The NBA has handed out its post-season awards. What follows is a review of the MVP, Rookie of the Year, and All-NBA teams. Who would the winners be if the media only looked at the stats, and of course, considered how the stats linked to team wins?
Most Valuable Player: Kevin Garnett (26.5 Wins Produced)
The media’s choice was Steve Nash, who produced 18.6 wins.
Rookie of the Year: Chris Paul (18.0 Wins Produced)
Paul was easily the most productive rookie and as noted below, should have received more consideration for placement on one of the All-NBA teams.
All-NBA First Team:
Center – Ben Wallace (20.1 Wins Produced)
Forwards – Kevin Garnett (26.5 Wins Produced), Shawn Marion (22.6 Wins Produced)
Guards – Jason Kidd (23.7 Wins Produced), Steve Nash (18.6 Wins Produced)
The media named Nash to the First Team, Wallace to the Second Team, and Marion to the Third Team. Garnett just missed being named to the All-NBA Third Team while Kidd finished 21st in overall voting.
All-NBA Second Team:
Center – Marcus Camby (13.7 Wins Produced)
Forwards – LeBron James (20.4 Wins Produced), Dirk Nowitzki (18.0 Wins Produced)
Guards – Dwyane Wade (18.2 Wins Produced), Chris Paul (18.0 Wins Produced)
The media named LeBron and Nowitzki to the All-NBA First Team. LeBron was the most productive small forward. Wade was named to the All-NBA Second Team. Chris Paul only received one vote for placement on the Third Team while Camby was not named on any ballots.
All-NBA Third Team:
Center – Yao Ming (11.4 Wins Produced)
Forwards – Elton Brand (17.7 Wins Produced), Dwight Howard (17.6 Wins Produced)
Guards – Paul Pierce (17.3 Wins Produced), Chauncey Billups (16.3 Wins Produced)
The media named Brand and Billups to the Second Team and Ming to the Third Team. Pierce and Howard finished 20th and 22nd in overall voting.
Who is left out from the media’s selections?
On the media's first team neither Kobe Bryant nor Shaquille O’Neal produced enough wins to be placed on any team. Bryant did produce 14.3 wins, so he was the next most productive guard after Chauncey Billups. Shaquille O’Neal produced 8.5 wins. Had he played an entire season – which he did not – he would have produced enough to be named to the Second or Third Team. But Shaq only played 59 games, so his Wins Production was down this year. You have to be on the court to win games. When Shaq is there, he was very good – which is of course not unusual. This year, though, he was not there enough.
On the second team the media chose Tim Duncan (16.9 Wins Produced). Duncan finished just behind Howard in overall wins production, and on a per-minute produced more than both Howard and Brand. So one could easily argue in favor of the media’s choice of Duncan.
On the third team the media made the most questionable choices. Carmelo Anthony (4.8 Wins Produced), Allen Iverson (8.2 Wins Produced), and Gilbert Arenas (11.1 Wins Produced) were all named to the Third Team by the media. Arenas is the easiest to defend. Although he did league the lead in turnovers, the positive actions he took on the court allowed him to rank fifth in Wins Production among all point guards. Iverson produced 8.2 wins and on a per-minute basis had an above average season. This would mean that he was “good” this past season, although not among the very best guards in the league.
And then there is Carmelo Anthony. Carmelo offers the type of production that we noted in the book and previously in this forum. Carmelo is a scorer, but not much else. He averaged 26.5 points per game, which is good. He went to the free throw line often and converted more than 80% of these shots. That is also good. From two-point range he made 51% of his shots. Again, that is good. From three point range he took 152 shots and made 37. That is a conversion rate of 24%. That would not be good. Given this performance from beyond the arc it is not clear why Anthony took nearly two such shots from three-point range per game. But he did and that lowers his value. When you factor in his three point shooting, Anthony’s points per field goal attempt was close to the league average. In other words, he accumulated high scoring totals but this is not because he offered high levels of shooting efficiency.
Beyond scoring, it is not clear what Anthony offers. As a small forward, on a per-minute basis, he was a bit below average in rebounding. He was about average in steals, assists, and blocks. With respect to turnovers, he was above average. Put it all together and what do you have? Carmelo is not LeBron James or Dwyane Wade, the two players he is often compared to from his draft class. James and Wade offer a team more than just scoring. Beyond scoring there was no other area that Anthony excelled. And as a scorer, he had one deficiency that reduced his effectiveness. Consequently, Carmelo did not offer many wins this past season.
Now does this mean Carmelo will never be a great player? No, it is merely an assessment of what he did in 2005-06, which actually was an improvement over what he did in 2004-05. Perhaps Carmelo will either learn to hit three point shots more consistently or stop taking so many shots from beyond the arc. Perhaps he will improve as a rebounder and cut down on his turnovers. Then again, perhaps not. Given what he did in 2005-06, though, it is not clear how his performance could be labeled All-NBA.