Nerdnumbers avatar

The MVP Race!

We've looked a lot at what voters like in deciding an MVP. However, something I like more is pretending we have an MVP vote. With that in mind, who gets our vote? Well, the list is rather short.

Player Team (W-L) WP48 Wins
LeBron James Miami Heat (16-6) 0.348 5.6
Andre Drummond Detroit Pistons (10-12)  0.353 5.3
Chris Paul Los Angeles Clippers (14-8) 0.351 5.3

Bron, Drummond, and CP3 are heads and shoulders above the rest of the NBA right now. All of them are playing over three and half times the average at their respective positions. For Drummond, it's cementing his already historic start. For CP3 it's cementing his spot as one of the greatest point guards ever. And for LeBron, it's simply reinforcing my belief he's the best to have ever played the game.

These players also have another similarity, they're great overall players with only one major "flaw" -- an area they're significantly worse than average

  • Drummond - Assists
  • Bron - Turnovers
  • CP3 - Fouls

These players bring the complete package and currently no other names deserve consideration. That's right, with our MVP votes, the Boxscore Geeks leave 4-5 blank! I won't lie, I'd be tempted to put CP3 first, as I feel he's due at least one MVP in his career. However, if Bron keeps this up, I think he deserves the threepeat. If he maintains his ungodly 68.3% True Shooting Percentage, I think even our fickle voters will have to agree.

Possible Snags

The candid truth is Andre Drummond has no shot at this award. Being on a losing team means he won't get it. As for Paul and James? Well, if the Pacers and Blazers keep up their winning ways, the voters are likely to snub LeBron. They've done it before! If either the Pacers or Blazers eclipse 60 wins and outperform the Heat and/or Clippers then we can expect to crown either Paul George or LaMarcus Aldridge MVP. I'm inclined to believe the Pacers and Blazers cool. Even if they're better than we expected, I don't believe they stay this good. Of course, it's early and we'll have to wait and see!

I'm a little surprised at the way you lump Paul George together with LaMarcus Aldridge. George, while not on the level of the top three, is not all that far off. He's clearly the most productive player on a top team. If the Pacers end up with 60+ wins and George keeps up his pace, it would be hard to complain too much if he won the MVP. Aldridge is a different story, as he is something like the fourth or fifth most productive player on his own team, and barely above average at his position. An Aldridge MVP would be, I think, one of the worst in the history of the award.
I think he was lumping Aldridge in with George because of narrative not based on what he thinks. The fact is that many writers are crediting Aldridge with the Blazers performance. While that might be a faulty narrative that doesn't change the fact that the voters are frequently the ones pushing that narrative.
I agree with your choices, as usual. Just to point out Drummond may have two flaws. Free throws. He's ridiculously bad. Time to go Rick Barry there
My impression is that Drummond isn't that great on defense. To the extent that defense isn't fully captured by Wins Produced (and I don't think it is), that's a negative as compared to elite defenders like LeBron and CP3.

Also, with respect to Drummond's free throws, I would normally say the effect of his poor free throw shooting is fully captured by Wins Produced. However, where you are under 50%, Hack-a-Drummond becomes a viable tactic preventing him from being fully effective at the end of games, thereby reducing his value.
Is it too early to say that Drummond is the best big man in the league? I remember doing this with Love a couple years back and people didn't agree. Injury bug got Love though.
I am lukewarm on Drummond as well. He seemed to be a mediocre defender last year (XRAPM), which is alarming considering the "strong" impact Defensive Rebounding has on Defensive XRAPM.

His Offensive game has clearly taken a step-forward, though his Free-Throw struggles could be something to watch.

He's clearly elite, but I'm not comfortable placing him on the Lebron/CP3/Durant level just yet.

It's not too early. We started hinting at it last year, then he got hurt. Drummond is a man among boys.

But the free throws are going to hurt him a lot. I frankly don't understand how anyone can think that throwing Rick Barry-style is somehow more embarrassing than throwing an endless, pathetic string of airballs and clankers.
The interesting is that Chris Paul is not playing out of his mind. His true shooting percentage is actually lower than usual. His increase in assists is likely to stay where it's at as Doc wants him creating more. As he starts making more of his shots, he'll be productive. Idk if Lebron can keep up this true shooting percentage. As for Drummond, he's a monster. People are gonna have to see it at some point. He is a monster. His one on one defense, which is not fully captured by WP might hurt him though. Perhaps synergy sports could help with some of that stuff. Chris Paul and Lebron James, though, make everyone else at their positions look like mere mortals amongst gods. lol.
Every player has his flaw. But if my flaw was a simple as doing a certain thing at least half of the time then that is both impressive and concerning. Athletes too "manly" to shoot underhand? Sexist, much?

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