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Nine voters leave LeBron James off MVP ballot completely

Miami Heat v Atlanta Hawks

ATLANTA, GA - APRIL 11: LeBron James #6 of the Miami Heat looks on during a free throw against the Atlanta Hawks at Philips Arena on April 11, 2011 in Atlanta, Georgia. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

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It’s time for the annual cry for transparency in the NBA’s MVP voting.

Because if you’re a media member with an MVP vote, you should be able to defend your choices. If you are one of the seven people who did not vote Derrick Rose first, you should be able to explain that. And for the one person who put Kobe Bryant first, we’d really like to hear that explaination.

Or, if you were the person who put Blake Griffin third, we’d all love to hear how you got there.

But the biggest mistake this year — nine voters did not have LeBron James on any of their five votes. (Piston Powered noticed first on twitter, via Tom Ziller.)

If you had an MVP ballot (we didn’t) you have to fill in spots one through five. Nine people did not think LeBron James qualified in the top five in the MVP voting. LeBron who averaged 26.7 points, 7.5 rebounds and 7 assists per game not in the top 5. Did they see the Cavaliers drop off? The Heat’s improvement? Whether you count MVP as best player, most valuable to team, best player on a good team — whatever your criteria James is in your Top 5.

Dwight Howard was left off two ballots, I’d be curious to hear the logic there, too. Kobe Bryant was left of 17.

The argument that this should be a secret ballot so you can vote how your really feel holds no weight — this is MVP of the NBA, not president. This is sports, it’s not really important. We discuss and argue sports all the time. You should be able to defend your logic. Really, you should be able to defend your political votes, too, but one hurdle at a time.