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Jeeze Giannis is Good!

Players that are one-man contenders.

Giannis Antetokounmpo is really good at basketball and easily worth a max deal. Currently, he leads the league in Wins Produced. When we zoom in on a game by game, basis though, he's even more incredible, if that's possible. We break down "contender worthy games" and shocker, Giannis leads the charge!

Quick refresher, if you head over to and then sort by WP(wins, why don't we sort by that by default? Who knows!), as of this writing Giannis Antetokounmpo leads the charge with almost 10 wins. The Wins Produced formula estimates the total number of Wins a player is responsible for. Another variant of this is the Points over Par metric. Points over Par estimates the margin you could expect a team of average players and your player to beat an opposing team of average players. And this is cool because we can go game by game and see how much impact our player had on the actual margin of victory (or defeat) We've used this for fun metrics like my Game Changer one.

I started looking for players that had games this season with a Points over Par of +6.0 or better. Somewhat arbitrary, but around a +6 margin of victory pretty much puts you in contender status. For example, last year's Cleveland Cavaliers had a margin of victory of, look at that, exactly 6.0 :) Anyway, here's a tally of all players that have put up eleven or more +6.0 Points over Par games this season.

Player +6.0 PoP Games Wins Produced in those games Team W Team L
Giannis Antetokounmpo 22 8.6 14 8
Rudy Gobert 18 6.5 14 4
Chris Paul 17 6.5 15 2
Jimmy Butler 16 6.7 13 3
DeAndre Jordan 15 4.9 10 5
James Harden 15 6.8 12 3
Dwight Howard 14 5.4 9 5
Kawhi Leonard 14 5.3 13 1
Hassan Whiteside 13 4.8 5 8
Kevin Durant 13 5.2 12 1
Kyle Lowry 13 5.3 12 1
Russell Westbrook 12 5.4 9 3
LeBron James 11 4.1 10 1
Stephen Curry 11 3.8 11 0
Trevor Ariza 11 3.7 11 0

It is not close; Giannis has put up twenty-two "Contender Worthy" games on his own this season! We'll note that Chris Paul, despite missing seven games so far is still top three. Anyway, Giannis is incredible. He's played 34 games this season and 22 of those his performance has been extraordinary. That brings us to a bit of bad news. Despite playing great, the Bucks win percentage when Giannis plays like a one-man squad would barely squeak the top four out West. Compare him to Kawhi, Durant, or Curry, who can promise their team a win if they play great. As a last meta note, there is a better chance that Giannis will put up a contender worthy game than that the Bucks will win when Giannis plays that well! That's good news for the Bucks though as it means with a few decent rotation players, they'll easily be a contender.

As one last note, I'd be remiss not to acknowledge Hassan Whiteside, who todd2 commented on for this week's BSGShow, who is the only player with such poor support he actually has a losing record in his great games!

The NBA season still isn't halfway done, so I can't wait to see what Giannis does!


Interesting that not one of those players is a true 4, I don't think.
And why has consistently good Trevor Ariza bounced around the league?
Has Giannis played marginally better than Harden, Kawhi, or CP3? Perhaps. But at the end of the day, the Bucks are 18-16. Even if they make the playoffs, they are not beating any of the top 3 teams in the East.
It's like saying DJ should have been the MVP 2 years ago since he played marginally better than CP3 or Curry, but is not nearly as important to his team's success as the other 2.

It's not a perfect apple to apple comparison here since the Bucks are a slightly above average team at best compared to the Clippers or Warriors of years past. If Giannis isn't playing, the Bucks can fill his minutes with capable players like Brogdon, Dellavedova, or JET. If Harden isn't playing, the entire Rockets rotation gets ruined. Ennis might be one of the bottom 10 players in the entire league and his minutes would jump. We would see Eric Gordon getting more time at PG. Corey Brewer and/or McDaniels would get increased minutes.

The Bucks would be awful without Giannis, but I'm not so sure how much better the Rockets would be without Harden. Likewise, the Clippers would be hurt more by the loss of CP3 than DJ, so you wouldn't say DJ is more valuable even if his WP are marginally higher.
Trevor Ariza has bounced around for the same reason that Whiteside bounced around before he got a shot. Decision makers suck at talent evaluation. This isn't just a statement on sports either.
I'm not firmly in the GA camp yet---his shooting is sub-par and his game is predicated on getting to the rim. And that's all good until his legs give out or he gets injured from getting knocked down too often. He has been in the league now going on four years and has had plenty of time to work on his shooting and teams might eventually adjust to his lack of a perimeter game. He's also not a 2 defensively, his speed is more first-step than 94 feet. Having said that, he does seem tailor made for someone like Mike D'Antoni. And I have to admit I'm a purist; I enjoyed watching Brogdon play last night. He's a 5 tool guy: constant movement, rebounding, touch passes, screening centers, etc.

You're the only one talking about MVP. The discussion was just saying Giannis is damn good.

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