A Substitute for War

Basketball philosophy

Posts Tagged ‘Deron Williams

2011 NBA POY Watch 1/10

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My version of the NBA MVP list. Updated weekly.

First a general note:  We’ve entered full on chaos mode now.  I can’t remember an MVP in so much disarray this late into the year since I’ve been following the sport.  We may end up approaching ’77-78 levels.

Player (Last Week’s Rank)

1. Dirk Nowitzki (1)

Dirk’s still here to some degree because no one’s knocked him off the perch.  Obviously part of it is that Dallas had enough separation from the pack that they aren’t really hurt by their fall at this point, but I’ll admit that part of the deal is my meh feelings about those behind him.

2. Derrick Rose (2)

If y’all don’t stop me soon I swear I’ll pull the trigger and move Rose up to #1 shortly.  I’m hoping to see more massive free throw games from like we’ve seen recently.

3. Dwight Howard (8)

The Magic are 9-0 since the arrival of new talent after the big trade and clearly looked to be one of the elite teams in the league again, with Howard looking quite happy.  He clearly needs to be on the MVP shortlist again.

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2011 NBA POY Watch 1/3

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My version of the NBA MVP list. Updated weekly.

Player (Last Week’s Rank)

1. Dirk Nowitzki (1)

One of two guys on this list missing time with injury.  Dirk’s still got a comfortable lead to burn off though.

2. Derrick Rose (3)

The Bulls continue to play like contenders even without Joakim Noah.  I’m still not entirely sold that Rose is an MVP level player, but I can’t justify putting anyone other than Dirk above him right now.

3. Deron Williams (2)

Utah’s slipping a bit.  Hard to take that out on Deron, but also hard to win the MVP when your team isn’t looking elite.

4. Chris Paul (5)

The Hornets seem to have stabilized a bit with Paul taken on bigger load again.  Beating Boston, even without Garnett in the lineup is an accomplishment.

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Written by Matt Johnson

January 3, 2011 at 3:00 pm

What if Dwight goes to the Clippers in 2012?

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With the summer of Lebron and Wade’s free agencies over, on the horizon we can already see a similarly crazy summer of free agency: 2012, when Chris Paul, Deron Williams, and Dwight Howard hit the market. It’s only a year and a half away and in NBA terms perhaps much less if there’s a lockout next season. Rumors of Howard wanting out have already kickstarted after he was photographed wearing a Lakers hat earlier this month and Ric Bucher tweeted about his interest in LA.

But are the Lakers a wise choice? Kobe will be an old 34, Gasol 32, Odom 33. Furthermore with Kobe and Gasol’s maximum contracts, the Lakers having capspace for a major FA won’t happen. I’m predicting after Kobe’s fall, the Lakers will hit a down rebuilding period for the first time in well, ever.

Here’s what I really want to see: Dwight going to the other LA team. Yes, the Clippers. Can you imagine a Blake Griffin and Dwight Howard frontcourt with Eric Gordon scoring from the perimeter? Scary. Titles are won by owning the paint and no team in the league would come close to the interior defense, offense, and rebounding power a Griffin and Howard frontcourt would have. A perimeter all-star scorer in Gordon completes the puzzle. Furthermore all 3 players are great team players without egos who don’ t need to dominate the ball. Using the Spurs “3 all-stars + role players” model, it’d be easy to fill the PG and SF spots and bench with defenders and shooters and walk to contention. I truly believe with Gordon, Griffin, and Howard, the Clippers 2010s decade could be every bit as succesful as the 2000s was for the Spurs. And what a great story it’d be for the Clips to finally find success. The reaction of Howard leaving the Magic wouldn’t be negative like it was for Lebron, because the Clippers are an underdog like the Cavaliers. Furthermore I think most of us believe if Howard wants to be the best player on a title team, he’ll likely need other all-star scorers to help him like Ray Allen and Paul Pierce did for Kevin Garnett in 2008. Eric Gordon and Blake Griffin are perfect for him.

The only cause for concern I could see is Donald Sterling not being an ideal owner with a history of cheapness and bad decisions. But with a Gordon, Griffin, Howard team, it’s hard to imagine how he could screw that up.

Of course it’d probably be best for the NBA if Howard, Paul and Deron stay with their present teams. But the free agents moving again is unavoidable, I’d like to see the Clippers finally hit a home run in 2012.

2011 NBA POY Watch 12/27

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My version of the NBA MVP list. Updated weekly.

Player (Last Week’s Rank)

1. Dirk Nowitzki (1)

Remains easily out in front.  We’re at a point now where all the major lists agree with me, but still I’m hearing people question how Dirk can be so clearly #1 when his volume stats aren’t much different from previous seasons.   The advanced stats paint a stronger case for Dirk, but it also has to be noted just how much weaker the competition is this year.  All the big players from previous years have fallen off – except Dirk.  What this says more than anything else, is that it is the perfect time for some new blood to step up.

2. Deron Williams (2)

Deron, I suppose, is leading the charge of the “new blood”, but he’s not that new, and he really doesn’t seem like a legit #2 MVP candidate.  Still, props to the guy, leading the Jazz to another great year.

3. Derrick Rose (4)

Rose keeps climbing.  The Bulls lose Noah, and they’re still scrapping.  I could see Rose becoming a top tier superstar by year’s end.

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Written by Matt Johnson

December 27, 2010 at 4:12 pm

2011 NBA POY Watch 12/18

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My version of the NBA MVP list. Updated weekly.

Player (Last Week’s Rank)

1. Dirk Nowitzki (1)

Way, way out in front.

2. Deron Williams (2)

That loss to New Orleans was bizarre, but it’s still just one game.  Day in and day out, among the inarguably good teams, no one is carrying their team more.

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Written by Matt Johnson

December 20, 2010 at 1:09 pm

Looking at Nash’s Crazy +/- Numbers

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With Phoenix Suns making a huge trade I wanted to take a moment to talk a bit about Steve Nash in terms of +/- statistics.  The Suns made the trade because of dissatisfaction with the way the team is playing, and with a sub-.500 record that’s understandable.  While I’ve yet to hear many people talking about the Suns’ struggles as a reflection on Nash, neither am I hearing Nash getting much attention in the MVP-sense.  I understand that to some degree as I currently don’t have him in my POY top 10, but it should be a hard decision for people.

According to basketballvalue.com, Nash is currently #1 in the league in Adjusted +/- for the year (and for the last two years combined actually).  His rating is +29.14, there are only 5 guys total in the league with a rating north of +20, and the other guys (Chris Paul, Dirk Nowitzki, Chris Bosh, Pau Gasol) are all on much more successful teams.  Most people reading this blog probably have the general understanding that adjusted +/- means roughly how much better the team does with you compared to without you after making some statistical adjustments to reduce noise.  But what does it mean when a guy on a mediocre team does well by this metric?  How do you compare him to guys on great teams?

There’s no clear cut answer to this, but I think it’s helpful to look at some raw +/- to get a more concrete feel for things.  nba.com has raw +/- numbers, i.e. how much in total your team has outscored opponents with you on the court over the season, and here’s how the Phoenix Suns look right now:

1. So Nash is at over 100, and 8 of the 9 other rotation players have a negative.  Stunning these are the guys Nash is out there with, and when he’s with them the team is still doing great, but virtually to a man, things are going terribly when Nash is out.

2. The only other positive rotation player is Frye, and he’s just barely above zero.  Nash’s lead over his nearest teammate is 95 points, which is the biggest gap between a team leader and his teammates of anyone in the league (Dirk is 2nd with an 81 point lead).

3. In case you’re wonder how a +109 net stands up, well to some degree it’s modest.  Dirk’s at +255 for example.  But check out some elite point guards on more successful teams:

Deron Williams, +51

Derrick Rose, +106

Russell Westbrook, +21

Chris Paul, +117

It becomes pretty easy to make the case that Nash is only ranked below these other point guards in MVP races because of how bad his teammates are.

Now, with all this said, I don’t have Nash in my top 10 right now.  The truth is I’m not entirely convinced by the metrics I’m showing here myself, with one major reason being that Nash has missed some time, and that doesn’t come into the above line of reasoning at all (and clearly it needs to fit in somewhere).  What I am adamant about is simply that when you look at these results, it should make your jaw drop.  You should be dang impressed with Nash, and you should consider that truly, the only thing keeping Nash from leading a contender is a decent supporting cast.  I don’t know whether the Carter & Gortat trade will do the trick, but I think it’s worth a shot.

Written by Matt Johnson

December 19, 2010 at 1:40 pm

2011 NBA POY Watch 12/11

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My version of the NBA MVP list. Updated weekly.

Player (Last Week’s Rank)

1. Dirk Nowitzki (1)

Another week and the streak continues.  We now have 3 teams with records far better than the rest of the league, and only 1 of those teams is let by a superstar.  Easy choice.

2. Deron Williams (2)

The Jazz haven’t pulled away from the 2nd tier of teams record-wise, but there’s little to dislike about the club.  Their losses are coming against great teams that they fight hard, and it’s pretty much a given that in each of those games Deron will play like a champion.

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2011 NBA POY Watch 12/6

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My version of the NBA MVP list. Updated weekly.

Player (Last Week’s Rank)

1. Dirk Nowitzki (1)

To me Dirk’s lead right now is pretty glaring.  It’s strange to me that he isn’t being talked about like the favorite.  He didn’t even win Player of the Month.  Dirk’s Mavs have almost the best record in the league, and they are totally dependent upon him bringing it every night.

2. Deron Williams (7)

There are a couple big shifts in my ranking this week.  I don’t like it because it forces me to face up to how much an inexact science this is.  However, the other guys who were in front of him have really been slipping.  Deron is the front and center superstar for a very strong Jazz team, he earns this place largely by having less caveats than the other candidates.

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Thoughts on other sites’ NBA MVP Watch-es

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As is probably clear, I’m a bit of a ranking junkie, hence the weekly top 10 list for NBA POY *cough* MVP.  Over at RealGM, we always end up with an on-going thread on the subject.  In fact, I believe we started using the phrase “MVP Watch” before Maurice Brooks.

There are two MVP watch lists I’m aware of at major sites that are reliably updated each week, and so I check them out regularly.  Both are bugging me right now though, so I feel the need to spout.

nba.com’s Race to the MVP

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Written by Matt Johnson

November 22, 2010 at 2:12 pm