The NBA regular season has concluded, so below are the results what PPA and my best efforts at an objective methodology say are deserving award recipients.
But, before I delve in too deep, I first want to talk about what Lebron James did this season. And has been doing throughout his career.
Lebron arrived in the NBA as probably the most hyped player in existence. His production has arguably surpassed that hype. While it's regarded as blasphemy by most to suggest that anyone other than Michael Jordan is the Greatest of All Time, Lebron makes a pretty strong case.
Here are the top 10 seasons in PPA since my database begins (1977-78 season -- more seasons will be added as I get time over the summer).
Lebron James, MIA, 2012-13 -- 282
Lebron James, CLE, 2008-08 -- 275
Michael Jordan, CHI, 1990-91 -- 268
Lebron James, CLE, 2009-10 -- 267
Kevin Garnett, MIN, 2003-04 -- 266
Lebron James, MIA, 2011-12 -- 265
Shaquille O'Neal, LAL, 1999-00 -- 264
David Robinson, SAS, 1995-96 -- 263
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, LAL, 1977-78 -- 262
Chris Paul, NOH, 2008-09 -- 261
For non-regular readers, PPA is the acronym for Player Production Average, an overall stat measure I devised that credits players for things they do that help a team win and debits them for things that don't -- each in proper proportion. PPA is a per minute measure that is adjusted for pace, accounts for defense, and includes a "degree of difficulty" factor based on the level of competition a player faces while on the floor.
Note that the "degree of difficulty" factor beyond the 1981-82 season because the necessary data isn't available to make the calculation.
PPA is a measure of relative dominance. Each player's performance is measured against the competition he faced in his league during that season. I won't quibble overmuch with folks who want to argue that Jordan is better than Lebron because the overall level of competition was tougher in Jordan's day because it's not provable one way or the other. What PPA shows is that Lebron has dominated the competition he's faced at a level that's a bit greater than Jordan dominated the competition he faced.
Also sorta interesting -- as I've standardized pace to 100 possessions per 48 minutes, I've found remarkable statistical consistency league-wide through the years. But, I digress. To the awards.
Most Valuable Player
Lebron James, MIA -- 282
Chris Paul, LAC -- 251
Kevin Durant, OKC -- 237
Tim Duncan, SAS -- 215
Tony Parker, SAS -- 187
Note that Anderson Varejao had a PPA of 200, but played just 25 games.
Rookie of the Year
Anthony Davis -- 178
Andre Drummond -- 154
Jonas Valanciunas -- 114
Damian Lillard -- 108
Michael Kidd-Gilchrist -- 100
Minimum of 1,000 total minutes.
6th Man of the Year
Andre Drummond -- 154
Brandan Wright -- 147
Amir Johnson -- 128
Andray Blatche -- 125
Ryan Anderson -- 123
These are the top PPA scores for players who started less than half their games this season. Minimum of 1,000 minutes played. By now, Wizards fans know Blatche had the best season of his career in Brooklyn.
Honestly, this has always been a weird award to me. Best player who comes off the bench. Yay.