Nikola Jokic won his first NBA MVP on Tuesday night as the league announced his well-deserved victory in the balloting. The Denver Nuggets center had one of the best seasons ever for a player at his position, but his win isn't what grabbed our attention. Looking at the balloting, somehow New York Knicks guard Derrick Rose garnered a first-place vote. Which makes absolutely no sense.
Philadelphia 76ers center Joel Embiid finished second (one first-place vote) and Stephen Curry finished third (five first-place votes), while Giannis Antetokounmpo (one first-place vote) and Chris Paul (two first-place votes) followed the top trio. Rose wound up finishing ninth in the balloting solely because of the 10 points he earned for a lone first-place vote. He received no votes for second, third, fourth or fifth place.
Marc Stein of the New York Times dug in and found out how Rose wound up with that vote, and the reason is even dumber than you could possibly imagine.
So Rose won the fan vote for the MVP. I think we all know that means it's time to do away with the fan vote. I didn't even know it existed and now I want to abolish it. Clearly Knicks fans stuffed the ballot box, but how did Rose get the MVP vote and not Julius Randle?
Rose had a really nice rebirth in 35 games with the Knicks this season, but in no universe should he have even been considered as an MVP candidate. He averaged 14.9 points, 2.5 rebounds and 4.2 assists in 26.8 minutes per game. He came off the bench in 32 of the 35 contests he played in. He also had 15 games with the Detroit Pistons in which he averaged 14.2 points, 1.9 rebounds and 4.2 assists.
Again, his move to New York and what he did to help the team reach the postseason was a really nice story. But the fact that fans gave him an MVP vote is the exact reason why this should never happen again.