With Most Improved Player candidates like Anthony Davis, Lance Stephenson, Kyle Lowry, Gerald Green, DeAndre Jordan and others—including Phoenix Suns point guard Goran Dragic, the actual winner—there were plenty of viable options voters could go with for the award.
Los Angeles Clippers color analyst Michael Smith, however, didn't jot down any of those choices.
As Next Impulse Sports' John Ferensen pointed out, Smith voted Kevin Durant, LeBron James and Blake Griffin as his top three for MIP, thinking he was tabbing his choices for Most Valuable Player instead.
Smith addressed the gaffe via Twitter:
Clearly I made a mistake with MVP n MIP voting. My bad. In some ways, KD is the most improved player in game. My bad.— Michael Smith (@clippstvsmith) April 23, 2014
@Ben_Baskin must've been a mistake. Those were my MVP votes. Most improved, I voted for Davis First Dragic second— Michael Smith (@clippstvsmith) April 23, 2014
While KD did improve statistically in categories like points and assists per game during the 2013-14 campaign, he's been one of the league's most consistent and elite players for a while now. As a result, his qualifications for Most Improved aren't as magnified as other guys who made drastic leaps compared to a season ago.
The mix-up could throw a bit of a monkey wrench into MVP voting if Smith swapped both categories. Ferensen, though, said that it's unclear whether that is the case. "It remains to be seen if Smith flip-flopped the two lines, or if he filled in his MVP choices twice. Either way, big time fail," he wrote.
If Smith did indeed place his MIP votes in the MVP category, I'm sure Davis and Dragic will appreciate the love—though accidental.
Of course, giving the league's newest Most Improved Player a nod while voting for MVP isn't entirely far-fetched, as AZ Central's Bob Young wrote back in March:
But here’s the thing: MVP voters must put five players on their ballot, with points awarded for each vote in descending value.
Dragic’s play this season, especially while Eric Bledsoe has been recovering from a knee procedure, has to put him into the discussion for those 'other' votes if the Suns can maintain their playoff pace.
In fact, it already has.
So at least Smith potentially tabbing Dragic as No. 2 for MVP wouldn't look as egregious as James being voted No. 2 for MIP.
This just goes to show that attention to detail is just as important when picking players as it is when writing them in for specific honors.