Evaluating the Sportswriters Choices for MVP and All-NBA

Posted on May 9, 2008 by

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The NBA has announced the media’s selection of the league’s Most Valuable Player as well as the members of the All-NBA First, Second, and Third teams.  With voting complete and reported, we can now evaluate the media’s choices.

Table One reports the Wins Produced and WP48 [Wins Produced per 48 minutes] of the 42 players who received consideration for the MVP and/or All-NBA teams.

Table One: Evaluating the Candidates for MVP and All-NBA in 2008

Here are some quick thoughts I had when looking over this table.

  • Kobe Bryant – the league MVP and top choice in voting for the All-NBA team – ranks 9th in the league in Wins Produced.  Because he ranked 6th in the league in minutes played, his Wins Produced is a bit inflated.  If we consider WP48, we see that he is only the 14th most productive player listed in Table One.
  • Among shooting guards, only Manu Ginobili posted a higher WP48 than Kobe.  So Kobe is one of the very best shooting guards.
  • If we consider all guards, Chris Paul is easily the most productive. And that is the same story if we consider all players.
  • Four players received first place votes for MVP (Kobe, Paul, Kevin Garnett, and LeBron James).  Of these four, Kobe was the least productive.  In terms of WP48, only Paul and Dwight Howard did more than KG.
  • The most over-looked player in the league was Jose Calderon.  Calderon posted a WP48 of 0.309 and produced 16.0 wins.  That mark ranks 12th in the league.  Despite this production, Calderon received no consideration in MVP voting or voting for the All-NBA teams.
  • When we look at players for Denver, the media ranked Denver’s players in this order: Allen Iverson, Carmelo Anthony, Marcus Camby.  WP48 offers an exactly opposite ranking.
  • Four players who were quite close to league average received consideration for the All-NBA team: Tracy McGrady [0.107 WP48], David West [0.105 WP48], Joe Johnson [0.100 WP48], and Michael Redd [0.087 WP48].  McGrady – as has been noted in this forum in the past – is not the player he once was.  The other three have never really been as productive as some people seem to believe.  
  • Not a single rookie received any consideration for these awards.  Al Horford – the most productive rookie in Wins Produced – produced more wins than 12 players who received consideration for the All-NBA team.  Of course, Kevin Durant did not.

Okay, those are some quick thoughts.  Previously I posted the top 15 at each position.  Below these lists are re-posted.

Top 15 Point Guards

Top 15 Shooting Guards

Top 15 Small Forwards

Top 15 Power Forwards

Top 15 Centers

Again, the MVP and All-NBA teams are selected by the media.  As I have noted in the past, the MVP vote is dominated by scorers from winning teams.  

Hopefully next week we will see the All-Rookie teams.  These teams are selected by the coaches.  I will be most interested in seeing how the coaches reward (or penalize) the production offered by Kevin Durant this season.

– DJ

Our research on the NBA was summarized HERE.

The Technical Notes at wagesofwins.com provides substantially more information on the published research behind Wins Produced and Win Score

Wins Produced, Win Score, and PAWSmin are also discussed in the following posts:

Simple Models of Player Performance

Wins Produced vs. Win Score

What Wins Produced Says and What It Does Not Say

Introducing PAWSmin — and a Defense of Box Score Statistics

Finally, A Guide to Evaluating Models contains useful hints on how to interpret and evaluate statistical models.