A Substitute for War

Basketball philosophy

2011 NBA POY Watch 1/24

with 4 comments

My version of the NBA MVP list. Updated weekly.

Player (Last Week’s Rank)

1. Derrick Rose (1)

Another week, continued success for the Bulls. With incredible defensive dominance and offensive reliance on Rose, could we be seeing another Iverson-style MVP? This is shaping up to be an MVP race where people meditate and change opinions based on exactly what they decide their philosophy of MVP determination is.

2. Dwight Howard (4)

As others slide, the solid Howard steps up. Still, this Magic team has had a pretty major drop off from last year, hard to imagine Howard will earn his first MVP this year unless his team really catches fire.

3. Dirk Nowitzki (3)

Dirk’s still the guy whose year say “MVP” to me. If he gets back to 100% and leads the Mavs to a strong final record, he’ll probably be my pick.

4. Chris Paul (5)

Paul’s candidacy is a fascinating one this year. In some ways he’s in the same boat as Rose, leading a surprisingly successful defense-oriented team. He’s seem to then have the edge over Rose because of his superior star status in the league, and the fact that Paul’s actually doing his thing with vastly superior efficiency despite having a supporting cast of modest offensive reputation. Efficiency is a great thing, but there’s just no denying that the Hornets offense simply isn’t relying as much on Paul as the Bulls are with Rose. The Hornets had a win this week where Paul went 1 for 8 from the field. Hard to imagine the Bulls getting away with that.

5. Manu Ginobili (6)

Halfway through the year, the Spurs still have easily the best record in the league, and there’s really no debate that Ginobili has emerged of the club. Knock his modest scoring volume if you like, but if it were Duncan with those numbers, I think he’d be getting a heavy dose of MVP consideration.

6. Deron Williams (2)

A nightmare of a week for Deron’s Jazz. 4 losses, 3 of them against bad teams. They better get themselves right in a hurry.

7. LeBron James (7)

Feels like James has taken a quick break before beginning the big push for the rest of the season. I’m optimistic about he and the Heat, but there’s no denying that the team is behind LeBron’s normal Cavalier pace, and I’m not going to forget about that easily.

8. Kevin Durant (9)

Still waiting for the Thunder to take that next step. Hard to imagine giving Durant this award without him actually lead the team into elite territory now that it’s clear what a talented supporting cast he has.

9. Dwyane Wade (8)

Between his own missed games, and the injuries to his team, Wade hasn’t won a game in 2 weeks. Enough to drop him one spot, but it doesn’t feel as damning to me as it sounds. The idea that the team falls apart without LeBron but is fine without Wade is misguided, and like LeBron, it feels to me like he’s getting ready for the big push – though I realize right now he’s dealing with migraines that hardly constitute a fair break.

10. Kobe Bryant (10)

I’ll keep Kobe just on the edge here. Lakers still have a strong record, and I can’t swallow not looking at Kobe as their star. Funny though, their record is just modest enough that it doesn’t scream “Great” while still being good enough that I can’t take seriously the notion that the Lakers aren’t a huge threat for the title.


Written by Matt Johnson

January 24, 2011 at 12:09 pm

4 Responses

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  1. Looks good, I have Rose on top too with Lebron, Durant, Paul and Howard trailing. Durant is the guy I feel should be getting more play, I’m not that impressed by his supporting cast this year – they’re not playing as hard defensively this year, they don’t shoot 3s, there’s no interior scorer. I think Rose and Paul’s teams are better than Durant’s.

    Julien Rodger

    January 24, 2011 at 1:46 pm

  2. I’ll continue to have Howard on top of my lis so long as he continues to play like he has. You have to evaluatehis team since the trade, where it’s clearly been one of the top 4 in the league. They are 13-5 since the trade, and that’s counting the initial two losses. They have played a pretty tough schedule since the trade, too. Beating teams like Dallas, San Antonio, and Boston. The 5 losses…Dallas, Boston, New Orleans, Atlanta, and OKC. That’s strong stuff.

    Here is my problem with LBJ being so low: it’s in comparison to his OBVIOUS MVP years of last year. Last year, he was leading the league in PER (by a lot), 2nd in PPG, and on the best team in the league. It was such an easy choice.

    This year, he is still leading the league in PER and on one of the top 5 teams in the league.

    If this were, say Deron Williams who was leading the league in PER and his team had a record similar to the Heat, would he not seem like an auto-lock for MVP right now?

    It’s a tough call right now between Paul and Rose. Paul looks better in the most of the advanced stats and his team has been rolling. However, he clearly isn’t relied on as much as Rose is and his team has been healthier. I mean, the Bulls w/o Noah or Boozer aren’t very talented, and yet here they are having a fantastic season. It’s a toss-up between those two for me.

    Also, good point about the notion that the Heat are fine w/o Wade and fall apart w/o LBJ. W/o LBJ, they played at Denver (off of a back-to-back) and at Chicago. W/o Wade, they’ve played at PHX and at home to Toronto. The level of competition is severly tilted in LBJs favor there.


    January 24, 2011 at 3:44 pm

    • Your concerns about the underrating of LeBron are a good thing to bring up, and I like that you tee’d it up for me in terms of a specific question.

      If Deron had the same PER and team record would he be a lock? He’d probably be #1 on my POY list…however he doesn’t have Wade & Bosh on his team.

      Yes it’s true that beyond the Heatles’ Big 3 the team isn’t deep, but there’s still every reason to believe that sans-LeBron in the long term this Miami team is a 50+ win team, and that’s the crux. LeBron doesn’t need to equal his Cavs-level impact to be the MVP, but taking a team that could win 50 without you and leading them on a pace for 58 wins really is not terribly impressive. Anyone else whose impact could be framed as such wouldn’t be a tremendous MVP candidate either, so I don’t think I’m holding LeBron to a higher standard than others.

      Matt Johnson

      January 25, 2011 at 12:14 pm

  3. […] 2011 NBA POY Watch 1/24 (asubstituteforwar.wordpress.com) […]

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