It's the cynic in me that allows me to think that NBA GMs -- which have voted Kevin Durant(notes) and Kobe Bryant(notes) as the overwhelming favorites to earn the MVP this season -- aren't being super-cynical when it comes to their guesses. Because when I pick my awards, I often have to think of the sportswriters and TV guys that make up most of the voting contingent, and how they'll take the best story over what is often the best player when it comes to voting for year-end winners.
But I don't think that NBA GMs are thinking along my lines, guessing at that best story. I just think they're daft.
It's likely that Kevin Durant -- super nice guy, amazing player, probable leading scorer this year on a pretty good team -- will be the most warming story of the NBA season, as he probably was last year and during the offseason.
But come on. I'm as sick and tired of LeBron James(notes) as the rest of you guys (because all 30 NBA GMs are guys), but LeBron James is the best player in the league. And the best player will always be the most valuable player. And unless this guy breaks a leg or pulls a Mike Miller(notes) and refuses to shoot (Tuesday night's performance would seem to put that notion to rest), LeBron James will be the best player in the NBA, again, this season.
I can't dumb it down any further. Whether you like it or not (and I'm squarely in the "not" category), LeBron James is the best player in this league. You and I both wish he wasn't such an embarrassing narcissist, but the same people that brought you Joe Johnson(notes), Rudy Gay(notes), Darko Milicic(notes), and Richard Hamilton's(notes) contract extensions have decided that Kevin Durant is nicer. And, therefore, "better."
Which is ridiculous. Standing for principles and expectations (or, at the very least, tact) shouldn't preclude you from accurately judging a player's merits. And while Kevin Durant is everyone's second-favorite player right now (behind the best player on your favorite team), we have to be real about this.
LeBron James acted like a moron this summer. But if he isn't the MVP this year, then something will have gone terribly wrong.