Chris Sheridan has covered hoops for more than 20 years. In fact, he has his own website – SheridanHoops.com – and is one of the most knowledgable basketball writers in the business.
And he did not put LeBron James on his All-NBA team.
“Well, it’s simple,” Sheridan said on The Doug Gottlieb Show on CBS Sports Radio. “My MVP ballot had Kevin Durant first, like everybody, and I put Blake Griffin second because Blake Griffin carried his team and was more valuable to that Clippers team than LeBron James was to a Miami Heat team that a) didn’t win as many games as the Los Angeles Clippers and b) played in a much easier conference than the Los Angeles Clippers.”
The Clippers won 57 games this year, while the Heat won 54.
“And remember, this is a regular-season award,” Sheridan said. “It has nothing to do with the playoffs, and it’s not a ‘Who’s the best player in the NBA’ award. If it was, then I’d vote LeBron James first. But Blake Griffin, what he did for the Clippers – leading them to the most wins in franchise history and scoring 20+ points for 31 straight games – I thought he deserved it, and I’m not alone. Doc Rivers in April said Kevin Durant is the MVP, but Blake Griffin should be No. 2. And I was the only guy who voted that way, but I stand behind my vote, and if I had to do it again today, I’d vote the same way.”
Sheridan, if you’re curious, was only allowed to put two forwards on his team. He had to vote for a natural center (and chose Joakim Noah) and two guards (and chose Stephen Curry and James Harden).
“Since I had Durant and Griffin 1-2 on my MVP ballot, I had to put them in my two forward spots,” Sheridan explained. “And again, it’s not a vote for who’s the best player in the NBA. If it was, I’d vote LeBron James first. It was a vote for who was more valuable to their team over the course of the regular season. And like I said, the Clippers won more games than the Heat did. The Clippers won the most games in franchise history. And the Heat, by their own high standards, did not have a great regular season. What’s happened since the regular season is a different story, but again, this is a regular season award.”
Either way, the Heat, as expected, marched through the East with little resistance to reach their fourth consecutive NBA Finals and will face the Spurs for the second time in as many years.
Sheridan is picking the Heat in seven games.
“I’m not picking against this guy, LeBron James,” he said. “I think this is a team of destiny. I think this is a player of destiny, who wants to accomplish something that very few players in NBA history have – and that’s winning three in a row. He’s right on the cusp. They’re going against a terrific San Antonio Spurs team that really, by all rights, should have won the title last year in Game 6 and lost in what was a miracle finish for the Heat.”
Whether Miami pulls off another Game 6 miracle remains to be seen, but Sheridan expects a Game 7 showdown in San Antonio. He also expects James to deliver an epic performance.
“The guy who’s going to want it most is LeBron James – and the guy most capable of taking over a game and single-handedly leading his team to victory is LeBron James,” Sheridan said. “So I think the Heat will get it done, and I think they’ll do it in the last game in seven.”