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Layups: It’s Official – LeBron’s Your 2009 MVP

Posted by Neil Paine on May 4, 2009

In case you hadn't heard, LeBron James copped the Maurice Podoloff today, confirming what PER, SPM, Win Shares, and a million other metrics already knew. Here are the greatest individual seasons since 1974, in terms of Win Shares:

Player		Year	 WS
Michael Jordan	1988	20.3
Michael Jordan	1996	20.3
Michael Jordan	1991	19.8
LeBron James	2009	19.6
Michael Jordan	1989	19.1

Pretty good company, wouldn't you say? Congrats, LeBron!

16 Responses to “Layups: It’s Official – LeBron’s Your 2009 MVP”

  1. ags Says:

    It would have been even more impressive if PER, SPM & win shares meant anything in real life.
    Congrats to Lebron though, he undoubtedly was the runaway winner for the award.

  2. J.D. Says:


    You might want to go to another website... I'm think the guys here are pretty interested in figuring out ways to measure the things that do happen in real life. Win shares are just one more metric. Some would say it enhances our understanding of the game, but I guess others just don't get the connection.

  3. ags Says:

    It helps draw SOME understanding of the game. The problem is that some people use it as a be-all, end-all way to make conclusions, which is absolutely false.
    The stats have no real-world validity in the basketball world. I enjoy the analysis of SOME stats, but PER and Win Shares are among the most absurd of the bunch.

  4. Jose Says:

    Stats aren't everything, but claiming that they have no real-world validity is nonsense. Stats are a reflection of what actually happens in the basketball world, so they're very real. I'll take PER and Win Shares over subjective, fan-driven observations about Kobe Bryant's "killer instinct".

  5. Ben Says:

    Ags, your impeccable logic has convinced me.

  6. Jason J Says:

    Good lord! Jordan dominates the top of so many of these metrics' all time lists, you'd think the formulas were reverse engineered around his numbers. Props to Bron for breaking into the class of one.

  7. Neil Paine Says:

    Surprisingly, they weren't designed for MJ to come out on top -- dude was just that good. I don't even think we fully appreciated what we were seeing in a historical sense when Jordan was at the top of his game.

  8. Mike G Says:

    Some of us did.

  9. ags Says:

    LMAO @ you retards immediately jumping to the fact that someone has to be a Kobe fan if they believe that these ridiculous stats are useless.
    PER and Win Shares are not exactly objective either. Who's to say what constitutes how efficient a player is or how many wins they've contributed can all be solved by a formula?
    Maybe some people need to learn how to make deductions and use their own logic. The only objective stats are the ones shown on the boxscore (ppg, apg, rpg, fg%, etc), so as much as you people want to think that things such as PER, Win Shares, whatever are valid and hold weight in real basketball analysis, they don't.
    When we hear people talk about how great Michael Jordan was, we didn't hear about his damn PER and win shares from anyone until John Hollinger came around and made basketball statistics the abomination that it is today.

  10. Daniel Ford Says:

    Actually, the boxscore stats are far from the pure and objective ideals you naïvely seem to assume they are. Assists as we well know, are the subjective opinions of scorekeepers, and as such are often artificially inflated for the home team (check out the home/road assist splits for elite pointguards like Paul, Kidd, Nash, Williams, etc.) The rest of the boxscore tends to focus on who has the ball at the exclusion of everyone else: how many rebounds were created because a teammate boxed out well, and how many points resulted from a great screen? Yet none of this is captured in the box score. And defense is essentially ignored entirely, unless you think blocks and steals are the be-all and end-all of defensive play. So the next time you want to say "the only objective stats are the ones shown on the boxscore" and that Winshares are garbage, stop yourself and think again. All basketball stats have biases and flaws, but metrics like PER and Winshares are actually trying to reduce the effects of those flaws.

  11. Tsunami Says:

    Ags - you're complaining about stats that tell us SO MUCH MORE than per-game stats like Points per Game.

    These stats adjust for PACE - which is something that you will NEVER SEE on TV. You will never hear someone say "Oscar Robertson averaged a triple double - and if LeBron James played at that PACE, he'd average 40-12-12 or something sick like that. You just hear the per game stats.

    PER, WS, Roland Rating, all those metrics take pace into account.

    And as far as Kobe's "killer instinct" intangibles that is EXACTLY why we need stats like this. Because media types and hyperventilating fans paint this picture that isn't true at all.

  12. Eddy Says:

    Congrats to LeBron, truly a phenomenal season for him.

  13. Dave Says:

    Guys, good job putting Ags in his place. It is morons like that, who simply want their "feelings" to reign, that help foster the rampant media propaganda about such things as Kobe's shooting in game winning situations. Ags needs to starting THINKING as well as FEELING to arrive at the closest semblance to reality about a basketball player. Way to go LBJ! Funny how these "phony" metrics all confirm what we see on the floor. Hmmm...must be pretty accurate. :)

  14. Johnny Twisto Says:

    What's the point then, if they just confirm what you already know?

  15. Neil Paine Says:

    Well, you actually wouldn't want it to completely confirm what you already know. Bill James used to have something he called the "80/20 rule", which said that a methodology is good if it gives you roughly 80% of what you expected and 20% surprises... The idea is that anything higher than an 80% confirmation rate means you've probably rigged the system -- consciously or not -- to match your preconceived ideas, making it unscientific (and therefore worthless); conversely, a surprise rate of more than 20% means your system is probably not doing a good job of modeling reality. So, ideally, you'd like to strike that perfect balance between confirming what you think you already know and coming up with a crazy result like, oh I don't know, "Dennis Rodman was more important to the Bulls than Michael Jordan".

  16. jason Says: