Archive for the ‘Basketball’ Category

OT in the League: And the Award Goes To…

April 25, 2008

It’s playoff time here at Awesomo, so we are going to kick up the intensity. We only know 1 guy that really likes the NBA, and it turns out he can write, and make pretty tables and stuff. So we let him throw together a post. Check it ooouuuttt…

Defensive Player of the Year: Kevin Garnett, PF – Boston Celtics. It’s hard to dispute this decision by the NBA, given the monumental turnaround of the Boston Celtics, who went from a 24-58 lottery team to 66-16 title contender. One of the greatest reasons for this turnaround is the defensive play of the Celtics, who gave up the fewest points in the league (granted Detroit gives up .2 fewer points per game, but that doesn’t matter for this post). Any Celtic will tell you that the main reason for this increase in defensive intensity is Kevin Garnett. Before further commentary, let’s look at some numbers.

Player

Rebounds

Blocks

Steals

Dwight Howard

14.2

2.1

0.90

Marcus Camby

13.1

3.6

1.06

Kevin Garnett

9.2

1.3

1.41

 
It should be noted that we hear at Awesomo like to see a big guy get this award. That doesn’t mean there may not be a better defensive player out there. One could argue Chris Paul, Bruce Bowen, and Shane Battier all play impressive defense, but then it would be too difficult to choose. Based on the numbers above, one could argue Marcus Camby (sorry Superman), the reigning Defensive POY, deserved the nod again. Problem is, he plays on one of the worst defensive teams in the league. Yes, one might wonder where would the Nuggets be without his presence, but several factors favor Garnett getting this award. The first is impressive numbers, as seen above (Garnett ranks in the top 10 in rebounds and the top 25 in both blocks and steals). Couple this with Garnett leading perhaps the best defensive team in the land, and one can understand why he got the award. Case in point: last night against the Hawks, deep in the fourth quarter, with the Celtics holding a 20-point lead, Garnett refused to give up the lane, changing shots and covering for teammates whenever possible. He brought that intensity all year and was rewarded the other night. Congratulations KG.

Most Valuable Player: And the award should go to…Kobe Bryant, SG – Los Angeles Lakers. This is a tough decision, considering the play of Chris Paul (Sorry Lebron, you certainly deserve to be in this conversation, but you would’ve been eliminated with the 5 criteria below). Let’s look at the numbers.

Player

Min

FG %

3-P FG %

Pts

Reb

Assists

Stl

Bryant

38.9

45.9

36.1

28.3

6.3

5.4

1.84

Paul

37.6

48.8

36.9

21.1

4.0

11.6

2.7

 
It would be hard to say, based on these numbers, that one guy clearly deserves the award over the other. For example, Chris Paul gets more assists and steals, but Kobe gets more points and rebounds. Even their free-throw percentage is about the same (Kobe 84%, Paul 85.1). However, there are several reasons why Kobe deserves the award, none of which include the lifetime achievement rationale.

1) Kobe Bryant led the Lakers to the best record in that gauntlet called the Western Conference. The Hornets may have finished one game back, but the Lakers won it nonetheless.
2) Bryant played team ball this season, navigating both his role as a superstar who can go off for 50 points with his desire to make other players better (this rationale has been used in the past to justify Kobe not getting the award). He accepted and utilized the deep Lakers bench.
3) Kobe had to play a large part of the season without the contributions of both Andrew Bynum and Pau Gasol. Furthermore, the Lakers were beset by a number of injuries this year in addition to these two players; the Hornets, on the other hand, were primarily healthy throughout the course of the season.
4) Kobe himself was and continues to be injured with a torn tendon in his pinky finger on his shooting hand. At the time, it was stated from a medical standpoint the decision was clear: get surgery=season over. Problem is, Kobe kept playing, and played well with an injury that shelves almost everybody else.
5) Who do you want to have the ball with the game on the line?

With the race for MVP so close, these 5 criteria separate Kobe from Chris Paul and ultimately give him the nod for MVP. We’ll see what the League says.