NBA award voting has always been controversial.
The players feel like some media members shouldn’t vote because of how biased they are, whereas others believe the players and coaches would be even more biased.
Whatever the case, this narrative won’t go away any time soon, especially after one beat writer from the Utah Jazz prevented Paolo Banchero from becoming a unanimous Rookie of the Year.
Andy Larsen of the Salt Lake Tribune voted for Walker Kessler instead, prompting plenty of criticism for clearly being biased.
Even Washington Wizards star Kyle Kuzma took to Twitter to call his vote “embarrassing,” especially after Larsen tried to explain the reasoning behind his decision to choose Kessler.
Yepppp this is embarrassing… https://t.co/fcCxwXWmfd
— kuz (@kylekuzma) April 14, 2023
Larsen claimed to be an analytics-based voter and stated that he would’ve voted for Kessler even if he didn’t cover the Jazz.
That doesn’t seem likely at all, but let’s just give him the benefit of the doubt.
There’s no denying that Kessler exceeded all expectations as a rookie, and he’s got outstanding potential as a defensive anchor and elite shot-blocker.
But Banchero was by far the best rookie in the league this season, regardless of what analytics say.
At the end of the day, winning the award unanimously doesn’t change anything; he’s still the Rookie of the Year.
But even if Larsen’s vote wasn’t biased, this is the perfect example of why NBA players often complain about media members having such a big power in this kind of decision, especially when money is also on the line with All-NBA team selections.NEXT: Fans React NBA Rookie Of The Year Voting Ballot