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NY Times: Why Derrick Rose Should Not Win M.V.P.

Posted by Neil Paine on March 31, 2011

A general overview of the MVP race and the statistical argument against Derrick Rose:

Keeping Score: Why Derrick Rose Should Not Win M.V.P. - NYTimes.com

You can catch it in tomorrow morning's paper as well.

And for a similar (longer) take on Rose -- albeit with a different conclusion about who the real MVP is -- John Hollinger also had a good piece at ESPN today.

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101 Responses to “NY Times: Why Derrick Rose Should Not Win M.V.P.”

  1. TD Says:

    This is getting old. I swear I remember on this very site mr neil pine sying plus minus is not a great indicator of a players impact and now all of a sudden because it benefits your argument it is a determining factor in deciding who is more valuable. First off lebron should not even be in the discussion, Lebron puts up great stats, that is what he does but he has cost his teams more wins in the clutch than any other mvp this year to the point where the teams has now replaced him with dwyane in the final minutes. this whole notion that derrick is not playing defense this year is funny because tom would not play derrick and definitely sit him to send him a message, has anyone began to think when derrick is on the bench and this eye popping stat of plus/minus is going that the bulls second unit is actually playing against the others team inferior second unit. Derrick Rose on most nights does not even come out the game until the second quarter. Noah and boozer have missed and overwhelming amount of games and the bulls have been able to win not only because of the defense which contrary to popular belief derrick plays because numerous times this year coach thibs has put derrick on the hot perimeter guy others couldnt seem to contain but because of derrick coming through with the big play even despite his poor shooting after all star break he still has found a way to be affective by getting to the free throw line. People trying to make statistics the end all be all when it just is not there are plenty of variables that are involved with being mvp.

  2. mr freeze Says:

    1) i think dragging a bunch of defensive studs to 13th in offensive efficiency is pretty great (look at last years bucks and bobcats), but i guess thats just me.

    2) his on/off defensive raw +/- definitely suffers from the fact that he rarely plays with asik or watson, the teams clear best defensive guys.

    3) im mean, cant you at least try to be fair to the guy? i agree with the guy above that your sudden confidence in 70 games of raw +/- is weird, but you also go out of you way to mention the bulls excellent shot blocking without including the fact that derrick is the best shot blocking small in the league.

  3. Grouse Says:

    Rose has already won the popularity contest. He has good enough stats to win, and people make up the criteria as they go along, which is a big problem with the award. To me it's not so much the stats, but the fact that people seem to be giving Rose too much of the credit for how improved the Bulls have been this year. I say give Thibodeau coach of the year and give the MVP to someone else, probably Dwight Howard. The reward for having a great team is not the MVP award, but a chance to win a championship.

  4. Kelly Says:

    It's hard to believe anyone's giving Rose credit at all these days. You can't go to a webpage without someone crying about how everyone is giving it to Rose and he doesn't deserve it. There's about 10 articles talking about he DOESN'T deserve it to one that say he DOES but the ones that say he doesn't cry and pout. For crying out loud, it's worse than politics.

  5. Greyberger Says:

    Welcome to the modern MVP debate, everybody. This phase of apebear metrics versus fuzzy narrative-driven logic should last a good ten years or so.

    The ultimate effect is that every person has their own threshold for how much MVP back and forth they can stand, and this year a lot of people are discovering theirs. I would cheer if they gave Rose the trophy tomorrow, just because it would signal the end of this debate...

    the funny thing is us stat nerds are having difficulty choosing between _our_ MVP candidates, Lebron and Howard. If Howard can maintain this year's increase in scoring load and efficiency then he'll be in the Apebear MVP race every year.

  6. Nick Says:

    Derrick Rose shouldn't be the MVP because he isn't. By any metric you choose. He's not even close to the best statistical player. He's not the player that help his team the most. He's not the guy that would hurt his team the most if he were out. He's not even the best player at his position. Hell, in the first 3 categories, he probably doesn't make the top 5. When he win the MVP, he'll be the least deserving since Iverson, and possibly ever.

  7. Jay Gibbons Says:

    Here are Derrick Rose's ranks in popular metrics for assessing player value:
    PER-11
    Win Shares-7
    Adj+/--19
    Net+/--not in top 50
    Lebron James:
    PER-1
    Win Shares-1
    Adj+/--12
    Net+/--10
    Chris Paul:
    PER-5
    Win Shares-2
    Adj+/--2
    Net+/--6
    Dwight Howard:
    PER-2
    Win Shares-4
    Adj+/--5
    Net+/--23
    Derrick Rose is worse than these three guys in every metric. Now, I acknowledge that 3 of those stats are rate stats, so to computer a value, I should subtract a replacement level value and multiply by the minutes each player played, but it would not make a significant difference since they've all played around 2700 minutes. I will also admit I have a gripe with PER (it's formula doesn't quite make sense) and Win Shares (I think it should reward players for higher usage, though this is a debate with reasonable arguments for each side). Further, adj+/- is subject to high variance and results which sometimes seem funny. Finally, none of these stats take into account clutch play, which makes a difference in the standings.
    However, Derrick Rose is significantly worse in all of these stats. He would have to be way more clutch than all three of these guys to make up for this.
    Here is why I think people think these guys are undeserving:
    They think the Heat should be better, so Lebron can't be MVP. Lebron has been a beast, the Heat's problem is that besides the efficient James Jones and the acceptable Zydrunas Ilgauskas, the rest of the team has been terrible and Lebron is not to blame.
    The Magic are worse than last year, so Dwight can't win MVP. Dwight has been better, most of his teammates have been worse or switched teams, and Gilbert has been awful.
    Finnaly, the Hornets aren't that good, so Chris Paul can't be MVP. Again, he has been good, many other Hornets players haven't.

    Here is my main point - all that should count towards a player's MVP candidacy is the value he adds to his team and nothing else. It doesn't matter if the team is worse than last year, if the team is worse than expected, or if the team also has a really good second best player.

  8. Sean Says:

    I'd give it to Dwight Howard. Honestly, what would they be doing without Dwight Howard?

  9. Matt Says:

    @7

    You just went on and on about how the stats show how much they add to their teams, then you said that they don't add enough to their teams to be MVP. That makes zero sense. A player cannot control how good or bad his teammates will be.

  10. Dan Says:

    @9 - I believe his point was that players' stats can show how valuable that player is to his team, but MVP voters often overlook such things and use other "criteria" to determine their pick. For example, because Miami didn't go 73-9 this year, LeBron James is thought to be somehow underperforming (and thus not the MVP).

  11. DJLetz Says:

    I think the point that people need to stress more is that not only is Rose much more important to Chicago's average offense than to their suffocating defense--he's not really that dominant of an offensive player. The reason Chicago is mediocre offensively is because of Rose, not in spite of him: it's hard to have an above-average offense when the guy who takes the most shots is only scoring with average efficiency. The other MVP candidates who get the ball as much as him score with significantly more efficiency (James, Wade, Durant); other candidates who get the ball almost as much as him score with vastly more efficiency (Nowitzki, Howard). It's no coincidence that all those guys lead offenses that are better than Chicago's as a result.

  12. Anon Says:

    The act is that NONE of the media know what they want in an MVP. The newest chatter among the media is to give Kobe Bryant the award now.

    So they go from giving to Rose, a player "who carries the team with no 'help' around him" compared to the other candidates in LBJ, Dwight, Dirk, etc; to Bryant, who plays alongside somebody who has had a more valuable season according to a wide range of metrics (Gasol) and also has Odom and Bynum manning the paint.

    NO consistency in reasoning.

  13. BSK Says:

    I agree that Rose should not be MVP. But this paragraph stuck out to me:

    "But there is a great conundrum of Rose’s bid for M.V.P.: the Bulls are winning with defense, which is not Rose’s strength. He is far and away Chicago’s best offensive player, but even with his outstanding contribution the Bulls are an average offensive team, ranking 13th in offensive efficiency through Wednesday’s games. In contrast, the Bulls are the league’s best team at keeping the ball out of the basket, with a stingy defense that allows just 1 point per possession on average."

    While the Bulls great defense is a huge reason for their success, the offense still matters. If Rose wasn't having the offensive season he was having, where would their offense rank? And would their stellar defense be able to overcome what would likely be an atrocious offense and still post the same level of success?

    As far as I see it, contributions are contributions, where ever they are distributed. If anything, the fact that Rose is a stellar offensive player on an adequate defensive team might be MORE valuable. If he was a defensive stalwart, the benefit of making an already dominant defense slightly more dominant would be limited. But by making a likely bad offensive team into an average one is huge. At least, that is how I understand it. I'd be curious to hear other thoughts.

  14. Andy Says:

    I don't think you could easily say that Rose is giving greater contributions, whether on the offensive side or defensive side or overall, than other MVP candidates such as Howard and James.

  15. Matt Says:

    Now that the Rose MVP hype has been properly torn down, can we start hearing arguments in support of other candidates?

    Everyone has a major flaw this season, and thats what makes it difficult. I'd lean toward Howard, but there are some decent counter-arguments that could be made against him.

  16. AYC Says:

    I'm disappointed with how one-sided Neil's posts on this subject have been. Rose is tied for 6th most total WS this year. If you factor in the margin of error, Rose could be top 5 in production for both total WS and WS/48.

    And since we are using win shares to determine MVP, shouldn't we point out that Rose is one of the top ten defensive performers based on DWS? Maybe DWS is doing a bad job of properly assigning defensive credit... or maybe, like Paul Pierce in 2008, Rose is playing much better D under Thibs than he has in the past.

    Finally, I think this article about stat inflation is relevant to the discussion:
    http://www.hoopdata.com/blogengine/post/2011/03/27/Stat-Inflation.aspx

    Why? Because the idea that winning should factor into the equation isn't as ridiculous as statheads like to make it out to be. BBall isn't like other team sports; you can't pitch a shutout; thanks to the shotclock, the number of possessions is the same for teams playing each other. All of which means a terrible team can still score over 100 ppg. And somebody on those bad teams has to score those points, and grab those rebounds. How do you separate the stat-stuffers from the players who genuinely produce wins? By looking at the team record!

  17. Michael E Sullivan Says:

    @11, you can't simply look at plain efficiency stats to compare players with vastly different sets of teammates.

    Howard is the only guy who could legitimately be compared to Rose in terms of lack of other offensive options. You can't just double Lebron all the time because Wade and Bosh can kill you, and vice versa for Wade. You can just sag on Nowitzki, because Dallas has good outside shooters. OTOH, with Rose, the primary reason other guys on his team are even *reasonably* efficient is because of all the attention Rose draws, and he draws it because he's able to reasonably efficient even shouldering a huge load and drawing extra defensive attention.

    Would his efficiency be as good as Lebron's in an offense with other good options? I doubt it, but I'm sure he'd be a lot better than he is with the Bulls.

    The real issue I have with his selection is that Chris Paul and Dwight Howard are in almost the same situation and yet are clearly better. If their poor offensive teammates were the best defense in the league, they would probably be on top of the standings as well.

    But directly comparing Rose's efficiency to Lebron or Wade's is nonsense.

  18. Jason J Says:

    Neil - Is this your first pierce appearing in the Times? Either way, congrats!

  19. chibi Says:

    let me just get this out of the way: i'm not a rose fan. and i think kobe should win for valiantly playing through numerous injuries and a staggering number of games in recent years.

    but one thing about rose I recognize is that his penetration/ability to get to the cup--make or miss--has a positive effect on the Bulls' offense and defense.

    when he does get to the cup, he forces a big man to rotate and help out. should he miss the shot, there's a guy like noah or boozer there to rebound the miss and score. basically, he helps create 2nd shot opportunities for his teammates. look at the bulls' ORR%. It's #2 in the league, and without those 2nd chance points and extra possessions their offensive efficiency would be terrible.

    by scoring more efficiently, the bulls limit transition opportunities, and force teams to score against an excellent set defense. in a sense, that's rose's defensive contribution.

    lastly, that set defense creates more transition opportunities for the bulls.

  20. Jason J Says:

    I liked Van Gundy's argument for Dwight as MVP - Who has a bigger effect on more possessions than the DPoY center putting up big points and drawing so many double teams to open things up for his perimeter guys and getting defenses in foul trouble and dominating both backboards?

  21. huevonkiller Says:

    #17

    LeBron and Wade are both even better when the other is not on the court. You are a whiner, there's no logical argument that vaults rose over the legitimate candidates.

    Rose is an inefficient volume scorer, akin to Allen Iverson getting picked over Shaq. The Bulls win because of defense.

    #20 Hollinger's argument is most irreplaceable player I believe? Yeah Chris Bosh is also the most irreplaceable player in Miami. That doesn't mean much.

  22. huevonkiller Says:

    #16

    AYC, do you have one argument that makes Rose the #1 candidate? You say he should be MVP, but there is not one single individual metric that rewards Rose as the best in the league. Everything seems to indicate you don't care about defense being the #1 reason Chicago wins.

    And Neil adjusts for pace, etc. , in order to weed out stat stuffers. You need to point out exactly how you know player X is stat stuffing.

    The way you analyze the game is much more arbitrary than what Neil does, and not to mention biased.

  23. dsong Says:

    Numbers aside, I don't think any sane person really believes Rose is a better basketball player than Kobe or Lebron.

    He's had a nice season though, and has done enough to put himself among the top 10 players in the NBA.

  24. Neil Paine Says:

    #16 - One proper way to fight the kind of 'stat inflation' you're talking about (even bad teams score 100 PPG) is to adjust for pace. Meanwhile, a stat like win shares or SPM adjusts for winning by allocating wins/point differential among a team's players. A team's individual numbers must add up to the team's total. If anything, a stat like WS has been accused of overrating players on good teams in the past, not underrating them.

    #18 - Thanks. It's only my second or third basketball piece (depending on whether you count my live-blog of the LeBron decision), but I actually wrote a lot of baseball articles for them last summer: http://bats.blogs.nytimes.com/author/neil-paine/

  25. AYC Says:

    It's "Most Valuable Player", not "Most Productive Player According to your preferred metric." Why are statheads getting all bent out of shape, when advanced metrics have never been the standard by which MVP-worthiness has been judged? In fact, there is no set criteria for picking MVP. One criterion that has typically mattered in the past is team record, so I offered a justification for why that has been the case. And why should I give Neil a pass for cherry-picking stats? WS are good enough to proclaim Chris Paul MVP, but the impressive production they credit to Rose's defense isn't mentioned? If Rose's 4.4 DWS shouldn't count, why should Paul's 4.3 DWS?

    And Kevin Love, the subject of that link I provided, does quite well in advanced metrics; I don't know what the pace adjustment has to do with anything.

  26. Anon Says:

    "It's "Most Valuable Player", not "Most Productive Player According to your preferred metric.""

    I really don't know why you keep insisting that the stat community is "cherry-picking" numbers when it comes to the award.

  27. Jason J Says:

    Sorry, I don't read baseball articles. Baseball is for hookers and fat people.

    I still miss Pedro.

  28. Neil Paine Says:

    #25 - Okay, we'll throw Rose and Paul's DWS out and just look at their OWS. Or their SPM. Or their usage-adjusted offensive ratings. Or their adjusted plus-minus. Or their regularized plus-minus. Or their PER. Or their Roland Rating. Or whatever, you pick the metric, Chris Paul is going to come out on top of Derrick Rose.

    And the argument that "advanced metrics have never been the standard by which MVP-worthiness has been judged" is like advocating using RBIs and batting average to pick the MVP in baseball. We have better information now, but we're not supposed to use it because it didn't exist when Bob Pettit won the 1st MVP in 1956?

  29. Anon x 2 Says:

    John Hollinger wrote that you can't cherry-pick stats with Rose. There is no metric or stat that demonstrates Rose as the MVP.

    And whoever said "most valuable" is right. Dwight is more valuable to his team than Rose. Dwight's teammates are far worse and he will still get Orlando to a 50+ win season. Same with Dirk. It makes no sense to give this award to Rose.

  30. Kelly Says:

    Just pointing out the obvious thing that everyone always wants to avoid when having these discussions, which is that in APER Derrick Rose which includes ACTUAL unassisted field goals instead of ESTIMATED unassisted field goals, Rose is 6th and within one point of second. When you factor in that the Bulls play a slower pace then that pretty much puts Rose right in the conversation for best player in the NBA.

    So all the prattle about Rose not being in the top 10 in any stat, it's wrong. In the only stat that actually measures what he does the best, he is at the top. The Bulls are the most efficient team in the NBA when running out of isolation, so those of you are saying that the offense is being slowed down by Rose are just wrong.

    Stop sitting around patting each other on the back and agreeing with one another and try learning something.

  31. TD Says:

    This whole notion that dwight teamates are far worse than roses is laughable, dwights team has not sustained any type of injuries let alone to two of there three best players. the magic play good not great team defense none of them are stellar individually but as a team they get the job done, it is not all about dwight blocking shots. the offense was better when it was centered more around them shooting threes than now while they are trying to force feed the post. dwight is not a threat offensively that is good teams play him one on one to try and limit the three point shooting which is and has always been the key to there offense. Derrick may not be number one in any of your advanced stats but I know for sure he close in most of them. lebron maybe number one in alot of them but is he really most valuable on a team that has another deserving mvp candidate. dwight is facing the weakest era ever in centers and he barely dominates while Rose has to face a legitimate point on most nights and has won against actual competition.

  32. AYC Says:

    Come on, Neil, advanced stats may be new, but individual player stats are not. And several past MVP's clearly weren't the best statistical performers: Russell, Unseld, Cowens, Walton, Iverson, Nash. And I'm not comfortable with totally ignoring "real" stats in favor of interpretive metrics like the ones you listed. I don't necessarily agree with the assumptions built into these metrics. For instance, how do I know Rose's TS% would've gone down if he played in 2001? Maybe it would've, and maybe not; just because the league environment changed doesn't mean we should assume any specific player would see a proportional change in their production if they were dropped into that environment. The "league environment" adjustment is the main reason Hakeem in '90 has fewer OWS than Ben Wallace in'03. But when I look at the usg and TS% of those two players, I'm confident that WS produces a bad result there. I'm of the opinion that changes in pace and/or environment probably affect roleplayers a lot more than they affect elite players like Rose and AI (or Hakeem). Isn't Rose's sky-high usage% relevant to this discussion? And his stellar Ast%? Why should I assume that the interpretive metrics out there are properly judging the value of a player's production in these areas, without looking for myself?

  33. Neil Paine Says:

    Yes, and those past MVPs were among the worst selections in the award's history.

    Why do you keep referring to basic per-game stats as "real"? What makes them more "real" than so-called "interpretive" advanced numbers? You question advanced stats, but have no problems with the "built-in assumptions" of ranking players by, say, PPG? Can you explain the primacy of per-game statistics without falling back on mere tradition?

    The league environment argument isn't about what a player would have done, it's about how valuable offensive efficiency is in different environments. Read this distinction between Value and Ability:

    http://gosu02.tripod.com/id11.html

    As league ORtg goes down, each point of ORtg becomes more valuable. This is why Iverson's lower raw ORtg becomes as valuable as Rose's higher raw ORtg in a league where the average is lower.

  34. Matt Says:

    @31 Howard has not a single player as good as Boozer. Not even close. He's playing with undersized players who aren't good defenders. He changed half the roster midseason. That's just as bad as injuries.

    On Rose being MVP: what would happen if we switched Rose for Paul? Paul matches his offense and is a much better defender. The Bulls would be a 65 win team.

  35. Dickie dunn Says:

    Last I checked MVP did not stand for best statistical player...it's the player who is most valuable to his teams success. It is not nor should it be judged by advanced statistics because you can't account for pace, chemistry, subjective elements, and coaching into how a player performs. Saying that Rose should not be in consideration for the award is laughable at best, an atrocity at worst. Take him off of the Bulls and put, say, Brandon Jennings on the team and the Bulls are probably a 30 win team...

    Rose may not be dominant offensively and may have flaws in his game but Dwight Howard misses two in five free throws...that's a notable flaw as well...

    IMO, rose should be in the mix for the award...maybe not the winner but he merits serious consideration. FWIW my vote is for Dirk in Dallas...

  36. Joseph Says:

    I was really involved in trying to figure out who was who last season, but I haven't been paying attention this season. One of the mistakes I made last season was inflating David Lee in pure statistical analysis. I ran a very simple formula after reading this and I have them in this order:

    1. Dwight Howard, 2. LeBron James, 3. Kevin Love (Inflated?), 4. Kobe Bryant, 5. Russell Westbrook, 6. Amare Stoudemire, 7. Dwyane Wade, 8. Carmelo Anthony (Denver), 9. Blake Griffin, and 10. Derrick Rose.

  37. AYC Says:

    Neil, I didn't say anything about per-game stats; I mentioned usage%, Ast%, and TS% as examples of "real" stats that aren't interpretive. As I have said before, I think it's worthwhile to look at these component stats apart from the metrics based on them.

    #34, Rose and Paul are both excellent offensive players, but they are not similar; I doubt Paul could take on the usage that Rose does....

  38. TD Says:

    #34, man please, how many games has boozer missed due to injury, a legit threat on the offensive end, and people want to complain about the above average offense. plus Rose is more key to this offense than a guy like cp3, it is more predicated on Rose getting to the basket and being a threat offensively which Rose is much more than Paul this year.

  39. TD Says:

    # 36 is exactly what im talkin about how the hell do you have kevin love, carmelo and westbrook in front of Rose, please. now people are starting to say Kobe but kobe should be held to the same standard as Rose, I wanna see Gasol and bynum go down for thirty to fourty games and see how they maintain.

  40. Matt Says:

    @38 Perhaps not this season, but comparing his last pre-knee injury season vs Rose this year:

    Paul eFG .528 usg% 27.5 ast% 54.5 ppg 22.8
    Rose eFG .478 usg% 32.5 ast% 39.8 ppg 25

    If you brought Paul up that 5%, I doubt he loses that much efficiency and he has a much higher ast%

    This year, his usage is way down, but his assists are still pretty high; he's still getting more rebounds, still stealing the ball more.

  41. Matt Says:

    By the way, you must never watch the Hornets play. The 50% assist rate plus 20-25% usage means the ball is in Paul's hand 70 or more of all possessions. Their whole offense is predicated on him drawing 2 to 3 defenders to his area and then finding the open man.

  42. Anon x 2 Says:

    What is this malarky about Rose being everything? The team is winning based on being he #1 defense with the bench unit driving most of that.

    The Bulls are +7 point differential this season with Rose OFF the court. That's a 60+ win team differential. Gibson, Asik, Korver, and Brewer could start for multiple teams in this league. And they come off the bench. Now I wouldn't suggest if that was their starting unit that they'd actually be +7; they wouldn't. But the Bulls strength is defense and 2nd unit prowess over other 2nd units. Rose deserves credit on this team, but his IMPACT on the game does not equate to Dwight's or Dirk;s or Lebron's or a few other players.

    Chicago has had the deepest team in the league all season long.

  43. Anon Says:

    "I doubt Paul could take on the usage that Rose does...."

    You got stat models that suggest otherwise, and Paul has been a high-usage player before.

  44. Yariv Says:

    @33: Neil, did you just claimed Russel's MVPs (all 5, I guess) were "among the worst selections in the award's history"? Really?

  45. Mike Goodman Says:

    With the NY Times now charging to read >20 articles a month, I wonder if there's another way to read the great b-r.com authors appearing there.

    I just wanted to point out what BSK stated in post #13 : It's not a conundrum to assign greater value to the Offensive star on the best Defensive team; it makes perfect sense.

    If you have 4 perfectly good wheels, you don't need a 5th wheel; you need an engine.

  46. Mike Goodman Says:

    In Bill Russell's day, there wasn't a playoff/Finals MVP. So there was probably stronger sentiment to somehow reward players for their teams' postseason success, as well as for season records.

    Neutralizing Pettit, Wilt, Thurmond in 'games that matter' has great Value.

    And if anyone doesn't know, there's plenty of interactive debate/analysis over here:
    http://sonicscentral.com/apbrmetrics/viewtopic.php?t=2772

  47. potted plant Says:

    I don't believe team record should be that important for MVP voting anyway but if you want to use the team records at least use the records for when the MVP candidate was actually on the floor instead of proclaiming someone MVP because his team has a superior bench.
    For instance if you check the stats for when players were actually on the floor, then Lebron actually had the better team record after 56 games (I hope they update the stats soon)
    http://www.82games.com/1011/10MIA9.HTM
    http://www.82games.com/1011/10CHI3.HTM

    Lebron 45-11
    Rose 39-18
    Gasol 46-16
    Dirk 40-12
    Howard 37-24

  48. Sean Says:

    There's really no use in anyone getting too vexed by the MVP in the NBA. Is there a set critieria? Is there something ON THE TROPHY that explains the criteria? Do the voters get directions on what to base their decision on?

    Short of that, why waste energy? To ME, MVP is the 'most indispensible player', literally. It isn't necessarily the most skilled or best statistically represented player WITH THE METRICS WE CURRENTLY USE. As someone said before: I like stats. Everything is measureable. Stats do that for us.... the only question is: Do we have all the stats we need to measure all of the things we need? The answer is: Probably NOT. To assume that we do is foolish.

    So, there's a fair share of things that are important/ valuable in a player that are not currently being represented properly via an advanced metric.

    Neil talks about 'some of the worst MVP selections'... well, maybe they ARE----or maybe they just are the worst 'according to the limited advanced metrics we have'.

    YES, metrics have come a long way. But let's not pretend we have a complete system of measurement.

    Relying completely on what our current set of metrics tells us about a player (knowing that there is a lot more about any player that we just don't have the right metric to measure properly) would be like counting only a % of the handwritten votes for some office and disregarding what all of the other ballots say (only we can't read them----so we don't count them). The results of that vote could be completely different if we were somehow able to measure what ALL of the ballots were telling us.

    Perhaps Russell, Cowens, Walton, Nash, Unseld & Co. just had something we can't measure...YET.

    And so the debate(s) rage on.....

  49. Jason J Says:

    Sean _ I think what you're talking about is leadership, and while it's totally unquantifiable, it probably has merit. The problem is figuring out if a team is "overachieving" because a strong personality (be it a player or coach) is unifying the group and taking them to new heights, an argument I've heard from people like Bucher in Rose's favor, or if the team was initially underrated by the media is very tough to read.

  50. potted plant Says:

    When Steve Nash won his MVPs he at least was the best in the NBA in some important categories such as assists and true shooting. Rose isn't the best or even close to it at anything statistically measurable.

    The main arguments seem to be his offensive superiority, which strangely does not manifest in any measurable way and blather about his humility and unselfishness which is also not apparent from the facts. If he is so humble and unselfish how come he takes more shots than pretty much anyone in the NBA even though he is a barely above average scorer who has a team stacked with guys that score more efficiently than him?

  51. potted plant Says:

    Rose has 7 1000min+ players on his team with higher eFG%
    Lebron has 1 1000min+ player on his team with higher eFG%

    And despite that Rose takes by far the most shots on his team, more than Lebron and 2nd most in the NBA.

    The conclusion the media draw from this: Lebron is a selfish prick while Rose is a model of unselfishness and humility.
    WTF

  52. TD Says:

    # 42
    yeah without rose they would definitely win 60 games. the reason the bench has such a high point differential is because defensively the bulls bench is probalby better than every other teams bench, but they not out there playing the starters so stop it with this bullshit like Rose is a detriment to his team.

  53. TD Says:

    # 42
    yeah without rose they would definitely win 60 games. the reason the bench has such a high point differential is because defensively the bulls bench is probalby better than every other teams bench, but they not out there playing the starters so stop it with this BS like Rose is a detriment to his team.

  54. TD Says:

    #49 & 50
    Rose gets double and tripled team all most every night( no hyperbole) but he is nothing offensively. ok

  55. Neil Paine Says:

    #44 - Although some of the Russell over Chamberlain picks were egregious, I shouldn't have included all of Russell's MVPs among the worst selections. I should have included this link, listing the other bad MVPs that were mentioned:

    http://sonicscentral.com/apbrmetrics/viewtopic.php?p=5636

  56. Pag Says:

    Dwight Howard is the true MVP but they cant give him the award because there is a big bridge between Rose and Dwight and that Bridge is Lebron James.

    Its comes down to this.....

    Do you give it to the most valuable player? (Dwight Howard)
    The most deserving? (Lebron James)
    or the to the best record? (Derrick Rose)

  57. Pag Says:

    I meant to backup my point, but basically you cant give it to Dwight because then you would have to look at Lebron being the best player in the league and having a better record.

  58. potted plant Says:

    @54
    Nice strawman, I did not say Rose was "nothing" offensively. Obviously he is good, he is just not MVP-good. He is not top 5 in any offensive stat except ball chucking.

    Also, if he gets double and triple teamed "all most" every night, as you so eloquently put it, why does he have worse assist numbers than pretty much every other star point guard?
    If he is so unselfish why does he not pass the ball instead of shooting himself, which he does less efficiently than most of his team? Is it because he is so humble he thinks he can score better when double teamed than any of his open team mates who almost all shoot better than him?

  59. TD Says:

    # 58 whatever, all yall probably thought the heat would come close to the old bulls record because of yall numbers. numbers dont lie but sometimes they dont tell the whole story either.

  60. David Says:

    I think Howard is right up there with Rose as far as most deserving of MVP on an individual basis, but MVP has typically gone to a player on a team with an elite record, and the Magic don't have one. Also, while statistics are useful to a significant extent, they do not tell the whole story.

    I'll form my own judgement, which includes reviewing statistics, and by also watching the games and listening to what opposing players and coaches say. I don't care if Thibodeau thinks Rose is MVP, nor do I care if Stan Van Gundy thinks Howard is MVP, but what I'm hearing from non-Bulls in the NBA is that they think Rose is MVP. Nash, Kidd, LeBron, Bogut, Tyson Chandler, Phil Jackson, Juwan Howard, Chris Bosh, Doc Rivers, etc (and that's not counting guys like Barkley, Jordan, Pippen, etc). They're the ones who have to play against him, and they're the ones who have to game plan against him. Who in the NBA, aside from Van Gundy, has said Howard should be MVP? Who has said Chris Paul should be MVP?

    Also worth noting, people say that you can't come up with any stat that gives Rose #1 for MVP, but isn't he near the top in many of those advanced statistics? And doesn't that come together to make him the best overall case? For an analogy, take the Bulls' rebounding - they're 5th in ORB%, and 2nd in DRB%, which means they're not #1 in either, but yet those two come together to make the Bulls by far the best rebounding team in the NBA. Why shouldn't the same principle apply to Rose?

  61. David Says:

    @58

    Rose is not a chucker - he shoots most of his shots late in the shot clock after the Bulls have run their offense and noone else could get a good shot. Contrast that with Westbrook, who shoots most of his shots early in the shot clock even though he has Kevin Durant on his team. Also, Rose is #8 in the league in AST%, and 8th in AST/G, while still 7th in the league in scoring. He's pretty much all the Bulls have to create offense, except maybe for Boozer in some circumstances. If he finishes with 25pts & 8ast per game (he's at 7.9 ast right now), it'll be the 3rd time in the last 40 years that's happened.

  62. mystic Says:

    Neil, you are arguing intellectual dishonest here by using numbers which are only support your preconception. This article makes it look like Rose would be a bad defender while in reality ALL available data points to the exact opposite.

    If you want to use team On/Off numbers, you should take a look at basketballvalue.com. Those numbers are more recent than the 82games.com numbers. You will find that the Bulls have a 101.8 DRtg with Bulls on the court. Only one team in the league has a better overall DRtg than that number, the Boston Celtics. That is a better number than the Magic have with Dwight Howard playing. The Bulls have an elite defense with Rose, the fact that they are even better without Rose comes from the fact that the 2nd unit is playing with better defenders overall than the 1st unit. We can take a look at the OnCourt numbers for the Bulls starter, the Synergy Sports numbers and the defensive APM numbers for the starters of the Bulls to make a point here.

    Deng: 99.8 DRtg, 3.0 DAPM, 0.81 PPP
    Rose: 101.8 DRtg, 0.7 DAPM, 0.77 PPP
    Noah: 103.0 DRtg, 0.2 DAPM, 0.85 PPP
    Bogans: 102.9 DRtg, 0.2 DAPM, 0.90 PPP
    Boozer: 102.9 DRtg, -0.4 DAPM, 0.91 PPP

    We can see that Deng is the best of the Bulls starter in terms of defensive stats. That's something easily backed up by watching the Bulls carefully. Deng is making a great effort off the ball and is usually defending the toughest defense assignments 1on1. Rose is clearly the 2nd best according to those numbers, with Boozer being the worst defender.
    What does that mean? Rose OnCourt rating is heavily influenced by the minutes he has to play with Boozer, Noah and Bogans and the fact that he usually plays against the opponents better players.

    The other thing which always makes me cringe is the argument "the Bulls are winning with defense". As someone who had to enjoy the Skiles' Bulls I know that defense alone will not be a strategy to win as many games as the Bulls are doing it now. Another point is the ability to score and no player on the Bulls can do that like Rose. Additional to that Rose is also the best playmaker and unfortunately he can't pass the ball to himself which would for sure help his scoring efficiency. Outscoring the opponent is the key to a win, not just playing defense.
    The Bulls offense when Rose is off the court is at 100.3 ORtg right now. Unlike Rose OnCourt DRtg; which would still be enough to be the 2nd best defense in the league, this number is worse than the worst offensive team in the league. How funny that this is actually Skiles' Bucks with 101.5 ORtg. And we are talking now about a value which is mainly established against the worse players of the opponents. Why did you leave that part out?

    If you want to make a point via stats against Rose, you should rather focus on making a compelling argument for other players by using stats. That is possible for Howard, James and Nowitzki by using boxscore based metrics and +/- numbers. The way you did it here isn't very helpful to establish advanced stats as a better evaluation tool among basketball fans.

  63. potted plant Says:

    @59
    you are really ridiculous. In response to my post where I called you out for your strawman you make another post that consists of nothing but another strawman.

    The whole Heat will beat Jordan's record was just part of the pervasive anti-LeBron propaganda by the media - generating ridiculous expections so they can tear him down when they are not fulfilled. Personally I thought Chicago would have been the best long-term choice for LeBron last summer, even with less talent and development than they have now. But of course unselfish and humble Derrick Rose did not want him on HIS team.
    The Lakers are still the most stacked team in the league by far and the Bulls have as much talent as the Heat, they just have it distributed more evenly over the team.
    That is by the way also the reason that they can compensate injuries much better than the Heat.
    For instance when Noah was hurt (which everyone makes out to be such a giant handicap overcome by Rose) Chicago still had a center that was about twice as good PER-wise as Miami's most used center.

  64. potted plant Says:

    @61
    his high numbers of assists and points are due to his extremely high usage and ball-hogging.
    Almost every player in the league is able to finish with 25 points and 8 assists per game if you just let him shoot and handle the ball enough and many could do it more efficiently than Rose. Unfortunately for Derrick Rose, both of these numbers are arrived at with mediocre efficiency - neither his shooting (48% eFG) nor his passing (Assist/TO = 2.3) are particularly good for a point guard.t

    It's great for him if he finishes with 25+ points per game but it's bad for the team if one of their worst shooter takes most of the shots.
    And if he chucks the ball early or late in the shot clock is not relevant to any of this. If he is such a great point guard and floor general and is double and triple teamed constantly as his fans here suggest he should be able to get someone the ball before the shot clock is running out.

  65. Neil Paine Says:

    #62 - First of all, you can't compare an individual's on-court DRtg to the DRtgs of entire teams. Otherwise, someone who was "arguing intellectual dishonest" could say OMFG Omer Asik is the 2nd-best defender evar!

    Second, I don't have a Synergy subscription. Congrats that you apparently do, but from what I've seen they seem to be defining possessions in a different manner than the APBRmetric standard, and I don't know how they define individual defenders' possessions in the context of team defense anyway. So I'll punt on a response, because I can't speak one way or the other on that stat.

    What I can say is that the multi-year RAPM is the best predictor of future performance, and its defensive metric has the Chicago starters ranked thusly:

    Deng: 3.1
    Noah: 1.7
    Bogans: -0.1
    Rose: -0.1
    Boozer: -0.5

    Of that group with the 101.19 DRtg, it doesn't seem very intellectually dishonest to suggest Rose was among the players who were not carrying the biggest defensive load.

  66. Sean Says:

    @55

    Neil, the entries from that link seem to lock onto the idea that MVP= 'Best Statistical Season for an Individual Player as Judged by the Current Advanced Metrics'...

  67. Mystic Says:

    Neil, you are doing the same thing again. You just want to prove a point instead of looking at data objectively.

    First of all, I didn't compare the OnCourt Rating for players on different teams and completely different situations. I compared that of the starters to each other to get a better picture. You compared the OnCourt rating to the OffCourt rating without looking into the context. Additional to that I used two other things to evaluate the player's contribution by looking at the DAPM (btw, I used the 1yr value, I know that 3yr is the best predictor, but in that case you get a problem with the time interval you are looking at, I want to know what is going on in THIS season!) and the Synergy Sports data.

    You also didn't adress the biggest problem of your article. The way you are writing it, it seems like Rose is making the Bulls worse. But in reality they are better with him. You know that point differential is the way to go, thus you have to look at this. Again, if you want to say that someone else is more deserving by using stats, that is completely fine (I would also pick a different player), but the way you are doing it is intellectual dishonest and as much subjective as the criteria other media members are using.

  68. Neil Paine Says:

    There are a lot of points to address:

    1. When I made the individual vs team comment, I was addressing this: "You will find that the Bulls have a 101.8 DRtg with [Rose] on the court. Only one team in the league has a better overall DRtg than that number, the Boston Celtics." You compared an individual's DRtg to that of entire teams.

    2. Unfortunately, there isn't a lot of statistical context you can dive into in a 600-word article for the New York Times.

    3. The way I see it with 1-year vs 3-year RAPM is this: we're trying to account for Chicago's defense by allocating its performance to individuals. With a stat like +/-, you're going to have error bars. Using 1 year only includes information from this year, but we're trying to zero in on what the true value of Rose, Noah, etc. is. Using the bigger sample with increasing weights for recent results allows you to zero in closer on that true number than using a single year. Paradoxically, we can make a better guess about what a player's value was this year by including data from prior to this year.

    4. Worse at which end? I don't think anyone is saying he's making them worse on offense. But there is conflicting data about exactly how much of a role he has played in their defense, especially if coaching impact is considered. I think using raw on/off does understate Rose's defense for the simple fact that it's unadjusted for teammates and opponents. But again, when you're trying to argue a specific point -- and make people actually think about valuing a player's defense with regard to MVP -- in a 600-word MSM column, there's not a great deal of room for nuance.

  69. David Says:

    @64

    I don't know why you keep saying he's a ball hog. You obviously don't watch many Bulls games. Sure, he takes a lot of shots, and when I say most of those are late in the shot clock, I don't mean to say he's throwing up desperation shots all the time, but that nobody else can get a good shot and so he's gotta create something. There's a difference between a ball hog and someone with high usage, and if you watch the games, you see that Rose plays within the team concept (which is the opposite of what a ball hog does) and the coaches have had to tell him to shoot more. If he had Kevin Durant on the team, he'd easily be at 10+ assists per game.

    As far as his turnovers go, yes he does need to improve that, but he's double and triple teamed routinely and everyone on the defense is paying attention to him at all times. It's easy to say that he should just be able to find the open man (and much of the time, he does), but the reality is that these players are very large people and it's difficult to see the court when you're surrounded. There is nobody in the NBA who gets as much attention from the defense as Rose. And they can do that because the Bulls don't really have much else in the way of play makers or guys that can create their own shot.

    Also, the idea that anyone can average 25/8 if you give them the ball enough is laughable. If it were remotely true, then you'd have seen it happen more often than 3 times in the last 40 years.

  70. Mystic Says:

    1. I made that point to put the numbers into context. The Bulls defense with Rose on the court (that is NOT an individual number anyway, but a team value assigned to a individual player) is still good enough to rank 2nd in the entiry league, if the Bulls would have the same DRtg without Rose. That is the message here.
    That the Bulls' 2nd unit is amazing on defense is a different subject and has NOTHING to do with Rose' ability on the defensive end.

    2. Ok, that is true.

    3. I know the problems with APM data, but you are misinterpreting the results here. The 3x yr data just gives the best fit for the results overall, that doesn't mean they are the best at evaluating players. Especially when we are not applying any aging curves here. Rose was weak on defense as a rookie, not much better as a sophomore. Using data from those seasons is giving us a misleading result here. And the important thing stands that we want to know what is going on in this season with the Bulls, a team which has only Deng, Rose, Noah and Gibson left from last season.

    4. Well, that's were the problem starts. Arguing a specific point - in that case defense - is the problem. Again, point differential is important, not defense or offense alone. We have seen many teams with good defense not being able to win, because their offense is bad. The same can be said about offense. The Bulls are not winning, because of defense, they are winning, because they are scoring more points overall than the opponents. They are better defensively than their opponents in wins, but in the same way better offensively. Overall the Bulls seperate themself more on defensive end from an average team, but that doesn't mean that the Bulls don't need an offensive player like Rose.

    At the end the facts are: The Bulls are playing very good defensively with Rose on the court and very good offensively in comparison to the league average. That they are awesome defensively when Rose is on the bench is not the important point, because the main damage in terms of point differential is made when Rose is on the court, not when he is sitting on the bench. And that is something the article should have mentioned somewhere.

  71. Neil Paine Says:

    We could go back and forth on this forever and not get anywhere, but I don't think it's a misinterpretation of the RAPM data. We don't know the "true" defensive ability of any player in terms of +/- impact. All we're doing is making a guess. The more of a sample we use, the better the guess, especially when we optimally weigh recent results vs. those of the past for predictive purposes.

    It doesn't matter much for Rose individually, because he's average by both time spans. But for someone like Noah, who has a much smaller sample of minutes this season, it does matter. You're trying to say Noah has had less per-possession defensive impact than Rose this season, and I'm asking what's more likely: Noah, who has a good defensive track record, suddenly got much worse and Rose, who has a bad defensive track record, suddenly got much better... or that Noah and Rose continue to basically be what they've been in the past, and Noah's 1 year RAPM is less representative of his ability than his 3-year score?

  72. Mystic Says:

    Actually the change is the most likely one in that case. Noah's injury problems effected him negatively. Additional to that is Noah's value decreased due to the different defensive schemes, which are making Deng much needed (one of the reasons Deng gets so many minutes, btw.). Rose showed a huge improvement in terms of defense, not only in terms of 1on1 defense, but he decreased his amount of errors overall significantly. Taking those things into account it makes a lot of sense to believe the 1yr data is more accurate here in terms of individual player evaluation.

    (And it is not like Noah improves the Bulls' defense. ;))

    Btw, another example of a player suddenly gets better? Kevin Durant, check out his improvements in terms of stats from his 2nd to 3rd season. It is not that uncommon to make a bigger step in the 3rd season, especially when someone like Rose is working with a coach like Thibodeau on his defense.

  73. TD Says:

    Yeah whatever neil pine, like the man said they already have a elite defense with rose on the court. it just gets better with the bench because:
    1. most of the times they play against an inferior second unit.
    2. asik and Taj gibson are the bulls best defenders and they protect the rim.

  74. potted plant Says:

    @69
    well, you have obviously seen more of Rose in action than me, so maybe I am a bit off with the ball-hog comment. Just from the team stats it does not seem to me that it is the best for the team if their 7th or 8th most efficient shooter takes 50% more shots than the next guy.

    I disagree with this though:
    "Also, the idea that anyone can average 25/8 if you give them the ball enough is laughable. If it were remotely true, then you'd have seen it happen more often than 3 times in the last 40 years."

    If you look at this (from the tool on this website) it did happen more often than 3 times in the last 40 years:
    http://www.basketball-reference.com/play-index/psl_finder.cgi?request=1&sum=0&type=totals&per_minute_base=36&lg_id=NBA&is_playoffs=N&year_min=1972&year_max=&franch_id=&season_start=1&season_end=-1&age_min=0&age_max=99&height_min=0&height_max=99&birth_country_is=Y&birth_country=&is_active=&is_hof=&pos=&qual=&c1stat=pts_per_g&c1comp=gt&c1val=25&c2stat=ast_per_g&c2comp=gt&c2val=8&c3stat=&c3comp=gt&c3val=&c4stat=&c4comp=gt&c4val=&c5stat=&c5comp=gt&c6mult=1.0&c6stat=&order_by=ws

    If you look at the 6th player on that list in any other than his 27pts, 10.6 assist season you would clearly say there is no way he could get 25/8 in a season but apparently he did just by having the ball and shooting more than in any other season. Of course he did it on very inefficient shooting, even worse than Rose, but he had way more assists and was still nowhere near the MVP conversation despite having 27/10 vs. Rose's 25/8. If you handle the ball say 75% of the time and you take 20+ shots and make 40 passes it's hard to avoid racking up 25/8 - it's basically a function of ball domination.

    Also, if you put Lebron's numbers for points, assists, rebounds this year into the player season finder there have also been only 3 other non-Lebron seasons like that in the last 40 years.

    If you put Dwight Howards points, rebound and FG% in there was no such season in the last 40 years and only one in the history of the NBA by Wilt in 1967. And those are numbers that you can't just get by getting to handle the ball because you have to compete for the rebounds and you have to be able to shoot 60% FG%.
    Of course it's Howards size and position that allow him to score so efficiently, but if we are talking about valuable what's more valuable - 23 pts/game scored waaaaaaay above your teams efficiency or 25 pts/game scored below your teams efficiency? In fact it is questionable if the 2nd one is valuable at all.

  75. Anon Says:

    "YES, metrics have come a long way. But let's not pretend we have a complete system of measurement."

    The important aspects of offense in basketball (especially over a good sample size) are already captured by the box score.

    And everything else is picked up by +/- data.

  76. AYC Says:

    Anon, can you prove that claim?

  77. Anon Says:

    This is a nice link for starters: http://www.sonicscentral.com/apbrmetrics/viewtopic.php?t=2725&postdays=0&postorder=asc&start=165

    Also, see the R^2-value for Neil's OSPM.

  78. Sean Says:

    @ 75...

    So everything of value that a player brings is currently being measured appropriately?

    So we, indeed, have a complete system of measurement?

    The next 'advanced metric' then, will be a waste... as we already have it all covered. What horrid news for the stat geek community. There is nothing more to do. It's finished.

    (Good thing that's not really true.)

  79. Sean Says:

    @ 49...

    Well, leadership is something valuable that is REALLY hard to quantify------I agree with you there... there are those 'intangibles' that will always plague the schools of pure statistical analysis (though one day maybe our best and brightest will find a way to measure them)... BUT... there's also things a player does that CAN be quantified that are of value to the team that we just do not do frequency counts for (yet). Keeping track of these 'other' things may be arduous and therefore not 'included' in data collection... but still they exist. And we're not factoring them in.

    I just think that we're limiting ourselves as analysts if we close shop on what is to be/ can be measured that is of value. I think a lot more can be measured and maybe we're lazy or we're satisfied with what the current crop of metrics tells us------and we aren't concerned with getting to that 'unknown' quantity that maybe a Bill Russell or a Bill Walton had. What made the 1991 & 1992 Celtics go 77-28 with Larry Bird VS 30-29 without him... even though Bird was so physically compromised and not statistically (as measured by the current methods) dominant? Why the hell did he mean so much?

    Is it unquantifiable intangible elements----that some of us can't be bothered with and so they throw them, aside? Or are there measureable things we just haven't noticed?

    I wish I knew. I just don't believe we have a complete system of measurement. It would be sad if this is 'as good as it gets' in that realm. It would discredit the minds of those who have developed statistical analysis to the current state, IMO, by establishing a ceiling on what anyone can develop. Sorry for the rant.

  80. Anon Says:

    "So everything of value that a player brings is currently being measured appropriately?"

    I'm simply saying that most of the important factors in basketball offense is already covered by the box score. Over a large sample size, these factors stand out over things such as picks, the "hockey assist", etc. and you can figure out who is who on offense with some of these models.

    That's different from saying that the models are perfect or that they aren't subject to future revisions. +/- captures EVERYTHING that is done on the court; the key is untangling the data amongst teammates so you can properly credit point differential to an individual player. That process is always something that is in the works, but it's silly to discount the evidence that we have right now because it isn't "perfect". You use it.

    "Is it unquantifiable intangible elements----that some of us can't be bothered with and so they throw them, aside? Or are there measureable things we just haven't noticed?"

    The issue with this (as is true with all subjective analysis) is that it can't be proven or disproven. It is also vague, and assigning credit in this manner becomes a slippery slope.

  81. Sean Says:

    @ #80....

    The 'untangling the data' point you make is absolutely resonating with me... For the record, I do NOT dismiss the data that we have right now because it isn't 'perfect'... but discounting (to a degree) it is a different story for me, because---- in addition to (A) not dismissing it, I also do not (B) oversell it... I KNOW, as I assume we all do, that we only have part of the picture quantified with our current metrics and so I treat what they show us as such--------which is an incomplete picture.

    Now, MAYBE, it's like having an incomplete T-Rex skeleton-------maybe we have some of the teeth and the skull and the little arms... but on that alone, we are pretty confident we know what the whole picture looks like... but maybe if we found some other bones, we'd change our minds. When I was in the 4th grade, T-Rexs were pictured standing up like Godzilla and they were advertised as super predators-----now because of what revelations were made when they found and studied more hip bones and complete sets of teeth, T-Rex supposedly ran like a large flightless bird and may have been more scavenger than hunter.

    Having part of the picture can actually lead us away from what having the entire picture would confirm for us. I'm not saying that the conclusions being made by many, based on the partial evidence we have, are wrong--------I'm just more cautious KNOWING we are lacking a certain level of clarity. I want to know how to explain certain things that don't add up when you apply the current advanced metrics. There's something missing from the formulas out there... something that COULD change how we look at things entirely. I maybe have a healthier respect for that which has not been accounted for by our current set of metrics. Right, wrong or otherwise.

  82. Anon Says:

    Sean, while your points are certainly well taken, what you're talking about can be said for ANY discipline. None of us have perfect knowledge; if we did for the sport of basketball, we would know exactly who the best player in league is with absolute certainty and these numbers wouldn't be necessary. We don't however, so we do the next best thing - collect the data. Obviously, we do this knowing that PENDING NEW EVIDENCE, anything we collect may be inaccurate or outdated. The key thing to remember here though is the phrase I put in caps.

    That's the way you approach these things.

  83. Sean Says:

    Anon says: None of us have perfect knowledge; if we did for the sport of basketball, we would know exactly who the best player in league is with absolute certainty and these numbers wouldn't be necessary.>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

    And the numbers that we currently use to give us our 'best guess' still leave plenty of room for doubt.

  84. Anon Says:

    Like I said Sean, what you're getting at isn't exactly revolutionary. It's one of the first things you learn when taking statistics - accounting for uncertainty in data.

    With that being said, there's plenty of evidence at hand you can use to build a case for someone's MVP candidacy. That evidence doesn't favor someone like Derrick Rose.

  85. Anon Says:

    And I don't know about you, but I'll take "imperfect evidence" over subjective drivel about Derrick Rose's 'willing' his team to 50+ wins.

  86. Sean Says:

    Anon, I'm not talking about Rose for MVP. I'd pick Dwight Howard, personally. Rose would be in the running. I don't know about 'Rose willing his team to 50+ wins'----I'm not claiming he is... I'm not saying he's not.

    There could be more to what Rose is doing than intangible things OR what is being captured by the current set of preferred metrics.

    I respect the 'plenty of evidence at hand' angle for determining an MVP candidate. It just seems that some folks get SO immersed in the current stable of metrics that they forget that there is MORE. There is more than the advanced metrics which are currently subscribed to. I would think that the mere KNOWLEDGE that there is more-------would temper the enthusiasm with which some of us nominate or eliminate MVP candidates.

  87. Anon Says:

    "There could be more to what Rose is doing than intangible things OR what is being captured by the current set of preferred metrics."

    Maybe or maybe not. But the burden of proof falls on those who make this argument for Rose.

    Until then, you go with the players that you.can actually support with evidence.

  88. Matt, Colombia Says:

    Here's a new article from Basketball Prospectus showing minutes lost and games lost due to injuries. Although the Bulls have gotten a lot of attention for this, they have actually been one of the healthier teams in the league this year.

    http://basketballprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=1631

  89. Anon Says:

    Also Sean, while these metrics aren't a perfect reflection of the game, they still give you plenty of info (as their linear coefficients to APM attest to). One can readily admit that more info is always helpful in these things while still making good use of the evidence already at his disposal.

  90. khandor Says:

    The league's "most productive" player, according to simple game stats, is not synonymous with the league's "most valuable" player.

    Derrick Rose would get my vote for League MVP this season. His play has been outstanding, overall, AND the Bulls' W-L Record is amongst the best in the NBA.

  91. Sean Says:

    @ #90:

    Last night's effort VS the Celtics certainly didn't hurt his cause.

  92. Anon Says:

    "Derrick Rose would get my vote for League MVP this season. His play has been outstanding, overall, AND the Bulls' W-L Record is amongst the best in the NBA."

    A record that has alot more to do with their stingy defense than Rose.

  93. khandor Says:

    re: "A record that has a lot more to do with their stingy defense than Rose."

    Au contraire ... as a good portion of the Bulls' stingy defense is being generated by the performance of Derrick Rose.

  94. Anon Says:

    "Au contraire ... as a good portion of the Bulls' stingy defense is being generated by the performance of Derrick Rose."

    If you mean that Rose is manning his team's defense a la Dwight Howard, that's incorrect.

    If you mean that his OFFENSE is why they're playing good defense, that's also not true. Especially with offense and defense in basketball being mostly independent of each other.

  95. potted plant Says:

    update on floor time stats:
    Lebron - 78.9 win% (67.6% for Wade btw)
    Rose - 71.2 win%
    http://www.82games.com/1011/10MIA9.HTM
    http://www.82games.com/1011/10CHI3.HTM

    --> Lebron has the best floor time winning percentage in the league
    Bulls win less while Rose is on the floor than overall

    Of course that doesn't mean that Rose makes his team worse, just that using the Bulls better record in favor of Rose vs. Lebron is unfair because the Bulls have a better record than Miami because of how those teams play with Rose/Lebron off the floor.

    Also interesting:
    Gasol: 78.4% win%, 14.3 win shares (2nd best in the league in both)
    Kobe: 72.4% win%, 10.0 win shares
    So while Gasol may not be a better player than Kobe he definitely contributes more to the Lakers winning. It's certainly impressive that Kobe hits a fair percentage of the retarded shots he takes but taking them in the first place is obviously not that helpful for his team. At least he has a lot of efficiency upside for the playoffs.

  96. Sean Says:

    Potted Plant says:

    So while Gasol may not be a better player than Kobe he definitely contributes more to the Lakers winning.>>>>>>>>>>>>

    There's something fundamentally wrong with this, isn't there? Wouldn't the better player be the one 'contributing more to the team's winning'??
    How is the guy contributing LESS to the team's winning--------the better player?(and I understand you said 'may not be the better player'... but if it's been determined that he 'definitely contributes more to the Lakers winning'------why is it in question?)

    I'm not saying who is contributing more to winning----or who is better... I just find it interesting that one player could (A) be deemed to 'definitely' be contributing more to winning, yet (B) is maybe not considered the better player.

    I'm left wondering what we're looking for most in players if it's NOT 'contributions to team winning'.

  97. khandor Says:

    re: "If you mean that Rose is manning his team's defense a la Dwight Howard, that's incorrect."

    Rose does not "man" his team's defense "ala Dwight Howard" ... primarily because D-12 is a Center and D-Rose is a PG, and these two distinct positions do not effect a team's defensive performance in a similar way.

    That said, it would be a serious error in basketball judgment to think that the level of defensive improvement which D-Rose has exhibited this season is NOT a primary catalyst for Chaicago's marked improvement on that end of the floor.

    Coaches can devise and attempt to implement the most ingenious defensive schemes, in order to stifle an opponent's offense BUT, it all goes for naught, unless that coach also has the horses required to pull his specific wagon up and down the court on a consistent basis.

    The fact is ... D-Rose is one of the few starting PGs in the NBA with the capacity to get the job done properly, within Coach Thibodeau's defensive scheme, given his combination of size, strength, explosive quickness, tenacity, and Bball IQ, etc., in a similar way to what Rajon Rondo was able to do for him with the Boston Celtics.

    re: "If you mean that his OFFENSE is why they're playing good defense, that's also not true. Especially with offense and defense in basketball being mostly independent of each other."

    IMO, 'stats gurus' indicate a serious lack of sound basketball judgment, if/when they try to assert nonsense like that, since Offense, Defense and Rebounding ... executed properly ... are inter-related within the game of basketball.

  98. Anon Says:

    "That said, it would be a serious error in basketball judgment to think that the level of defensive improvement which D-Rose has exhibited this season is NOT a primary catalyst for Chaicago's marked improvement on that end of the floor."

    Why can't players simply get credit for doing THEIR job? Does Rose play defense for them?

    "IMO, 'stats gurus' indicate a serious lack of sound basketball judgment, if/when they try to assert nonsense like that, since Offense, Defense and Rebounding ... executed properly ... are inter-related within the game of basketball."

    Well it's your opinion. It's just not one supported by evidence if you mean to say that offense and defense are mainly linked.

  99. potted plant Says:

    @Sean
    "I just find it interesting that one player could (A) be deemed to 'definitely' be contributing more to winning, yet (B) is maybe not considered the better player."

    What I meant is that Kobe is probably the better player in terms of skills (although that's a bit hard to compare across positions) but he does not contribute as much to the Lakers winning because he often does not play team ball. He is very selfish in his shot selection and lack of passing. You can appreciate Kobe's skill when he makes another completely retarded shot while Gasol or Bynum are wide open at the basket and at the same time acknowledge that taking that shot instead of passing is not good for the team. I remember last year when Kobe was out the Lakers were arguably playing better without him, winning 4 out of 5 against good teams. I mean Kobe never shot over 47% or had an assist/TO ratio over 2. He is capable of playing more efficiently and playing team ball but he does not actually do it (at least for extended periods).

    Or look at this:
    http://82games.com/gamewinningshots.htm
    Those are arguably the worst clutch stats in the NBA over a 6 year period. On the one hand it is quite impressive that he managed to even shoot 25% with everybody knowing he would be the one to take that shot and triple-teaming him on the other hand it did not help the Lakers.

  100. Sean Says:

    Khandor says:
    IMO, 'stats gurus' indicate a serious lack of sound basketball judgment, if/when they try to assert nonsense like that, since Offense, Defense and Rebounding ... executed properly ... are inter-related within the game of basketball.>>>>>>>

    Half court offense related to defense? There's a debate. Transition offense related to defense? There's NO debate. OF COURSE they're related. There isn't actually an arguement regarding this, is there? Someone would have had to never see or play an organized, full court basketball game to not recognize this. I can't imagine anyone actually believes transition offense---and therefore OFFENSE in an absolute sense---isn't inter-related with defense.

  101. Sean Says:

    At # 99...

    Ah... I get you, Potted Plant.

    I personally hold the opinion that if Player A is more SKILLED, but doesn't contribute as much to his team's winning as Player B-------then Player B is the greater player.