For most of the season, LeBron James was the front runner for NBA regular season MVP. He's far and away the best overall player in the league and leads the best team in the league. You'd have to be foolish to think anyone else deserved the honor.
Apparently, there's at least one fool out there. Despite the recent talk that James could end up being the first ever unanimous NBA regular season Most Valuable Player (hard to believe Michael Jordan never did it), one voter had the stones to vote his mind and selected former Orange player Carmelo Anthony.
Gary Washburn of the Boston Globe was the lone dissenting voter, citing the fact that Carmelo lead the Knicks to heights they haven't sniffed since Anthony was a teenager.
"I just honestly felt that Carmelo Anthony lifted the Knicks to new heights this season – a No. 2 seed and their first division title in 19 years – with an aging roster, the team's second-best player [Amar'e Stoudemire] out most of the season and a myriad of other injuries."
Washburn did, though, make sure to give LeBron his proper respect.
"LeBron James is unquestionably the best player in the league, but I felt this season Anthony had more value to his team."
For what it's worth, I'd tend to agree with Washburn, even setting aside the Orange loyalty. It's a long running debate. Should the MVP go to the best player or the player who brings the most to his team. They are most often distinctly different things. I lean towards the idea that the player with the most value would leave the biggest hole is he were absent.
Without LeBron James, the Miami Heat still have perennial all-stars in Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh and a top three coach in Erik Spoelstra. Would they still be the dominant team they are now? Hell no. But they'd still be pretty good. Or take the Oklahoma City Thunder. They still have plenty of talent and great coaching, even if Kevin Durant (2nd in the MVP voting) was elsewhere. Without Carmelo, though, the New York Knicks are J.R. Smith, Steve Novak, Raymond Felton and a bunch of dudes at or near 40. They'd probably be the worst team in the league.
(Interesting note. LeBron got a lot up press for his streak of 30+ point games while shooting over 60% from the field. Carmelo had a similar streak what went largely unnoticed. 5 games shooting 60% or better while averaging over 40PPG. Just sayin')
Again, I'm not going to argue that Carmelo is a better overall player than LeBron or even KD (or even Kobe Bryant). But this season in particular, he is reasons 1, 2 and 3 as to why the Knicks had the best season they've had in nearly two decades. That deserves some recognition and I'm glad someone was able to give it to him.