A Substitute for War

Basketball philosophy

2011 NBA POY Watch 4/4

with 7 comments

My weekly MVP rankings for the duration of the regular season. However, I’ll continue updating this as we go through the playoffs.

Player (last week’s rank)

1. Derrick Rose (1)

I’m in the middle of a mental war with myself here for who I give the top spot to. Rose appears to hold on this week, but in reality I’ve changed my mind several times since breakfast.

Also, don’t ask me to justify Rose’s first Player of the Month coming in March. I really don’t know how that can be retconned with the NBA’s previous choices.

2. Dwight Howard (2)

Don’t ask me to elaborate on what exactly Howard needs to do to win my vote – I can’t answer. Serious navel gazing time.

3. LeBron James (4)

Dirk’s Mavs continue to slip, I can’t overlook the missed time there any longer. James isn’t a serious threat through to take the top spot here though…at least by regular season’s end. Remember this is an all-season award folks. He may yet prevail.

4. Dirk Nowitzki (3)

Seriously, it’s like Dirk took a dive to make me look bad. I don’t even know if Dirk’ll end up on my 1st team by the time we’re through.

5. Kevin Durant (5)

Durant holds steady, might be the beneficiary of the Dirk downfall.

6. Dwyane Wade (6)

Y’know, I suppose I need to keep debating in my mind between he and the guards below, but I don’t feel a shred of remorse having Wade above them.

7. Kobe Bryant (8)

8. Pau Gasol (10)

Y’know this seems about right. Kobe remains the Laker alpha, but as the Lakers prepare for the playoffs as bigger favorites than they’ve been since the Shaq era, Gasol is right there with him.

9. Manu Ginobili (7)

Can’t justify him over the Laker duo at this point. Don’t know how long I’ll be able to swallow him over Paul either.

10. Chris Paul (9)

Falls a spot, but not any real major bad karma going on here. Still would like to see him get back on that “only Chris Paul can do that trend” from a couple weeks ago.

Written by Matt Johnson

April 4, 2011 at 1:50 pm

7 Responses

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  1. There are ninety-nine guards that have played 20+ min a game in 30+ games in 2011.

    Rose is sixth among these in shot attempts at rim per 40 minutes… but 72nd in FG% at rim.

    seventh in attempts 3-9 feet out, 34th in FG%.

    fourteenth in attempts 10-15 feet. 27th in FG%.

    fifteenth in attempts 15-23 feet. 54th in FG%.

    42nd in three attempts per minute, 77th in FG%.

    Rose’s main strength on spreadsheet seems to be his ability to create a decent shot at any time. That’s undeniably valuable but not entirely unique in the NBA. With the assists thrown in there it’s a lot like Tony Parker’s 2009 season, except there you could identify one part of Tony’s game that was excellent (most at-rim attempts per minute among guards, 65% FG at rim) while expressing reservations about his jumper and defense.

    Rose is definitely gonna win MVP, but (just my opinion) I don’t see it. He’s winning it on his offense, right? What about his offense is historically good?


    April 6, 2011 at 10:01 pm

    • Historically good? I don’t know if anyone sees it like that.

      The key point is that people think the Bulls would get a lot worse without Rose. Obviously I have him at #1, so it’s fair to put me in that group, although I’m seeing estimates for how much worse they’d do without him that I consider crazy. I’m much more on the fence.

      Just thinking generally though, comparing him with LeBron (my #3), there’s a lot of what LeBron does that can be done by Wade. Rose doesn’t have a teammate that the same can be said for.

      Offense? Take a look at basketballvalue’s numbers. The Bulls’ offense is 10 points better with Rose than without him in the raw numbers (which puts him among the league leaders), despite the fact that Rose’s adjusted numbers are much better than his raw numbers.

      It’s certainly within the realm of reason to not be sold on Rose having a unique impact for the Bulls, but the fact of the matter is that the narrative does have at least some statistical basis.

      Matt Johnson

      April 7, 2011 at 11:43 am

  2. […] 2011 NBA POY Watch 4/4 (asubstituteforwar.com) […]

  3. I’ve seen stats that indicate Wade is a bigger factor in Miami’s success than James.

    Non-analytically: It appears to me that Howard and Nowitsky are more crucial to their teams’ success than Rose. Chicago has a lot of talent. I would actually put Rose in the same category as Carmelo with Denver: turns out they weren’t so dependent on their star after all. The thing is: we just don’t know. Nene doesn’t get nearly the attention Pau Gsaol gets, but perhaps he’s the player the Nuggets would fall apart without.
    The way a player affects other players performace involves so many factors – off the court as much as on – that we can maybe measure it, but we cannot understand it.
    I actually play a sport (soccer, not hoops) and I can tell you that there is one player, a good one, who does everything for the morale of our team. He keeps some of the potential hot heads on our team from getting upset or into fights, he makes a mediocre player like myself want to excel, he can say just the right thing to make everyone have a good time. We went 9-1 last season. But there is no way to calculate that effect, even if the correlation is observable.


    April 8, 2011 at 12:57 am

    • “we just don’t know”

      Yup, there’s a lot of uncertainty in understanding Rose’s impact specifically.

      With Melo, everyone in the stat community was for years saying his impact on Denver was overrated. So it’s not actually a major surprise to us when him going to New York didn’t immediately and drastically affect the fortunes of his teams.

      With Rose, the stat community also tends to be on the anti side. Worth noting thought that Rose does have better PER & Win Shares than Melo ever did, his adjusted +/- is solid, and he’s a willing and able to contributor to the team’s elite defense.

      I’m with you that a truly great leader can have a huge impact beyond all statistics. I think historically, Bill Russell and Magic Johnson fit this bill. In recent times Kevin Garnett and Steve Nash would be the ones that come to mind.

      While I wouldn’t put Rose up on that level, I will say that I don’t think elite defense done without a defensive superstar is possible without an enthusiastic mindset – and I don’t think such a mindset is possible team wide without solid buy in from the star. This is something that has often been complained about about Melo, meanwhile Rose right now is getting praise on that front.

      Matt Johnson

      April 10, 2011 at 11:33 am

  4. […] 2011 NBA POY Watch 4/4 (asubstituteforwar.com) […]

  5. […] 2011 NBA POY Watch 4/4 (asubstituteforwar.com) […]

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