1st Quarter MVPs of the 2014-2015 NBA Season

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

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3 Responses to 1st Quarter MVPs of the 2014-2015 NBA Season

  1. Aramis Penland says:

    Really nice job with the list. Always fun to look at these things. Just wanted to provide a few of my comments:

    1) Anthony Davis – Definitely a top 5 MVP candidate this year, but you have to lead your team to wins in this league to win the award. If Unibrow did not have any type of supporting cast, then this could potentially be disregarded, but Jrue, Tyreke, Andersen, and Asik are all above-average talent. When Jrue and Tyreke are being entrusted to take clutch shots in the final 3 minutes instead of Davis, it also shows that Davis’ shot creation ability is not at an elite level yet. Also, Davis’ “free safety” skills are elite in terms of blocks and steals, but his on-ball defense has not looked elite against the best offensive power forwards (see highlights of his match-up with Blake Griffin earlier this year).

    On a side note, we need to be careful about claiming someone could be the “league’s best player” when they have not performed in the playoffs. History has shown us plenty of stat-stuffers on mediocre teams who don’t put up the same numbers once they play for contenders (see Kevin Love last year versus this year) or who are ultimately faulted in the eyes of history because they couldn’t come up big when it matters most (see Clyde Drexler and Karl Malone). No matter what his stats are, Davis cannot surpass Lebron and KD as the league’s best player (or Russ or Curry or CP3) until he proves himself in the playoffs.

    2) Russell Westbrook – Speaking of Russ, even after only 11 games played this year, he needs to vault into this conversation, and be near the top of it. OKC is 8-1 since his return and his per 36 minute stats are 32ppg, 8.3ass, 7.1reb, 2.3stl on 49.5% shooting. Those are Lebron/Jordan level statistics and cannot be ignored. He has somehow elevated his monster postseason play and is playing angry on every play (watch his game highlights for great entertainment). He is also perhaps the best on-ball defensive guard in the league. Also, while PER is an atrociously bad advanced stat, Russ’ PER this year is the highest in NBA history.

    3) Chris Bosh – Miami’s play has been too poor for him to be on this list. Also, in watching Miami games, its debatable if he is better than DWade this year.

    4) Tyson Chandler – Lets not confuse role players for superstars. There is no question that he is valuable in what he contributes in terms of defense and rebounding (and I would definitely want him on my team), but players like Chandler could never lead teams on their own.

    My current list: 1) Curry 2) Harden 3) Westbrook – if he keeps playing like this for 5-10 more games, he should be at the top 4) Lebron 5) Davis.

    • Thank you very much for your feedback and for reading the article.

      I agree that Anthony Davis isn’t playing with nobodies, but his supporting cast is nowhere near what the other MVP candidates have. I’m sure that Davis would swap his team for LeBron, Curry, Harden, CP3, and other candidates in a heartbeat.

      Russell cracked the top 25 on Hollinger’s value added list so he will definitely be on my midseason MVP rank.

      Thanks again for your time.

  2. Pingback: 3rd Quarter MVP of 2014-2015 NBA Season | thesportsstorm

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