own and put up decent numbers all season despite having to play centre because the Raptors roster was so size-challenged.

James and Anthony deserved to be heads-and-tails above the competition. But Bosh should have been a solid No. 3.

At least voters got the LeBron part right. A perfect scorecard was perhaps too much to ask.









Do you like the new-look Raptors heading into the 2013-14 NBA season?
  Yes, new GM made great moves
  No, they will still be a terrible team
  Unsure what to make of it


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