The MVP Race so far: The King and I

Grady Fuson: Artie, who do you like?
Scout Artie: I like Perez. He’s got a classy swing, it’s a real clean stroke.
Scout Barry: He can’t hit the curve ball.
Scout Artie: Yeah, there’s some work to be done, I’ll admit that.
Scout Barry: Yeah, there is.
Scout Artie: But he’s noticeable.
Matt Keough: And an ugly girlfriend.
Scout Barry: What does that mean?
Matt Keough: Ugly girl friend means no confidence.
Scout Barry: Okay.
John Poloni: Oh, now, you guys are full of it, Artie’s right. This guy’s got an attitude and an attitude is good. I mean it’s the kind of guy who walks into a room his dick has already been there for two minutes.
Scout Pote: He passes the eye candy test. He’s got the looks, he’s great at playing the part. He just needs to get some playing time.
Matt Keough: I’m just saying his girlfriend is a six at best.

– Moneyball
Perhaps , my favorite scene in the movie Moneyball illustrates beautifully the ignorance of the select group of people (scouts) who are supposed to be in the know. This is a recurring theme in sports and in life: years of experience and know how boil down to how we focus on our feelings and our gut. We miss the truth that is right in front of us because we rely on fallible perceptions.

This leads to the kind of inefficient marketplaces for talent that Billy Beane and the Oakland A’s managed to exploit, at least for a while, thru the judicious use of math and economics.

Perhaps my favorite case in point is the NBA MVP race (which long time readers may note is a particular obsession of mine). I’m impatient as ever to get started so let’s make it short and sweet.
A picture is worth a thousands words no? That is a Word cloud illustrating the top 6 players in terms of minutes played for each team. Each player is colored using his teams colors and each player is sized based on the Wins Produced (all numbers from NBA Geek)  for his team per game played. So my MVP evaluation takes into account production and playing time to ascertain who is truly the Most Valuable.

A Familiar Face at the top

Unsurprisingly, Lebron sits on the throne. In fact the top 5 for this year so far (Lebron,Chandler, Paul,Love and Howard) features only one new face in Mr. Chandler. Howard has dropped from his lofty perch at the end of last season but there may be extenuating circumstances.

Ships passing in the night?

Still here? I gave you a neat infograph, some nice pictures and a straight forward conclusion. Seems like more than enough to me. Do you expect me to give you a table illustrating the top 6 for each team?

Oh, all right.


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