NormanDale wrote:Both in RealGM and among professional reporters, there seems to be a lot of cherry-picking stats to argue against Westbrook, who seems to be 4th on many people's lists despite having a season we haven't seen for more than 50 years and being the obvious pick.
Don't act like it's just ignoramuses seduced by counting-stats who support Russ' candidacy. Russ leads the league by substantial margins in VORP (10.8 to Harden's 8.0), BPM (14.9 to Harden's 10.4) and PER (30.4 to Harden's 27.8, and Kawhi's 28.0). He also leads in assist rate, 56.6 to Harden's 50.9, a testament to the fact that Harden's "raw" assist lead is in large part a product of the quality of his teammates.
The big case for Harden seems to be that his team has won 8 more games than Westbrook's team, even though it's acknowledged that a big part of the gap comes from the massive difference in the two teams when their stars are off the court--Westbrook's team falls off a cliff, Harden's does not.
Also: I'm as big of a fan of advanced stats as anyone, but let's not completely dismiss the 30-10-10. As recently as a year ago, Big-O's numbers were seen as a relic of a strange, mythical era when the game looked nothing like it does today, as unlikely to be repeated as Wilt's 50 ppg. When Westbrook did it for the first couple months, everyone said, "this is amazing, but there's no way he'll keep it up." He has, and now we're all pretending it's not that big a deal. Except it is. It's insane.
And the eye test backs up how incredible what Westbrook is doing is. While I love Harden's game, and think he would be worthy of the MVP in almost any other year, I have never in my life seen anything like Westbrook this season, a freight-train going 100 mph all the damn time, putting the team on his shoulders and fighting all comers like the hero in a kung-fu movie. It's electrifying.
It's one of those things where you look at the stats and you say, "How is that even possible in 2017??" Then you watch him play, and you go, "Ohhh, that's how it's possible. You have to be a **** maniac every day for 6 straight months."
When you play at a consistent intensity and quality level that rivals the best seasons we've ever seen (certainly among the best I've ever seen, and I've been watching the NBA consistently since 1991), and when the eye-test, the advanced-stats, and the traditional stats all back that up...then, I'm sorry, but you're the MVP.
Cherry-picking is what you're doing in this post. The problem with Westbrook is he's not really exceptionally good at anything if you look at the quality of his stats vs quantity.
Is WB a great scorer? Well, he takes the most shots per game so he averages a lot of points, but only with sub-par efficiency (TS%, eFG%, etc.)
Is WB a great rebounder? He leads the league in uncontested rebounds and free throw rebounds, so excuse me if I don't find that impressive.
IS WB a great passer? He has mediocre AST/TOV ratio.
is WB a great defender? He's a below average defender at best.
You could levy the same criticisms at Harden, but Harden at least is a very efficient scorer. Also, Harden averages more secondary assists, potential assists, and creates more points from his assists per game. http://stats.nba.com/players/passing/#!?sort=POTENTIAL_AST&dir=1
- Westbrook's 30-10-10 has to be understood within the context of his historically high usage rates. He runs the whole show in OKC - and whether it's a good thing is up to interpretation - but in terms of piling up raw stats, Westbrook is in a best situation to do that.
- One of the major problems with PER is that it is known for rewarding 'chuckers'. The more you shoot, the better PER you'll likely to end up with, regardless of efficiency.https://skepticalsports.com/tag/per/
PER Rewards Shooting (and Punishes Not Shooting)
As described by David Berri, PER is well-known to reward inefficient shooting:
“Hollinger argues that each two point field goal made is worth about 1.65 points. A three point field goal made is worth 2.65 points. A missed field goal, though, costs a team 0.72 points. Given these values, with a bit of math we can show that a player will break even on his two point field goal attempts if he hits on 30.4% of these shots. On three pointers the break-even point is 21.4%. If a player exceeds these thresholds, and virtually every NBA player does so with respect to two-point shots, the more he shoots the higher his value in PERs. So a player can be an inefficient scorer and simply inflate his value by taking a large number of shots.”
The consequences of this should be properly understood: Since this feature of PER applies to every shot taken, it is not only the inefficient players who inflate their stats. PER gives a boost to everyone for every shot: Bad players who take bad shots can look merely mediocre, mediocre players who take mediocre shots can look like good players, and good players who take good shots can look like stars. For Dennis Rodman’s case—as someone who took very few shots, good or bad— the necessary converse of this is even more significant: since PER is a comparative statistic (even directly adjusted by league averages), players who don’t take a lot of shots are punished.
FYI, Westbrook takes 5.5 more shot attempts per game than Harden, despite being far less efficient.
- BPM, VORP rewards rebounds, but as everyone knows by now, Westbrook leads the league in uncontested free rebounds.
- If Westbrook wins MVP, he will be the one with lowest FG%, TS%, eFG% since Iverson 16 years ago.
- If Westbrook wins MVP, he will be the one with lowest team record since Moses Malone 35 years ago.
- Westbrook is not even top 5 in Win Shares and WS/48.