The NBA season is a little over 25% finished, so it is time for Milap’s 1st quarter MVP rankings. My rankings are based on my scoring system in which players receive points based on how well they do compared to other MVP candidates. The lower the player’s score the better. To qualify as an MVP candidate, players needed to rank within the top 25 in the NBA in value added: http://espn.go.com/nba/hollinger/statistics
Within the rankings, I used over 10 different metrics to assess the players’ performance. Some metrics were traditional such as team record and in game statistics. I also used advanced metrics like player efficiency rating and value added (value added is what I would use as a tie breaker in case players had the same score). Players also received a penalty if they had a teammate in the top 25 in value added.
My rankings have a huge emphasis on production within wins. If a team lives and dies with a player’s production, then I consider them to be more valuable to their team than a player whose volatility does not impact the team as much. This list is how my voting would go if the season ended today. Obviously by midseason, DeMarcus Cousins won’t be on the list because he’ll have missed too many games from injury, and Russell Westbrook + Kevin Durant will eventually be back on.
Without further ado, here are my NBA candidates (Parenthesis stats are: points – rebounds – assists).
1. Anthony Davis (24.3 – 10.2 – 1.6), Score 67: Despite the Pelicans mediocre record, Davis has easily been the league’s MVP. He is a legitimate two-way threat and has elevated his game to new heights. Davis could easily be the league’s best player by year’s end.
2. James Harden (26.4 – 6.2 – 6.5), Score 69: James Harden cannot play well in the postseason to save his life, but during the regular season, there are few players you’d rather have. The Rockets live and die with Harden. He’s done a phenomenal job with Dwight Howard as well.
3. LeBron James (25.5 – 5.5 – 7.6), Score 78: James and the Cavaliers both had a rough start to the season. As soon as LeBron regained form, so did the Cavs who will finish as a top 3 seed in the East because any team with LeBron, Love and Irving should be a top 3 team.
4. Stephen Curry (23.0 – 5.1 – 7.7), Score 81.5: Curry’s been healthy and is having another phenomenal year. His incredible efficiency has helped the Warriors obtain the best record in the NBA. It should not surprise anyone if Curry finishes the year at the top of this list
5. Chris Paul (18.0 – 4.6 – 9.9), Score 86.5: Paul is not surprisingly an annual MVP candidate. The guy is a brilliant floor general who can also create his own shot at will. Will this be the year Paul and the Clippers break out of their 1st/2nd round exiting limbo?
6. Marc Gasol (19.5 – 7.7 – 3.8), Score 88.5: Gasol’s in the midst of the best season of his career and the Grizzlies may be the best team in the NBA. The Grizzlies play a very team-oriented style of basketball and that is the biggest factor that will limit Gasol’s MVP chances. Hooray for the Western Conference Chicago Bulls!
7. DeMarcus Cousins (23.5 – 12.6 – 2.4), Score 95.5: If it wasn’t for his injury, Cousins would be top 3 on this list. The Kings got off to a great start and have gone 2-6 without him. He will probably be off the list once the midseason awards come around, but it was a good run.
8. Chris Bosh (21.6 – 8.2 – 2.1), Score 100: The Miami Heat struggled at the start of the year, but it thankfully won’t hurt them too much because they play in the East. Bosh at times showcases his Toronto form, but needs to do that on a more consistent basis since Wade and Deng continue to have troubles staying healthy.
9. LaMarcus Aldridge (22.3 – 9.9 – 2.1), Score 100.5: Aldridge is on his way to another great year. The Blazers continue to be successful, but Aldridge has been asked to do a little less this year since Lillard has taken on a bigger role. Regardless, few players can take over a game like Aldridge can with his seemingly unstoppable mid-range game.
10. Kyle Lowry (19.7 – 4.7 – 7.5), Score 102: Lowry is one of the most underrated players in the game, and is the biggest reason why the Raptors have the best record in the East. If the Raptors maintain this pace with DeRozan sidelined, Lowry will be much higher on the next list.
Honorable Mentions: Jimmy Butler, Blake Griffin, John Wall, Kyrie Irving, Tyson Chandler