A Substitute for War

Basketball philosophy

Posts Tagged ‘Most Valuable Player

On whether Paul George’s offensive production is sustainable

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On Morningpickup.com I analyzed Paul George’s shooting chart so far this season and whether he can maintain MVP production:

http://www.morningpickup.com/paul-georges-offensive-production-real/

Written by jr.

December 5, 2013 at 8:20 pm

MVP/Power Rankings Monday: MVP predictions for the 2012-2013 NBA season

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Here is my predictions for the 2012-2013 MVP race in the NBA:

Honorable mentions:

Dirk Nowitzki – Should have another strong season, but when a player passes his statistical prime it’s hard to rejoin the MVP conversation

Kobe Bryant – I’m expecting age and the odometer to rear up this year for Kobe, but another 25 point per game season is possible

Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili – I expect another strong season for the Spurs, after after the novelty of putting Parker in the top 5 last year, I expect the MVP votes go in other directions

Dwight Howard and Derrick Rose – Will miss too large a portion of the season to make a dent in the race

Kevin Love – The hardest omission from the top 10. The biggest factor is my prediction that the Wolves have a disappointing season, which I’ll cover later this week

9-10 Elite 2nd bananas

10. Russell Westbrook – Russell’s scoring could finally plateau this year with James Harden’s increased usage on the perimeter, but his motor and energy continue to define the Thunder even more than Kevin Durant and on an elite team should find himself with a number of top 10 finishes in his career

9. Blake Griffin – Many star players break out statistically in year 3. Remember Blake was thought as a future MVP candidate after his rookie season. With a PG who’s used to him now and a midrange shot that’s dieing to get consistent, he could be in for a massive season that makes the media reconsider his ceiling back to that superstar level.

5-8: Star production, but not a high enough team record to compete for MVP Read the rest of this entry »

Written by jr.

September 24, 2012 at 2:50 pm

Bogansing the Vote

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Keith Bogans

Image by Keith Allison via Flickr

ESPN did us the solid of sharing their expert picks, and lo &  behold the  picks by Dr. Jack Ramsey blew some minds. Manu Ginobili for MVP is the kind of off-the-wall pick that someone of Ramsey’s stature  might make people reconsider their opinions on. There’s nothing to be done though when he picks Keith Bogans as Defensive Player of the Year. Suffice to say, that there is no conceivable way that a guy who plays less than 20 MPG should be getting consideration for really any on court accolade. Even 6th Man of the Year is well out of his league, so DPOY is many orders of magnitude out there.

How do we reconcile that with the fact that Ramsey is a Hall of Fame coach who clearly knows the game on a level matched only by a few handfuls of people on this planet?

Well, by recognizing that Ramsey just isn’t putting that much effort into his picks.

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Written by Matt Johnson

April 28, 2011 at 10:32 pm

We never have proof, but we do have evidence: On Howard vs James

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The talented Ethan Sherwood Strauss over at Hoopspeak just wrote a piece on the “dirty little secret” about Dwight Howard‘s MVP candidacy relative to LeBron James:

My suspicion is that story plays a role here, too. While many metrics-oriented writers have no issue with the Decision, they’re realists about what that does to LeBron’s MVP chances. Also, the Heat did not help his case by ducking preseason expectations. So it makes sense to back the politician, er, player who can win.

But, some stat-steeped writers just plain prefer Dwight Howard as an MVP. The oft-cited reason is “defense,” and Howard is great at it. Orlando is a top defensive unit, despite carrying some doughy sieves (I call them “funnel cakes”) on the roster.

Dwight’s defense is laudable, though I ask: Is there really a way for us to know if he’s defensively better than LeBron? While center is probably a more important position on that end, James can play multiple positions. LeBron’s defensive plus-minus exceeds Dwight’s which could mean a whole lot and could mean absolutely nothing. And, how much of Orlando’s stingy success is attributable to Stan Van Gundy’s team principles? Scott Skiles seems to always turn lackluster rosters into rabid rim shrinkers. Coaching could trump talent when it comes to cohesive basket prevention. Choosing Howard on the basis of his defensive superiority is fraught with subjective judgments, even if the goal is to better appreciate winning basketball.

I think he hit upon something key with his general thesis. There is absolutely a tendency for people to use defense as a black box trump card. Of course I can’t just leave it at that: The reality is that that we can’t really even prove Dwight over Derrick Rose or anyone else either. We have no method of measuring a player’s impact with absolute certainty. That may seem like I’m be ridiculously cautious, but the truth is that every single person involved in this analysis is supplying a layer of causal narrative on top of observations and stats, which is something I elaborated on last week here. We do however, have evidence that we can use supporting the “Dwight’s better on defense” argument:

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Written by Matt Johnson

April 13, 2011 at 1:19 pm

The Empire State Wears No Clothes: Amare is NOT the MVP

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Amar'e addresses the masses

Image by Chamber of Fear via Flickr

Wow.  Alright, we’re have halfway through the NBA season, and the MVP race is the strangest I’ve ever followed.  Every candidate has a mark against them, and no one really would have a chance against the competition from last season, despite the fact that it’s all the same players and then some in the pool of candidates.  It’s tough, I know, but that’s no excuse for this fellas.

Sports Illustrated check came out with their mid-year awards, and if you take their writers’ votes and tally them up, Amare Stoudemire is their choice for MVP.  They aren’t alone.  nba.com’s Race to the MVP has Amare at #1, ESPN’s Awards Watch has Amare at #3.  That’s as good of a collection of the established media as we’re going to get right now in an award the media votes for – and they’re telling us Amare is the favorite for the MVP right now.  I keep my own weekly MVP list because I really enjoy thinking about this stuff, and because I respect the NBA’s MVP.  It’s fashionable to knock it, but I always defend the voters.  But this, folks, is just crazy.  Excuse me while I get on this here soap box so I can talk y’all down.

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Written by Matt Johnson

January 21, 2011 at 2:02 am

Why the faith in OPS?

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First off, I’m not a sabermatrician. I won’t pretend to be in their league in advanced baseball knowledge.  But I have a problem with their most widely used advanced batting stat: OPS.

OPS stands for On-Base Plus Slugging. In short, On-Base Percentage measures how often a player gets on base and Slugging Percentage accounts for the value of extra bases. Both these stats are fine. But I don’t see the basis for simply adding them together 1 to 1. Since they clearly aren’t worth the same, this immediately makes the stat flawed.

The consensus is OBP is worth more. It’s more important to not waste one of the precious 3 outs than advance more bases when you get on. The number I’ve heard is OBP is worth 1.8x more, though some have estimated as high as 3x and up. If true, OPS is very off. Furthermore, SLG% itself is also flawed because it weighs singles and walks the same. Singles are worth more because they advance players on 2nd and 3rd without a force from 1st, making them much more potent for scoring runs. Once again this just trips up any pretensions of accuracy for OPS.

The real basis for it is adding them together happens to coorelate pretty well with offensive production. So under the guise of “it works”, it’s stuck. I’m not buying it. Stats should be equated for reasons making sense on their own, not just because they give us the good looking answer. We shouldn’t accept flawed stats because it gives us an answer we want. Especially in baseball, a sport where eventual statistical exactness is not only possible, but realistically attainable.

In truth, OPS is a great ballpark stat. The basketball equivalent is John Hollinger’s Player Efficiency Rating (PER) or Win Shares (WS). In one number it can tell you who the MVP candidates, all-stars, and mediocore players are. It should not be treated as more.

Recently OPS+ was introduced, adjusting OPS for ballparks and giving OBP 1.2x weight. It’s not enough. It still doesn’t make sense without relying on the conclusion looking right. To me the answer is a multiplication equation involving OBP and SLG%, not addition.

My quick glance across the internet has shown me fringe sabermatricians have realized the faults of OPS and tried to develop better, multiplication based batting stats for years. Much credit to them. I’d only say not to treat OPS as gospel or the end of the line because it’s clearly not. Baseball is a sport where we can truly exact offensive value. It’s all on the paper. To treat simply adding together OBP and SLG% together 1 to 1 as enough, is selling ourselves short.