Tracking NBA Awards: MVP

Yesterday I made a fanpost which pointed out that Blazers are getting more notoriety for some of the all-NBA awards,

I began the process of tracking these awards with some Coach of the Year analysis. The formula for that award is still in progress, help me out if you have ideas.

Today I want to broach the MVP discussion. This one is sticky because there are multiple definitions people use to decide who is the Most Valuable Player, and not all of them are easy to quantify. Some say it should be given to the best all-around player statistically, some say the best player from the best team, others say give it to LeBron James no matter what, others make different statistical arguments.

Since most of the statistical material (advanced and otherwise) is readily available, I'm going to make it as quantifiable as possible.

First of all, to be MVP, we know that you need to excel statistically. Second, we know your team has to be good. Third, many of the straight statistics (Points, Rebounds, Assists, etc) have become less valued recently, but they are still considered and discussed. Many of the more advanced stats that measure a player's performance (Rebounding Rate, Assist Ratio, Pace, and True Shooting%) are built into efficiency stats such as ESPN's PER, and's PIE. ESPN also has a stat called Value Added which is the equivalent to baseball's WARP (Wins over replacement player).

My initial approach will combine 4 scores that try to encompass the above pieces. The first score will take each of the main 5 straight statistics (Points, Rebounds, Assists, Blocks, and Steals), and record each players percentage of the league leader. So the league leader gets 1.000, and everyone below him gets whatever percentage they are to that value. Here's an example based on points per game:

Player PPG % of Leader
Durant Kevin 28.5 1.000
Anthony Carmelo 26.3 0.923
James LeBron 25.3 0.888
Love Kevin 25 0.877
Harden James 24.7 0.867
Curry Steph 24.1 0.846
George Paul 23.8 0.835
Aldridge LaMarcus 23.5 0.825
Cousins DeMarcus 22 0.772
Afflalo Arron 21.6 0.758

Since the straight stats shouldn't be given too much weight, I took the average of the 5 stat percentages for my first score.

Score 1 = percentage of league leader average for points, rebounds, blocks, steals, and assists

The top 10 in this category is interesting:

Player Raw Stats Score
Davis Anthony 0.613
Carter-Williams Michael 0.578
Paul Chris 0.568
Durant Kevin 0.561
Cousins DeMarcus 0.540
Wall John 0.524
Curry Steph 0.521
Love Kevin 0.520
James LeBron 0.500
Aldridge LaMarcus 0.494

You can see that Davis is just a monster statistically, and MCW has been really good in his rookie year. He is the league leader in steals (not close currently), gets decent assists and points, and rebounds well for a guard.

The second score used the same percentage approach to the combination of PIE and PER. Here is the top ten:

Player Score 2 PER PER% PIE PIE%
James LeBron 1.000 29.78 1.000 21.5 1.000
Paul Chris 0.943 28.59 0.960 19.9 0.926
Durant Kevin 0.939 28.39 0.953 19.9 0.926
Love Kevin 0.884 27.19 0.913 18.4 0.856
Cousins DeMarcus 0.857 26.39 0.886 17.8 0.828
Lopez Brook 0.850 27.35 0.918 16.8 0.781
Davis Anthony 0.846 28.23 0.948 16 0.744
Anthony Carmelo 0.786 24.4 0.819 16.2 0.753
George Paul 0.784 23.15 0.777 17 0.791
Aldridge LaMarcus 0.783 23.78 0.799 16.5 0.767

Starting to look more like MVP type candidates. You can see a few players from bad teams up there though.

Score 3 evaluates team success. Instead of translating straight win%, I used the same percentage of league leader approach. When I built this yesterday, the Pacers had the highest win%. As of today its the Blazers. So I made the adjustment. I'm not going to paste in the leaders since that it would just be all Blazers. :)

The 4th score is value added. It seems like giving this score 25% of the weight is too much. And that's one area where I may need more suggestions about how to change the formula. Anyway, here are the top ten based on Hollinger's value added:

James LeBron 244.9 1.000
Durant Kevin 234.0 0.955
Paul Chris 226.8 0.926
Love Kevin 201.4 0.822
Anthony Carmelo 195.2 0.797
Aldridge LaMarcus 168.9 0.690
George Paul 167.0 0.682
Curry Steph 158.9 0.649
Drummond Andre 153.0 0.625
Cousins DeMarcus 151.8 0.620

Don't forget, value added is the equivalent of value over replacement player.

That completes the 4 scores I used for my MVP calculation. The scores are then added together to provide the MCP score. Here is the top ten as of today 12/17/2013:

Player MVP Score Score 1 (Straight Stats) Score 2 (Efficiency) Score 3 (Team Success) Score 4 (Value Added)
Durant Kevin 3.439 0.561 0.939 0.983 0.955
James LeBron 3.392 0.500 1.000 0.893 1.000
Paul Chris 3.216 0.568 0.943 0.779 0.926
Aldridge LaMarcus 2.967 0.494 0.783 1.000 0.690
George Paul 2.918 0.460 0.784 0.992 0.682
Love Kevin 2.798 0.520 0.884 0.571 0.822
Davis Anthony 2.602 0.613 0.846 0.595 0.548
Curry Steph 2.544 0.521 0.755 0.619 0.649
Westbrook Russell 2.504 0.480 0.657 0.983 0.384
Harden James 2.484 0.455 0.709 0.762 0.558

Interestingly Indiana's loss yesterday to the Pistons dropped George below Aldridge. Kevin Durant gets a very slight nod over LeBron according to this score. I am ok with that considering that LeBron's team success has been a little down this year, and despite great efficiency, he isn't putting up the numbers KD is. The team success is the big one though. Would the Heat be better if LeBron exerted himself even just a little more? Then again, LeBron is likely the better player... makes for a great discussion.

Where can I improve this calculation? How did I screw it up?

Log In Sign Up

Log In Sign Up

Please choose a new SB Nation username and password

As part of the new SB Nation launch, prior users will need to choose a permanent username, along with a new password.

Your username will be used to login to SB Nation going forward.

I already have a Vox Media account!

Verify Vox Media account

Please login to your Vox Media account. This account will be linked to your previously existing Eater account.

Please choose a new SB Nation username and password

As part of the new SB Nation launch, prior MT authors will need to choose a new username and password.

Your username will be used to login to SB Nation going forward.

Forgot password?

We'll email you a reset link.

If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.

Forgot password?

Try another email?

Almost done,

By becoming a registered user, you are also agreeing to our Terms and confirming that you have read our Privacy Policy.

Join Blazer's Edge

You must be a member of Blazer's Edge to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Blazer's Edge. You should read them.

Join Blazer's Edge

You must be a member of Blazer's Edge to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Blazer's Edge. You should read them.




Choose an available username to complete sign up.

In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.