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The Never Ending MVP Debate

For me MVP is the player whom comes to mind as "Wow, this team would suck if they didn't have this guy."

League-wide I think the most valuable player would be Dirk Nowitzki or Dwight Howard. Without either or them their respective teams are borderline playoff teams, maybe worst. With them they are top 4 in each of their conferences. I remember the Mavs going on a losing run when Dirk was out a few games.

For the Sixers, easy. Andre Iguodala. He's the one player who's brought it nearly every game defensively taking on the toughest perimeter assignment and he's one of the main reasons why the team is quite solid defensively overall. Throw in the absurd Assist/turnover ratio for a wing player and the all round game and it's not a question for me.

Brand has been much-improved this season but still doesn't come close to Iggy's importance to the team, in my view.

I think an MVP is a mixture of all of the aforementioned reasons. To me an MVP is defined through three main characteristics:
1) He needs to be the best player one of the best teams in the league (lets say top 5). Awarding a guy whose team sucks is stupid to me, no matter how valuable he is to the team.
2) He needs to be indispensable to his team. He needs to be worth at least 15 wins.
3) He needs to be among the best 10 players in the league. It's ridiculous to punish players just because they are on teams that have more than one great player.

All of that needs to be taken into account.

That being said right now we probably have the closest MVP race in years. At least so far. To me it's a four-way tie between Lebron, Rose, Nowitzki and Howard.

Number of games played during the season is an important parameter as well which is why i'd probably give it to Leborn right now. Otherwise, i think Nowitzki is having an MVP campaign. The others are close though and i might change my mind when the season ends depending on what happens.

Btw i think Ginobilli should be in the conversation as well. But the stupid media will never admit nor allow that, cause he is not flashy as the others.

Id have to go with brand for the sixers. As good as AI is, I think turner would fill in admirably. I shudder to think where the team would be without brand there to man both the pf and c positions for 30+ minutes a night.

The Sixers MVP has to be Brand. Consistency is key in the NBA and Brand has been extremely consistent all season long.

That being said the Sixers pretty much have 5 players that are crucial to the team (Brand, Iguodala, Holiday, Young and Lou) in one way or another. I actually think that Young might be the guy who makes the biggest on/off court difference. I can't even imagine what this team would be like without him this year. He is the key guy to their style of play even though he only plays 25 minutes per game.

John Nash used to see MVP stands for "Most Victories Produced." A lot of people think this way.



I don't think you judge a player partly on how lousy their back-up is. Brand gets boosted by this measure becuase the Sixers lack a replacement, while Iguodala is diminished since the Sixers have great depth at his position.

Would Michael Jordan have been any less of an MVP if he had Drexler on his team? IMO the MVP is the best player in the league that year. Probably the guy the opposing teams lose the most sleep over trying to account for that player. Almost by definition the team with the best player should win a lot of games.

I wanted to get back to a question deepsixersuede asked the other day:

"Could you list the top 5 things a star does for a team, in preference of most important on down? I keep thinking end of game scoring but would like your opinion. I am trying to validate that a starless team can compete basically, and know I am in the minority."

tk76 reply to tk76 on Mar 1 at 9:34

1. Gives a consistent high level of play and production every night that a team can count on. Sort of like what Brand has done this year, but at a slightly higher level (say 22/10/2 instead of 15/9/1.2.)

2. Consistently provides a mismatch on the floor, throwing off the opponent (can be on offense or defense.)

3. Establishes a team identity for how you win games.

4. Through a combination of the above- allows for lesser role players to be maximized. So otherwise one dimensional players can be put in a position to really damage an opponent. In this way "a star makes the players around him better." Whether this is putting great defenders around AI or great shooters around Shaq/Dwight/Duncan or putting scoring (non pure point)guards next to MJ/Lebron.

5. Raises the profile of the team to where other top stars and their agents force their way to join the team.

6. Raises fan interest and attendance- which helps build the resources to where ownership gets more aggressive and the fans get more excitement.

7. Have a consistent option late in games, and get calls late in games.

Quick note on Paine's methodology: horrible. The long explanation is nerdy and boring, but on the whole, anyone who would use a sample of single-season basketball data on a given player to make claims about what would happen under different conditions is blowing smoke. Small sample size, no assumptions of normal distribution, no counterfactual. (Even Berri's "expected wins" by team, a more general measure with a lot more data included, turns lousy at actually predicting anything.) As mathematician and philosopher Nassim Taleb says, models like this sacrifice being "generally right" for being "precisely wrong." It is much better to be the former.

On MVP, I think it's the player who makes the biggest contribution to a highly successful team AT BOTH ENDS OF THE FLOOR. (Steve Nash is one of my favorite players, but he never should have won this award.) I think Dirk gets serious consideration this year in no small part because, oddly enough, he's playing good defense.

I'm in the minority as well like deepsixersuede because i too think that it's not exactly stars that win championships.

To me a championship team needs key ingredients:

- Perfectly established roles for all players (especially rotation players). Whether the role is a shooter, creator for others, defensive stopper, rebounding big man, off the bench scorer, late game go to guy or anything else, the roles need to be perfectly determined. That usually means that the team needs to have excellent chemistry. This kind of things tend to happen when you employ the same players, using the same system for an extended period of time. It's not a necessity however. It can happen over the course of a single season, as evidenced by the recent Celtics championship team.
- Win first understanding. This means each player should do what it takes to get the best chance to get a win. If it means passing up shots to a teammate who has a better matchup so be it. If it means taking all of the shots and carrying the team offensively, i'm fine with that too.
- Great system, both offensively and defensively. This means both having a great coaching staff who can tweak at times the system to fit their players and having suitable players for the system.
- Great front office and ownership. A front office who can make the right decisions both short and long term is key. Also more and more an ownership that is willing to spend is a necessity. Unless you are the Spurs and have the best front office ever :).
- Good players. At the end of the day you need to have good enough players who will be able to perform their role at a very good level, at any time, against any opponent.

All in all i think this team is headed in the right direction, but there are still holes that need to be filled.

Oops sorry for misusing the bold tags :(. I knew i shouldn't have tried :(.

Teams win championships...you ain't winning without stars and you ain't winning without the role players

but the role players are much easier to find (and cheaper to pay)

I think you misunderstood my point. What i was trying to say was basically that stars actually perform a certain role on a championship team. A role that doesn't necessarily need to be filled with a star player, just a very good player who can perform the role at a good enough level.

So what you mean to say is that, contrary to the majority of evidence out there, a team of 'very good role' players without a super star can win a title in the NBA?

The Detroit Pistons were an aberration

No what i am trying to say is that teams with superstars that win titles had their superstars actually perform certain roles on their teams instead of playing like true superstars. The thing that makes them superstars the most is pre-championship stats and winning during the championship years. Take all of the recent championship teams as examples: Lakers, Spurs, Celtics...

tk76 reply to Xsago on Mar 1 at 12:03

I think some greats like MJ and Magic played like superstars on their teams. But that is not recent.

I posted elsewhere, the Sixers do "star by committee."

They have 5 players who can play at star level on some nights and 2-3 other players who can catch lightning in a bottle and be a star for a night (say Meeks.)

So every night they rely on 2 or 3 of these guys playing like stars- even if they can't count on any one player at that level consistently. Quality depth.

5 players who can play at a star level every night?

Are you including lou and thad in that?

Every should be replaced by some

And if you think stars only score points than I'm with you, but I don't see Lou or Thad doing much else on a star level any night aside from the points.

Thad has been much improved defensively of late so i can't exactly say that he doesn't do other things than scoring. Even Lou has improved defensively albeit only slightly.

tk76 reply to GoSixers on Mar 1 at 11:50

Right now they defend more as a team. But you can have a defensive "star for a night." Iguodala fills that role when he adds another star to hes "list." Sam was that for the Sixers in many of their big wins against teams like the Spurs.

Can you win a title with a roster like that you think?

tk76 reply to GoSixers on Mar 1 at 11:57


tk76 reply to GoSixers on Mar 1 at 12:01

I don't even know if you can win a playoff series like that.

Only two of the guys have the youth and well rounded games to potentially grow into being a consistent star: Jrue and Turner.

While guys like Lou and Thad can continue to improve, their games are to imbalanced to ever be that type of "star." But if you can spot them in favorable match-ups they can become more consistent performers.

Iguodala and Brand are probably the most consistent (in what they do well.) But I doubt either become much better than they are right now. In both cases the key is the coach having them stay within themselves and not expose their weak spots (scoring touch for Iguodala and mobility for Brand.)

Then should you keep such a roster together in the next question?

tk76 reply to GoSixers on Mar 1 at 12:24

For the short term I don't see why not. By winning you are aiding in player development, evaluation and valuation. They have 8 players 14 and under with none making much more than 5M. They are stuck waiting for Brand to expire and Iguodala is on the wrong side of his escalating contract.

To me it makes the most sense to maximize this current roster, and hope to swap a few pieces in 11-23 months for a major upgrade.

In this type of winning environment, you can even start to pump up the value of flawed guys like Speights and Lou, since the deep roster can be used to spot their minutes and maximize how they look. In fact we might see more of Speights pretty soon:


They have 8 players 14 and under

Wow, that's pretty impressive for teenagers :) (I hate when I put my fingers onthe number pad wrong too)

tk76 reply to GoSixers on Mar 1 at 11:40

Absolutely. Lou can on some nights be their star. And for some quarters or even halves he carries them when no one else has showed up- just look at the 1st qtr of the Cleveland game.

That's not to say those same players (esp Lou) can't kill you on other nights. And it makes it extra important to have a coach who can find and ride the hot hand- and go away from a guy having an off night. While if you have a star you are all about getting the star their looks.

Some nights willie green can get 25 points

Does that make him a star on those nights?

tk76 reply to GoSixers on Mar 1 at 11:48


And when meeks had 24 points in a win over Chicago, he played like a star that night.

The point is, that if you are deep enough and can find they hot hand, you can win "star by committee." In fact, it makes it hard for the opponent to gameplan against you.

But its exceedingly hard to win this way in the playoffs- where benches tend yto be shorter and its hard for a coach to find favorable match-ups for guys like Thad or Lou.

I posted this yest:
Look at some of their better wins. Against the Bulls they had Meeks(24), Lou(20) and Jrue(19). Against the Spurs Jrue(27), Brand(17R) and Hawes(13/8) led the way. Against the Hawks it was 5 guys between 15-20, while Iguodala with 11/8/7. And against the Nuggets it was Iguodala(24) and Thad(21.)

And it makes it extra important to have a coach who can find and ride the hot hand- and go away from a guy having an off night.

And thus the sixers have no stars...rightly or wrongly, stars are guys you don't go away from.

tk76 reply to GoSixers on Mar 1 at 11:53

Yeah. That is my point. They don't have any real stars. Brand gives them consistent good production, but not at star level.

But on a given night you need a few stars to win. Its rare when you win with 7 guys in double figures and no one over 16 pts, and yet that is how their season averages look.

Teams with stars can count on them on almost every night. While the Sixers need to find similar production with a rotating leading man.

or men, as is usually the case w/ the sixers.

The whole problem with star committees is what the various members of the committee are doing when they're not playing like stars. This is more clear if you think of other sports - suppose the U.S. decided to field a Ryder Cup team of golfers who had only ever won one or two tournaments. Guys like Ben Curtis, who won a British Open and did nothing else. On any given day, someone would play like a star; after all they're all capable of it, they've won events. But on the whole that team would be lousy because they're all just average players. The other thing about star committees - take ours - is that you're not even guaranteed of nightly star play from anyone. How many games has any Sixer played this year that compare to LeBron's average game? I think we play many games where we don't get any superstar contribution.

tk76 reply to Tray on Mar 1 at 12:28

Its not as difficult if you have enough players and a good coach.

Collins only gives 3 guys starters minutes (Brand/Iguodala/Jrue.) And 2 of the 3 give you consistent production in their strengths, while putting up a fair share of "star level" games.

Then their are 6 players who get between 18-25 minutes. So that leaves a ton of flexibility for the coach to find a favorable match-up and hot hand.

Sure, I'd rather have the stars. But is is not like they are playing 5 guys 37 minutes and 2 guys 25 minutes and getting inconsistent production from them. the minutes and opportunities are more fluid on this team.

Perkins got extended, four years, 35 million. I guess it was always about the money.

tk76 reply to Tray on Mar 1 at 12:29

Many players equate money with respect.

Shawn reply to tk76 on Mar 1 at 12:31

as would most anyone, including me.

Man, not a thought process I ever understood - at all - money doesn't equal respect. Money doesn't really translate into anything but money and your ability to waste it on more things.

This is the contract that Boston I believe refused to sign and if Boston didn't have the money to sign Perkins long term, the Celtics should be contracted cause it's not a bad contract

tk76 reply to GoSixers on Mar 1 at 12:47

I get paid less in my current job tan my previous one. I don't think they respect me less.

Salaries have many variables, including the overall economic climate, competition and demand. "Respect" is only a small part of it.

I honestly think it might be a factor of upbringing if you looked into it. If you come from a more comfortable background then money might not mean respect as much as if you come from an impoverished background.

All I know is, most of the really rich people I've met in life (and living a block from montecito makes it worse), most have been douches, not because they had money but because of the sense of entitlement they felt because they had money.

Plus, anyone who drives a porsche cayenne or a hummer is just a douche

Tray reply to tk76 on Mar 1 at 12:34

I think Boston didn't have the money, though. Which is different from lowballing him. I just thought he had some chosen non-Boston destination in mind.

Shawn reply to Tray on Mar 1 at 12:39

I read a report that Boston had offered Perk something to the tune of 4 years, 30 million dollars. I'll look for it later, but I think if that report is true, it would have a lot to do with Boston shipping Perkins before his value diminished.

tk76 reply to Tray on Mar 1 at 12:54

Boston has a plan for what it thinks it can pay its role players. OKC has more flexibility, and a few million won't cramp them as badly if it fits a need perfectly.

Kendrick Perkins wasn't a role player on Boston going forward...he & Rondo were the 'future' after the big 3 retired (possibly as early as after this season some speculate)

Now they've got Rondo, Green is due his extension this year, is he going to cost less than Perkins? And who else?

tk76 reply to GoSixers on Mar 1 at 13:15

Perkins is not going to look as good once KG is gone. Same regarding Rondo and Allan.

Boston needs to re-allocate assets in the Post KG/Allan era to get a well rounded big. If they over-pay for a defensive specialist who really is most effective in man defense and rebounding, then they will be in trouble... of course they will be in trouble anyway.

Perkins makes a huge amount of sense for the Celtics over the next 1.5 years. But long term he fits OKC's needs better- especially if Ibaka continues to grow offensively.

Eh. I like Ibaka a lot, and his long twos have improved to being respectable, but I don't think he's ever going to be an offensive threat. He's a defensive big, in my mind, and probably always will be (albeit a defensive big who does a great job scoring efficiently with a very limited usage rate). I think Perkins helps them, but I don't consider Perkins/Ibaka to be a perfect yin-yang. They have a lot of overlapping skills.

tk76 reply to Brian on Mar 1 at 13:32

I'd say KG is the perfect complement to Perk.

But Ibaka fits well, since he is more of a mobile/athletic off the ball defender (like KG) and is developing a game where he can roam away from the basket. Ibaka is also a good P&R threat- again something Perkins lacks the mobility/balance to excel at.

Also, Durant carries such a big scoring load, and Westbrook's driving creates so many easy bunnies for his bigs- Perkins fits. His weaknesses are hidden and strengths needed.

Tray reply to GoSixers on Mar 1 at 13:26

If they're smart they won't extend Green - but they traded for him, so maybe they're not that smart.

It's funny, I mean, KG was handed to Ainge on a silver platter. Other than that, has he really made any good moves as GM in Boston? I guess the Allen trade before getting KG, but if the KG trade didn't follow, would Boston have even been a playoff team the past couple of years.

Once Allen and Garnett were on board, they got the typical veteran "we want to play there" signees in Posey a couple of other guys. Then he went out and signed Sheed and Marquis Daniels. Then Shaq and Jermaine O'Neal. The House for Nate Robinson trade, and now this deal. I mean, I realize it's tough to shuffle the deck and try to squeeze out another championship run when your stars are on their last legs, but take away the McHale bonus and this Boston franchise is a complete mess right now. I'm looking forward to when those guys retire or seriously decline.

tk76 reply to Brian on Mar 1 at 13:33

Sometimes all it takes is one move to get the ball rolling.

Had the Sxiers gotten Deron or CP3 (and inked them to an extension) their job would get a whole lot easier.

Tray reply to Brian on Mar 1 at 13:50

Who drafted Perkins and Rondo? They were great picks.

Not sure if Ainge was there for both, maybe. I'm also not sure Rondo every comes close to this level if he wasn't shielded/allowed to be the fourth option on offense for most of his career. I'm also not sure how effective Rondo's going to be once the big three are gone. Perkins was also in a perfect role for him in BOS, one he should be able to recreate in OKC w/ Westbrook and Durant taking so many shots, but he's a role player. Good value for the pick, certainly, but I'm not sure he's really a home run, or enough of a good move to balance out the bad. I also like Avery Bradley, though I'm not sure he'll ever get minutes in BOS.

Tray reply to Brian on Mar 1 at 14:56

"Good value for the pick, certainly, but I'm not sure he's really a home run, or enough of a good move to balance out the bad."

What bad? Green and a bunch of small free agent signings? They drafted the perfect pieces to play with their big three; that's very praiseworthy. He might not be a good GM, but I don't think he's actually done a ton wrong yet.

They drafted those guys before they had a big three. They drafted them to compliment Al Jefferson.

Tray reply to Brian on Mar 1 at 15:02

Well I'm sure they thought they were going to get some scorers one day. I would say they're good drafters and so-so at free agency and the trade market.

tk76 reply to Brian on Mar 1 at 15:03

Hah, was thinking the same thing.

The MVP Is such a subjective award, I mean in general all these awards are subjective. I find sixth man of the year my most favoritest. If you play 30 MPG but don't start, you're eligible

In the years that Michael Jodan didn't win it after his ascendancy to the best of the game - were the players who did win it more valuable than Jordan?

Nah, people just got sick of voting for Jordan.

Hence the stupidity of the award.

I remember an argument against giving Steve nash a 3rd in a row revolved not around whether he was MVP that year but the other guys who had gotten the MVP 3 years in a row and whether or not he belonged in that category.

Lebron is the best player in the NBA - he won't win it this year - but he'll deserve it - but all the non basketball stuff will influence the voters.

Shawn reply to GoSixers on Mar 1 at 12:44

I like the John Nash, most wins produced, and I'm pretty sure lebron, rose, dirkus, chris paul, and manu, are right up there this year, with Lebron clearly producing the most wins vs mr. rose.

tk76 reply to GoSixers on Mar 1 at 12:40

Arguably- since Jordan in the later years was surrounded by a tremendous supporting cast. So its hard to now if he could have consistently carried the team at age 35 like he still could on the occasional night they needed him to.

He certainly was as good as any of the other MVP's, but they had to carry their teams on more nights.

BTW, of MJ's 6 titles, he won 4 MVP's those years. Malone and Barkley won the other 2.

Barkley: 25.6/12.2/5.1 52%
(MJ 32/6.7/5.5/49%)

Malone: 27.4/9.9/4.5 55%
(MJ 29.6/5.9/4.3 486%)

I apologize if this has already been said, but if the question is: If one player would be lost for this season due to injury, which player could we least afford to lose? The answer is clearly Brand. We have absolutely no one to fill that role.

tk76 reply to MW on Mar 1 at 12:43

That says more to their lack of depth in the frontcourt and their incredible depth in the frontcourt than anything else.

Iguodala's contribution is just as important- the team simply has other players who can reasonably step up and fill his role. While Speights/Hawes/Songalia/Battie cannot do what Brand does. If they had a better back-up PF it would be different.

Was Boozer less of a player for Utah when they had Milsap?

And as to MVP, I think the best player in the game, or at least, the player with the best numbers (and defense, which isn't as easy to measure), is, by definition, the most valuable to his team. I would measure value in terms of production, not "what would happen if Player X left his team and destroyed it because his backups happen to suck." To take that kind of logic to the extreme, I could capsize my parents' business tomorrow if I stopped doing their semi-monthly online availability (no one else can do it anywhere near as fast, it would take enormous amounts of money to program), whereas Apple would still exist and do alright if Steve Jobs left the company, so I must be more valuable to my parents' business than Steve Jobs is to Apple. No, Jobs is producing thousands, probably millions, times more for his company.

Well, you're not comparing like things in that scenario. We're talking about teams going to the playoffs with top-3 records in their conference. So if you take Jobs away from Apple, and they don't falter at all, but you take Gates away from Microsoft, and they do, then I think it's safe to say Gates is more valuable.

The argument I'm making isn't really about backups, though, it's about what the player is adding to the team. I still think Rose is adding more wins to Chicago than James is adding to Miami. Neither should win the MVP, though. It should be Howard.

So if you take Jobs away from Apple, and they don't falter at all, but you take Gates away from Microsoft, and they do, then I think it's safe to say Gates is more valuable.

Hey now, don't be messing with Steve Jobs, as the exact opposite is true :)

Jobs left apple - apple went to hell until he returned

Gates left Microsoft a couple years ago and the ugly behemoth still continues to release crappy bug filled products that people pay too much money for

It's also a bad comparison. The stability of a company has much more to do with the executives past actions than their future ones. Apple wasn't on stable financial ground when Jobs left (which is why he was forced out). When Gates voluntarily left, Microsoft was very stable.

That has more to do with the stability of the companies than their current value.

BTW, I'm a 100% linux user, with dislikes for both companies business practices, so I have no dog in this fight.

I don't know the exadt timing of jobs exit, but bringing in that pepsi guy was pretty stupid.

It still isn't Xerox Stupid (dumbest corporation all time in my opinion) and there Xerox PARC errors, but letting that pepsi guy near apple was silly.

Tray reply to Brian on Mar 1 at 13:48

Your argument's about LeBron's supporting cast; you think if he left Wade and Bosh would start doing more. Or really just Bosh, because Wade's already doing about as much as he did without LeBron. So there are two questions: one, whether Wade, Bosh, several guys who hit open threes, and a collection of 7-foot bodies wouldn't be a lot worse than Miami is now. And I actually think it would be. You'd be redistributing a ton of possessions from LeBron to Eddie House and Carlos Arroyo. Going from running your offense through the best passer at the wing in the game to a pretty good one. Losing a very key defender and rebounder. They'd take a huge hit on both ends of the floor. But even if it would only cost them 8 wins because Bosh would start putting up the kind of numbers he did in Toronto, I don't think that LeBron's less valuable because there happens to be a guy on his team who could pick up a lot of slack if LeBron weren't there. I think you measure LeBron's value in terms of what he's actually doing on the floor, not in terms of what he's doing on the floor minus what others would do in his absence.

Brand is my MVP for the Sixers.

Check out the new phillyburbs Sixers page:


Nice, Tom. Big improvement.

Loads much faster, I like that. Love the phillyburbs site but always loaded slow on my puter

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