Joakim Noah didn't bring home any more hardware Tuesday, but his impressive season was rewarded with a fourth-place finish in the KIA NBA Most Valuable Player voting.
Noah received 32 third-place votes, 50 fourth-place votes and 12 fifth-place votes, finishing 112 "points" behind Blake Griffin, who received 66 third-place votes. Oklahoma City Thunder forward Kevin Durant earned his first MVP award, receiving 119 of the 125 first-place votes cast by the media, while the other six went to LeBron James, MVP the last two seasons. James Harden rounded out the top-five.
Noah, the NBA's Defensive Player of the Year, had a career-best year, averaging 12.6 points, 11.3 rebounds and 5.4 assists in more than 35 minutes per game. He logged three triple-doubles and his assists were the most by a center since Sam Lacey in 1980 (5.7). He also became the first center to average five or more assists per game since Vlade Divac accomplished the feat 10 seasons ago.
More than numbers, Noah helped a Bulls team that lost Derrick Rose to injury in November and Luol Deng to a trade in early January. With two of the Bulls' top performers out of the picture, the Bulls proceeded to win 48 games and finish fourth in the Eastern Conference before they were knocked out in the playoffs by the Washington Wizards.
Last year Noah received one fifth-place vote, and two seasons ago Rose received one third-place vote. But Noah became the first member of the Bulls to garner multiple MVP votes since Rose won the award in 2011. Only two Defensive Players of the Year have won the MVP in the same season, Hakeem Olajuwon and Michael Jordan.
Durant give emotional MVP speech
The Thunder forward, who had finished second in the MVP voting three of the last four seasons, recited an incredibly emotional speech in which he thanked his mother, Wanda Pratt, for being his MVP, as well as his teammates. He broke down in tears a number of times as he recalled personal memories of how each player helped him along the way, from All-NBA point guard Russell Westbrook to rookies on the end of the bench.
It was a historical season for Durant, who became just the fourth player in NBA history to average 32 points, 7 rebounds and 5 assists in a single season; the other three -- Wilt Chamberlain (twice), Michael Jordan and Elgin Baylor -- all are in the Hall of Fame. He began the season with a bang and reached new all-time highs in January, when he averaged 35.9 points on 55 percent shooting, 6.1 rebounds and 6.1 assists in 38 minutes per game. He scored 25 points in an NBA-record 41 straight games, surpassing Michael Jordan's mark of 40 games.
Final MVP voting results
|PLAYER (TEAM)||1st||2nd||3rd||4th||5th||Total points|
|Kevin Durant (OKC)||119||6||0||0||0||1232|
|LeBron James (MIA)||6||118||1||0||0||891|
|Blake Griffin (LAC)||0||1||66||30||7||434|
|Joakim Noah (CHI)||0||0||32||50||12||322|
|James Harden (HOU)||0||0||7||10||20||85|
|Stephen Curry (GS)||0||0||4||9||19||66|
|Chris Paul (LAC)||0||0||5||6||2||45|
|Al Jefferson (CHA)||0||0||2||4||12||34|
|Paul George (IND)||0||0||1||4||16||33|
|LaMarcus Aldridge (POR)||0||0||2||2||10||26|
|Kevin Love (MIN)||0||0||2||3||6||25|
|Tim Duncan (SA)||0||0||1||3||7||21|
|Tony Parker (SA)||0||0||2||2||5||21|
|Dirk Nowitzki (DAL)||0||0||0||1||4||7|
|Carmelo Anthony (NY)||0||0||0||1||1||4|
|Goran Dragic (PHO)||0||0||0||0||3||3|
|Mike Conley (MEM)||0||0||0||0||1||1|