Andre Drummond received a second-place vote for Most Improved Player, officially tying him for 20th in voting. He’s likely to be the only Piston to receive a vote for the NBA’s major awards this season.
Does it taint anything that it came from Pistons play-by-play man George Blaha?
Blaha voted Drummond No. 2, behind Goran Dragic and ahead of Gerald Green. Dragic won the award, and Green finished fourth in overall voting. Twelve players received a single vote, so Blaha’s ballot wasn’t out of line on those grounds, either.
Blaha isn’t technically a Pistons employee (I don’t think), but his job is obviously tied to the team. He’s continued to cover the Pistons as they’ve changed networks, and broadcasters – whose companies, unlike those of beat writers, have contracts with the team – typically share cordial relationships with their teams.
Drummond definitely improved this season. Even if his per-minute numbers remained remarkably similar to his rookie year, sustaining them in a larger sample and against a wider variety of opponents shows growth. But I didn’t have him in my top three, and he wasn’t among my toughest cuts or even my moderately tough cuts from the pool of reasonable candidates.
A key question: If Blaha didn’t have such a close relationship with the Pistons, would he have voted for Drummond? Nobody, not even Blaha, knows the answer with total certainty.
But even if Blaha would have voted differently without his Pistons ties, that doesn’t make Blaha’s vote “wrong.” Maybe Blaha’s unique perspective makes his vote better than everyone else’s.
If someone else had voted for Drummond I wouldn’t be raising these points. I’d be appreciating that someone in another market noticed Drummond’s improvement.
And there’s the rub. Blaha, like everyone, has biases. It’s reasonable to view his place in life and assume he has pro-Pistons biases and that caused him to vote for Drummond. Blaha could vote with his heart or his head, but both reside in Michigan.
I just wish Drummond’s vote had come from elsewhere else.
Is this better than Drummond getting no votes? Not really – so much as we care about these things, which I do to irrational levels. I already knew how fond Blaha is fond of Drummond. Putting it on a ballot changes nothing but the official record and that in nearly the smallest way.
The fact is none of the other 124 voters shared Blaha’s view of Drummond, and I find their selections collectively more accurate. In the end, that’s all that really matters.
These awards are determined by a collection of votes, but regardless of the final tally, I have my preferences and you have yours. And Blaha has his.
Tags: Andre Drummond