Should team success be factored into individual awards?

Joel Embiid and Nikola Jokic at the NBA All-Star Game.
(Photo credit: Garrett Ellwood/NBAE via Getty Images)

Once every hour, the average person thinks about sex. I, on the other hand, use my hours to think about a strangely complex question: should team success be factored into individual awards?

Let’s be clear: you are the perverts and I am not. You are here to think about sex and I am here to talk about sports because the NBA MVP race has entered the final round of a three-way battle royale between Nikola Jokic, Joel Embiid, and Giannis Antetokounmpo. All three have exemplary marks by the traditional standards of points, rebounds, assists, etc. Jokic is the king of the nerd community. Embiid is the king of the eye test community. Giannis is the successor to The King. They are all very good at basketball and probably think about sex more than once every hour. But as voters are forced to pick nits in an incredibly tight race, team success begins to play a role. How teammates perform begins to play a role. Win/loss record is used as a separating measure and if you believe this is valid, be aware that players like Boogie Cousins, James Harden, James Harden’s ass, and Bobby Portis will have their say in who claims MVP. I believe this to be strange but many believe differently, yet another separator between the perverse and the chaste.

Every hour I think about Taylor Hall winning the 2018 Hart Trophy over Nathan MacKinnon and Connor McDavid. Stop thinking about sex for one second and THINK ABOUT THIS WITH ME. Hall had the worst season of the three while playing for a 97-point New Jersey Devils team. MacKinnon exploded in his first true breakout season for the 95-point Colorado Avalanche, and McDavid continued being the best player in hockey on a decrepit Edmonton Oilers team. Voters loved the Hall story, and in my opinion, the simple fact that the Devils had more points than the Avs or Oilers. Hall was voted MVP, a reality that (given the context of the following years) seems plucked from a poorly-remembered dream.

Do you think team success should be factored into individual awards and if so, how much weight should it hold? And how often do you think about sex?

Every hour I think about college football and as this audio essay shows, it can be deeply intertwined with sex. Two birds with one stone!

The NHL is a strange place where people argue over how much skill you can show on the ice before you get your ass kicked, evidenced by the Trevor Zegras/Troy Terry/Jay Beagle incident from last week. The NBA is a strange place where James Harden shoots 10 FTs per game because he is a star and has mastered the dark art of hooking a defender’s arm and feigning terrible, painful death. Neither act is appealing to the majority of fans, yet the NHL and NBA have both dragged their feet on finding a balance between protecting their star players without laying down for them. It shouldn’t be this hard to regulate goonery or foul-baiting! We send people into outer space all the time and yet referees still reward James Harden with free throws for suffering heartburn from last night’s Burger King run! Why are the NBA and NHL still struggling with these issues? If things don’t change soon I promise to kick my own ass in protest.