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Monday, December 03, 2007

Early Take on the MVP/RoY Races

BrewHoop.com will be polling several NBA bloggers throughout the season to get their takes on the Most Valuable Player and Rookie of the Year races. Contributors have been instructed to rank candidates on a 10-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1 and 5-4-3-2-1 point scale respectively (i.e., 10 is a person's first choice for MVP), based on the entire season to date, not who we think will be the best player by the end of the year or who has played well in a recent stretch. The results of the first poll can be found here.

Four of my top five MVP candidates finished in the top five in the overall voting; I rated Tim Duncan higher and Chris Paul lower than the consensus. Eight of my ten MVP candidates finished in the top ten; I left off Carlos Boozer and Manu Ginobili (they would be in my top 15) in favor of Dirk Nowitzki and Yao Ming. As for Rookie of the Year, I am not surprised that Kevin Durant finished first but I have him third right now. Three of my five Rookie of the Year selections were consensus picks; I left off Jamario Moon and Yi Jianlian in favor of Sean Williams and Luis Scola. The group is wrong to ignore Williams, who ranks in the top ten in the league (not just among rookies) in field goal percentage and blocked shots; he is a more productive player, right now, than Durant and Williams is making his contributions on a much better team. Moon and Scola are probably a wash right now but if we are talking about production to date then I would not put Yi in the top five. Here is my complete ballot exactly as I submitted it:

MVP

10-LeBron James--He is racking up "big" triple doubles (with 30-plus points) like Michael Jordan in 1989 and has improved on defense as well.
9-Kobe Bryant--He is still the best all-around, two way player in the game but the voting instructions are to select who is playing the best right now and no one is playing better than LeBron.
8-Dwight Howard: His numbers--24 ppg, 15 rpg, nearly 3 bpg--demand that he rank highly in any MVP discussion.
7-Kevin Garnett: Barring a complete collapse by the Celtics, the media will likely give him the MVP. He is putting up good numbers, which he always does, but I'd be lying if I said I'd take him over LeBron or Kobe. Honestly, I don't think that he is better than Duncan or Nowitzki but he has been more productive than either of those guys so far.
6-Tim Duncan: He's not putting up big individual numbers but does anybody believe that the Spurs would have the best record in the West without him?
5-Steve Nash: Amazingly, his shooting percentages are even higher than his off the charts numbers from last season.
4-Dirk Nowitzki: His shooting numbers are down but his assists and blocks are up.
3-Chris Paul: Career-high numbers across the board.
2-Tracy McGrady: Houston's record without him in recent seasons is terrible.
1-Yao Ming: Steady inside presence on an up and down Houston team.

ROY

5-Al Horford: Nearly averaging a double-double and shooting a much better percentage than Durant.
4-Sean Williams: Ranks in the top ten in the league (not just among rookies) in field goal percentage and blocked shots.
3-Kevin Durant: I realize that Durant will likely be a landslide winner due to the unrelenting hype but the only significant edge he has over my top two selections is ppg--and that is because he is playing a lot of minutes for a bad team and he has the green light to jack up shots despite his poor field goal percentage.
2-Juan Carlos Navarro: Logged at least 35 minutes in four straight games, played a big role in Memphis going 2-2 in those contests.
1-Luis Scola: Already has three 20 point games, ranks 11th in the NBA in field goal percentage and has emerged as a solid rebounder.

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posted by David Friedman @ 3:03 AM

12 comments

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12 Comments:

At Monday, December 03, 2007 10:19:00 AM, Blogger madnice said...

this is a joke. mvp and rookie of the year this early in the season is a waste of time.

 
At Monday, December 03, 2007 1:40:00 PM, Blogger alternaviews said...

"KG wanted to play with Kobe but when Kobe pointed out how poorly the Lakers are managed then KG decided that he did not want to go from one mismanaged situation in Minnesota to another one in L.A. "

The Bottom Line: Kobe cost the lakers a chance to have KG

Kobe is to blame for his own & LAL troubles

also, as to Deron: why didnt Kobe try guarding him, if he's such a defensive stopper?

 
At Monday, December 03, 2007 4:34:00 PM, Blogger nba said...

Take a look at nbablogs.info Almost all NBA blogs from each team.

 
At Monday, December 03, 2007 7:19:00 PM, Blogger David Friedman said...

Madnice:

The idea is just to take stock of who is performing the best right now. Teams have played about a dozen games, which is a large enough sample size to form some impressions. Obviously, the rankings will likely change during the season and that will be interesting to watch.

 
At Monday, December 03, 2007 7:37:00 PM, Blogger David Friedman said...

Alternaviews:

So it's Kobe's fault that the Lakers are mismanaged? That makes no sense. By the way, Magic Johnson, Larry Bird and Shaquille O'Neal each made statements or took actions that contributed to coaches being fired during their careers, so for people to act like Kobe is the first superstar to express displeasure with how his team is being run displays a lack of knowledge of basketball history.

If Kobe guards Deron Williams then who is Derek Fisher going to guard? Williams had a big game but what really killed the Lakers in that contest was their poor defense in the paint. Kobe can't guard every single player on the court, score 30 points and lead the team in assists.

 
At Tuesday, December 04, 2007 12:27:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

reggie

mvp is leborn or kobe right now it has been a handful of gmaes both teams records are simlar lebron has outplayed kobe he is the mvp kobe on cruise control right now he could play better but lebro has been better so far garnett is right there best player on best team well see how about howward from orlando 23 and 15 ridcolous he is right there too and there 15-4 16-4 if they beat golden state a legend in the makeing there a power forward shaq in his prime. but it's the king right now no question.

 
At Tuesday, December 04, 2007 2:34:00 AM, Blogger David Friedman said...

Reggie:

I wouldn't say that Kobe is "on cruise control." He is playing at a very high level both offensively and defensively. What makes this seem like "cruise control" is that he spent the second half of last season routinely scoring 40 or more points but no one, not even Kobe, can do that for a full season (OK, no one other than Wilt). Meanwhile, LeBron has played at an incredible level. It will be interesting to see if LeBron can maintain that pace and if Kobe goes on a scoring streak at some point.

 
At Tuesday, December 04, 2007 1:47:00 PM, Blogger madnice said...

i understand the idea but it doesnt matter right now. the lakers are 9-8 and you have bryant 2nd. im not surprised by that.

and bryant is not in the same class as magic, bird or shaquille.

the mvp is garnett, or james because of his numbers. even though they havent went out west yet.

 
At Tuesday, December 04, 2007 2:56:00 PM, Blogger David Friedman said...

Kobe is second in the NBA in scoring and Celtics Coach Doc Rivers said that he is playing the best defense of anyone in the league. Kobe is leading the Lakers in assists and is averaging over 6 rpg from the shooting guard position. The Lakers have already beaten Phoenix, Utah and Denver, teams that have multiple All-Stars; the Lakers have no All-Stars other than Kobe and I doubt that any of their starters could crack the starting lineups of those teams. Add all of that up and Kobe is absolutely having an MVP caliber season. I ranked LeBron first because he has simply been off the charts so far with his "big" triple doubles and his improved defense.

 
At Tuesday, December 04, 2007 10:19:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

reggie

when i say kobe on cruise control it is nuthing bad really he is not playing as hard as he could saveing himself right now he is putting up 27 6 5 last year 31 5 5 the year before 35ppg 5 5 he is cruising cleary if he want to he could score more for his team. he has played at a high level just cruising.

 
At Wednesday, December 05, 2007 5:58:00 AM, Blogger David Friedman said...

Reggie:

I guess it's just a matter of semantics--you say Kobe is cruising, I say that he is doing what the coach asks him to do. Right now, the plan is to spread the scoring around a bit, like the Lakers tried to do in the first half of last season. The problem is that the other Lakers aren't that good and key players get hurt every year. So, at some point, Jackson will probably tell Kobe to cut loose and then we'll see the string of 40 and 50 point games again.

It's not really accurate to say that a player is on cruise control when he is playing the kind of defense that Kobe is playing, is leading his team in assists and is still managing to score nearly 28 ppg.

 
At Thursday, December 06, 2007 12:18:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

reggie

it's not a bad thing but he could probably if he wanted to lead the league in scoreing agian the players around him play well at times and are definetely better this year than last year.

 

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