A Substitute for War

Basketball philosophy

2011 NBA POY Watch 1/17

with 2 comments

My version of the NBA MVP list. Updated weekly.

Player (Last Week’s Rank)

1. Derrick Rose (2)

I wasn’t really comfortable with Rose as high as #2, so I’m definitely not comfortable with him at #1.  He remains though the clear star of a very successful teams that has seem major injuries.  Rose takes over games like an MVP, and I know mediocre efficiency in and of itself is not necessarily as damning as we tend to think, but still, I don’t expect Rose will be able to hold on to this spot without proving (even) more than he already has.

2. Deron Williams (4)

40 games in, and the Jazz sans Carlos Boozer and with a disappointing Al Jefferson are on pace for their best record in over a decade.  A shout out to Paul Millsap, but this has everything to do with Deron being able to take on more than he’d ever been asked to do before.  Significantly more for example, than John Stockton was ever asked to do.  He’s right there with Rose.

3. Dirk Nowitzki (1)

After a 7 week run at the top, Dirk’s continued injuries reached the point this week I couldn’t keep him there any longer.  Dirk remains the player whose ability to impact his team impresses me the most this year, but when you miss as much time as he has, and when your team falls back into the pack, the fall is inevitable.  Of course, Dirk played the Mavs last game, so he may be able to upright himself quickly.

4. Dwight Howard (3)

Hard to knock Howard for the two losses this week, but they serve as a rebuttal to the idea that the Magic are completely ready to be considered elite again.  And so we have Howard guiding a strong but not dominant team, doing so with less consistency than they players above.

5. Chris Paul (5)

Strangely stable Paul.  The advanced box score stats love what Paul is doing, tremendous efficiency in the classic sense of the word.  However there’s really no denying that the Hornets are not relying on Paul like they have in the past.  Smaller minutes, way smaller scoring (which includes him no longer being the first option in the clutch for the first time in his prime), and even less assists – all while the offense struggles (23rd in the league in offensive efficiency).

6. Manu Ginobili (8)

It looked like the Spurs were coming back down to earth, but now they have an even bigger lead on the rest of the league.  Ginobili doesn’t have all the ingredients for a classic superstar, but he is clearly the key to this team.  He is team’s leading scorer, does so with great efficiency, and kicks his volume up high come crunch time.  He leads the team in PER and WS, and he dwarfs his teammates in the plus/minus arena.

7. LeBron James (6)

8. Dwyane Wade (7)

Y’all might have expected to see LeBron make a jump here after seeing his team “fall apart” without him.  Nah.  This week the Heat went 0-3.  The ended their win streak WITH LeBron, and then played without him the next night and put up a stinker that was so bad it’s just utterly unreasonable to think that represents what his supporting cast can do without him.  Then the next game, the LeBron-less Heat almost beat the very strong Bulls on the road, which is both incredibly good for a supporting cast and kinda what you’d expect.

It would take an awful lot more for me to buy that LeBron is really carrying a weak supporting cast.  I have every reason to believe they could win 50 without him.

9. Kevin Durant (9)

Durant stays at 9 but he’s certainly not stagnant in my eyes.  Durant’s making a great case for his 2nd Player of the Month in a row and it won’t surprise me at all if he makes a rapid leap up this ladder shortly.

10. Kobe Bryant (NR)

Really torn on Kobe.  I keep pointing people to his horrendous adjusted +/- this  year, and that weighs on me tremendously as I don’t like having opinions that contradict that stat without having a good reason for saying the stat is wrong, but the Clipper-loss aside, the Lakers are doing quite well and they are relying on Pau Gasol much less than they were early in the season.  Now that hasn’t come with an increased role for Kobe, but still at this point in time, my gut sides with Kobe.

Falling Off

Amare Stoudemire – I think everyone needs to step back and really look at Amare’s candidacy here.  The Knicks are not good enough to have a traditional MVP candidate, are not having an all-time turnaround season, and Amare’s beautiful run of big games is over and his January is worse than either his November or December.


2 Responses

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  1. I think Rondo needs to be somewhere in here. I understand he has a lot of help, but at least somewhere between 7-10.


    January 18, 2011 at 1:16 am

  2. Hey Rich,

    Rondo’s missed a lot of time. That’s bad from an MVP perspective obviously because if you don’t play, you don’t contribute value. However it’s also damning because the Celtics still did well without him, which makes grandiose assumptions about his massive APG stats a little hard to take seriously.

    I respect Rondo’s game quite a bit, but it’s not going to be easy for him to be a real candidate this year in my book.

    Matt Johnson

    January 18, 2011 at 11:17 am

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