Derrick Rose had an incredible season for the New York Knicks. He averaged 14.9 points per game from the bench after reuniting with former coach Tom Thibodeau to lead the Knicks back to the playoffs for the first time since 2013. He was a worthy finalist for the NBA‘s Sixth Man of the Year award.
But that wasn’t the only award he got voted for. The NBA announced this on Tuesday Nikola Joki had won the 2021 MVP award. That wasn’t the surprising thing. The voter breakdown showed that Rose, who started three games all season, had been awarded first place. Tim Reynolds of The Associated Press reported that vote came from the fans, who got a vote online in 2010.
It wasn’t the first controversial MVP vote in Rose’s career. When he won the award in 2011, many argued that: LeBron James, who had won it in 2009 and 2010, was the deserved winner. James would win it again in 2012 and 2013, with Rose stopping him from becoming the first ever player to win five in a row. James was unable to finish first this season due to an ankle injury he sustained mid-season. He technically finished under Rose again in the voting.
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Rose was not a justified winner, but in hindsight the vote was not too surprising. Rose is hugely popular with fans and he plays in the biggest market of the league, New York. That convergence of factors led to the vote in first place.
Ultimately, this will be remembered as an anomaly. Jokic was the winner of the prize. But in a closer race, that one fan vote could have changed the outcome, and if they’re unable to select worthy candidates, the NBA should consider removing their vote entirely.