Forgetting History – Where did 2008 Go?

Posted on 03/24/2011 by

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Nerd Numbers here. This year has seen a huge growth in terms of writing and stats for me. I joined the Wages of Wins Network, I jumped on to twitter(@nerdnumbers). I have always been a nerd but after becoming a stats writer my focus on numbers got even worse. Twitter and the blogging world let my ability to argue about these increase. The truth is that this year has had a few arguments come up over and over again. I’ll leave Miami to Mosi but a few arguments I’ve seen reminds me of 2008 and makes me question if anybody actually remembers it.

The 2011 Story: Derrick Rose is the MVP

The Bulls were a playoff team last year and miraculously became a contender. Someone deserves the credit and Derrick Rose has gotten the Lion’s share of it. Technically he has been the best player on the Bulls but is nowhere near as effective as other MVP candidates. The issue is Boozer didn’t start until midseason, Noah has lost significant time to injury and Ronnie Brewer is pegged as a role player off the bench. Rather than accept the reason the Bulls improved is complicated (Well not that complicated, just thank Utah) it is easier to dub Derrick Rose the MVP.

Player Pos G MP WP48 Wins
Derrick Rose PG 69 2581 0.185 9.9
Joakim Noah C 70 1324 0.290 8.0
Luol Deng SF 70 2745 0.128 7.3
Ronnie Brewer SG 70 1569 0.213 7.0
Carlos Boozer PF 47 1496 0.174 5.4

Table 1: 2011 Top Chicago Bulls through 70 games.


The 2008 Version: Kobe Bryant was the MVP
The Lakers were a bubble playoff team the year before and miraculously became a contender. The writers had to give someone credit. Kobe got it. He was the best player on the Lakers but was nowhere near as effective as other MVP candidates. The issue was that Pau Gasol was a midseason acquisition, Andrew Bynum lost significant time to injury and Lamar Odom was pegged as a role player. Rather than accept the reason for the Lakers success was complicated it was easier to just give the MVP to Kobe.

Player Pos G MP WP48 Wins
Kobe Bryant SG 82 3192 0.248 16.5
Lamar Odom F 77 2921 0.261 15.9
Andrew Bynum C 35 1008 0.367 7.7
Pau Gasol FC 27 918 0.244 4.7

Table 2: 2008 Top Los Angeles Lakers

The 2011 Story: Team Melo with another scoring star to be a contender:
The Knicks picked up Amare Stoudemire, who is a top scorer. It turns out a high rebounding Landry Fields is the real driving force of the Knicks success. However, the thinking was that by adding Carmelo Anthony to the team it would move them over the top. Somehow this team has not met expectations losing to Cleveland, Indiana and Detroit.

Player Pos G MP WP48 Wins
Landry Fields GF 70 2244 0.276 12.9
Amare Stoudemire FC 69 2543 0.088 4.7
Carmelo Anthony F 16 577 0.017 0.2

Table 3: 2011 New York Knicks: Fields, Stoudemire and Melo

The 2007 and 2008 Version: Team Melo with another scoring star to be a contender:
The Nuggets had Melo who was a top scorer. It turns out a high rebounding Marcus Camby had a large impact on the Nuggets success. However, the thinking was that adding Allen Iverson to the team would move them over the top. Somehow this team did not meet expectations and got blown out two times in the first round of the playoffs.

Player Pos G MP WP48 Wins
Marcus Camby FC 79 2757 0.353 20.2
Allen Iverson G 82 3423 0.125 8.9
Carmelo Anthony F 77 2806 0.133 7.8

Table 4: 2008 Denver Nuggets: Camby, Iverson and Anthony


The 2011 Story: Kevin Love can’t be as good as we think because his team is terrible
Kevin Love is putting up historic numbers. Somehow he is being compared to players like Moses Malone! Stat heads will claim he’s an MVP candidate but how can that be true if his team is so bad? His stats must be inflated, if we put him on a good team it wouldn’t be the same.

Player Team Pos MP WP48 Wins
Kevin Love MIN FC 2548 0.472 25.1
Dwight Howard ORL C 2556 0.410 21.8
LeBron James MIA SF 2613 0.350 19.0
Chris Paul NOH PG 2486 0.367 19.0
Zach Randolph MEM PF 2418 0.294 14.8

Table 5: 2011 WP48 MVP Candidates, notice the top.


The 2008 Version: Kevin Garnett was as good as we thought.
The Story: Kevin Garnett put up amazing numbers on the Timberwolves. His team was bad and had won less than 35 games two years in a row. He was put on a good Boston team and somehow propelled them to one of the best records of all time and an NBA championship.

Player Year Pos G MP WP48 Wins
Kevin Garnett 2007 PF 76 2916 0.348 21.1
Kevin Garnett 2008 PF 71 2327 0.387 18.8

Table 6: 2007 Garnett on 32 win T-Wolves vs. Garnett on 69 win Celtics.


Summing Up:

Does your favorite player score a lot of points and are they on a winning team? These two questions answer the analysis of many NBA fans. The fact is that these don’t actually explain many of the things fans actually care about, one of which is if their team will win. With this year coming to a close and the same stories being retold I am left with optimism because

1)      The Nuggets benefited from the Knicks forgetfulness

2)       It means I can copy and paste my blog articles next year (kidding. . . mostly)

-Dre

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