Sometimes the best way to make a point is to add colorful shapes and numbers. Below are a handful of arguments that should be considered settled from now on.
Fig.1 – LeBron James’ passing ability is unreal for his height.
Of the top 20 assist-leaders in the game, James is the only “forward-sized” player on the list. If it weren’t for Jason Kidd, James would be the only player 6-foot-3 or taller to be on this list.
Fig.2 – It’s weird if Kevin Love is on the court and he doesn’t grab a rebound.
Think about what this means. For every single rebound available – both on the offensive glass and defensive glass – Love is going to grab one of every five. One. In every five. He plays 37 minutes a game. Unreal.
Fig. 3 – Stop telling me Landry Fields would be this year’s Rookie of the Year if it weren’t for Blake Griffin.
Look at this graph. This measures the Game Scores of both Landry Fields and John Wall through the first 58 games of the season. When Wall is healthy, he absolutely canvasses Fields. Four of the five best games of the season belong to Wall along with 17 of the top 25. The only two arguments you can give me is that Fields has played every game of the season so far as Wall has missed a dozen. That’s true. You’re not lying, but look at the chart once Wall was healthy. From games 30 through 58, Fields has had five better games than Wall. Five. That’s 18 percent of those games. If the dozen games that Wall missed is enough to deny that he has been better than Fields, then why aren’t 23-out-of-28 games enough to settle that Wall has played better than Fields? You could also tell me that Wall doesn’t make the players around him better, and that – according to both team’s records – Landry does. I can’t deny that Wall is on an awful team, but I will argue that JaVale McGee, Nick Young, Al Thornton, Cartier Martin and Trevor Booker are all having their best statistical NBA season. Yeah, but those guys blow. Exactly. You know who doesn’t blow? Amar’e Stoudemire.
Fig. 4 – No more calling Steve Nash old.
And if you do, you’d better call the rest of the Suns terrible, because that’s what they’d be if Nash wasn’t distributing more than half of the team’s total assists this season.
Fig. 4 – If your fantasy basketball team just had guys named Kevin, you’re probably in first place.
Among the 20 most efficient players in the NBA (a good metric for calculating total worth), 17 guys are not named Kevin. You’d have to roster Garnett and Seraphin, which would just be a weird fantasy team, but still … it would be in first place.
Fig. 5 – … Unless someone figures out how to quantify “Gives A Damn” and creates a stat for it.
Go back into this blog’s archives, searching my LeBron posts if you want to know how I feel about the guy. I don’t like telling you that he’s outplaying Rose. But he is. He just is. I know that Rose has carried the Bulls all season without ever having a healthy roster and I know James has Bosh and Wade, but that helps James’ cause, not hurt it. Rose doesn’t have to share with the same firepower James does. And while the Bulls have a surprising third-best Eastern Conference record, the Heat have the second-best. This is a close race, but the closer you look, the clearer it is that the applause shouldn’t come from Rose surpassing James, just closing the gap a bunch.
I don’t take a moral high ground with MVP awards. The Most Valuable Player should go to the best player. LeBron James is the best player in the league (dammit). He could be much, much better. Rose might not be able to be much, much better. I will say this though, Rose hit less than 0.5 threes per game last season. This year, he’s sinking 1.5. Like runaway robots in sci-fi horror movies, it’s …. learning. Also, Rose and James averages the same amount of blocked shots each game (0.6). James is five inches taller than Rose. That’s about as close as I can get to proving that James doesn’t play nearly as hard as Rose. Watch the two of them. It’s not even close. I’d give the MVP to James, but the Bulls are 2-0 against the Heat this season, which might prove to garner Rose much bigger accolades down the road.
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