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Archive for the 'Awards' Category

Mailbag: NBA MVPs and Their Rings

2nd June 2011

BBR reader Jamey wrote in with this question:

"I'm watching the NBA Finals, and one of the hosts of the pre-game show said that there are 7 players who have won the MVP award that have not won an NBA championship ring. Can you tell me who they are?"

Sure can. In fact, in order to answer this question, I had to create a query that counted rings for all MVPs. Here is that list (I only counted a player as having won a ring if he played in the postseason with an NBA or BAA championship team):

Player Rings MVPs
Bill Russell 11 1958, 1961, 1962, 1963, 1965
Bob Cousy 6 1957
Michael Jordan 6 1988, 1991, 1992, 1996, 1998
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar 6 1971, 1972, 1974, 1976, 1977, 1980
Kobe Bryant 5 2008
Magic Johnson 5 1987, 1989, 1990
Shaquille O'Neal 4 2000
Tim Duncan 4 2002, 2003
Larry Bird 3 1984, 1985, 1986
Willis Reed 2 1970
Dave Cowens 2 1973
Bob McAdoo 2 1975
Bill Walton 2 1978
Hakeem Olajuwon 2 1994
David Robinson 2 1995
Wilt Chamberlain 2 1960, 1966, 1967, 1968
Oscar Robertson 1 1964
Wes Unseld 1 1969
Julius Erving 1 1981
Kevin Garnett 1 2004
Bob Pettit 1 1956, 1959
Moses Malone 1 1979, 1982, 1983
Charles Barkley 0 1993
Allen Iverson 0 2001
Dirk Nowitzki 0 2007
Derrick Rose 0 2011
Karl Malone 0 1997, 1999
Steve Nash 0 2005, 2006
LeBron James 0 2010, 2009

The 7 MVPs who never won a ring are, of course, Charles Barkley, Karl Malone, Allen Iverson, Steve Nash, Dirk Nowitzki, LeBron James, & Derrick Rose. And no matter what happens in the 2011 Finals, either Dirk or LeBron will be able to remove himself from that list.

Posted in Awards, BBR Mailbag, History, Trivia | 9 Comments »

For James, East Final Is an Ex-MVP’s Shot At Redemption

15th May 2011

For the first time in three years, LeBron James did not give an acceptance speech at the Most Valuable Player's press conference. Now, as he faces his successor at the podium, Derrick Rose, in the Eastern Conference Finals, James is hoping his Heat can do exactly what the Magic and Celtics did to him -- prevent the reigning MVP from advancing to the NBA Finals.

In the NBA, the Most Valuable Player carrying his team to the brink of a title is the rule, not the exception. Since the league began handing out the hardware in 1956, the MVP's team has appeared in the championship round 28 times, good for a 51 percent rate. And during the NBA's halcyon era of Magic, Larry, and Michael, the clip was even higher: from 1983-2003, the MVP made a Finals appearance in 16 of 21 seasons, more than 75% of the time. In a world where current players are largely measured against those three names alone, it makes headlines when a reigning MVP fails to reach the league's grandest stage.

Perhaps this is why the drought of recent winners has been met with so much scorn. Since 2004, only one MVP (Kobe Bryant in 2008) has led his club to the Finals. The others -- Kevin Garnett, Steve Nash, Dirk Nowitzki, and James -- flamed out in the Conference Finals (or in the cases of the latter two, earlier), provoking backlash from the Skip Bayless set and anyone else preoccupied with legacies or comparisons to long-retired legends. That it has been viewed as a blemish on James' otherwise staggering resume is undeniable.

Yet now he has a chance to inflict the same criticism on Rose, the youngest MVP in league history. It's strangely fitting, because their paths have run parallel ever since the Rose-for-MVP talk rose from a whisper at the lunatic fringe of Bulls fandom to a din heard across the entire country. In the wake of 'The Decision', the media tried to talk itself into casting Kevin Durant as James' foil, but Rose out-Duranted everyone, ranging from his own sharp improvement to the Bulls' unexpected #1 seed and the endearingly humble manner in which he carried himself (culminating in a truly beautiful moment at his MVP presser). In the minds of many, he embodied the yin to James' preening yang.

For these reasons, the media will doubtless go easier on Rose than they did James, should the Bulls' season end early. And by the same token, the fact that James felt he needed two other big names, one of whom is nearly his equal in the universe of NBA megastars, to reach the Finals again will continue to dog him if the Heat prevail. But even if his legacy cannot be fully repaired through victory, it's clear that in a twist of fate, the only way James can gain some measure of redemption for his "incomplete" MVPs of 2009 and 2010 is to stamp Rose's 2011 award with the same stigma.

Posted in Analysis, Awards, History, No Math Required, Playoffs, Rants & Ramblings | 123 Comments »

Layups: 2011 Internet Basketball Awards, Results edition

27th April 2011

The results are in for the 2011 Internet Basketball Awards - you can read Kevin Pelton's summary of the voting here.

Posted in Announcements, Awards, Layups | 3 Comments »

Layups: 2011 Internet Basketball Awards

15th April 2011

Vote in the second annual Internet Basketball Awards at BBall Prospectus: Link

Posted in Announcements, Awards, Layups | Comments Off on Layups: 2011 Internet Basketball Awards

Layups: Best Defenders in 2011

13th April 2011

At Back Picks, ElGee took a look at the top individual defenders of the 2010-11 NBA season.

Posted in Awards, Layups | 18 Comments »

So Who’s the MIP? (Episode II)

1st April 2011

About this time last year, I developed a method for identifying the leading candidates for the Most Improved Player (MIP) award. Since we are nearing the end of the 2010-11 season, I thought it might be interesting to revisit this topic. I made some minor tweaks to last year's method, so let me outline the process once again before reporting this season's results.

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Analysis, Awards, Statgeekery | 29 Comments »

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

31st March 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. -

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.

Posted in Analysis, Awards, Layups, NY Times | 101 Comments »

D-Rose and Iverson

23rd March 2011

With Derrick Rose's 2011 MVP looking like a foregone conclusion, it seems only natural to compare his campaign to that of Allen Iverson in 2001, the year another popular guard won the MVP despite not being the game's most talented player.

Here's the numerical tale of the tape for A.I. and D-Rose, with Rose extrapolated to 82 team games: (Glossary)

Player G MP ORtg %Pos DRtg OSPM DSPM SPM
Iverson 71 2979 106.3 33.8 99.2 6.79 0.07 6.86
Rose 81 3025 111.5 32.6 102.2 6.16 -0.96 5.20

Statistically, the two players are incredibly comparable. If you translate Iverson from the 103.0 league-ORtg environment of 2001 to the league ORtg of 107.1 in 2011, his ORtg/%Poss/DRtg becomes 110.5/33.8/103.0, production that is basically equivalent to Rose's after adjusting for usage.

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Analysis, Awards, History, Statgeekery, Statistical +/- | 183 Comments »

Where Would They Be Without Him?

28th February 2011

Tom Haberstroh had a great piece at ESPN last week in which he broke down the ongoing Derrick Rose-vs-LeBron James MVP debate. To me, the key passage was this:

"Oddly enough, what's not helping Rose's MVP case is his plus-minus numbers. And implicitly, this is where most Rose supporters state their case. When his advocates ask, 'Where would the Bulls be without Rose?' the question is meant to be a rhetorical one. The obvious implication is that a Rose-less Bulls squad would instantly become a basement dweller. But rather than blindly accept it, we can actually see how the Bulls have managed without him on the court. And how have they fared with Rose benched? By beating opponents by 51 points on the season, or an average of 4.9 points every 100 possessions. Why? Whether Rose is in the game or not, [Tom] Thibodeau’s game-changing defense remains."

I don't want to get into Rose-vs-James specifically here, but I do think what Tom wrote is a very important concept to apply to all NBA MVP debates in this modern age of plus/minus.

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Posted in Analysis, Awards, Rants & Ramblings, Statgeekery | 90 Comments »

Mini-Mailbag: MVP Winners, Team Winning %, & SRS

11th February 2011

Alex Sonty, who writes ChicagoNow's Load O' Bull blog, has been paying close attention to Henry Abbott's TrueHoop posts about Derrick Rose -- specifically, this post about past MVP winners and their teams' rankings in wins. Henry found that team wins were highly correlated with MVP voting, to the point that 19 of the last 20 MVPs came from a team with a top-3 record. This of course is bad news for Rose, as the Bulls are 6th in winning % at the moment.

But Alex was wondering how past winners stack up in a schedule-adjusted margin-of-victory based metric like the Simple Rating System, where the Bulls are 5th. So here's the master list -- every MVP winner, with their team's rank in both WPct and SRS:

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Posted in Analysis, Awards, BBR Mailbag, History, SRS | 14 Comments »