Sports

Most Valuable Laker? Might Not be Kobe Bryant

| by David Berri

Such is the argument offered by David Biderman in the Thursday edition of the Wall Street Journal.  The argument depends a great deal on Wins Produced. More specifically, it depends on the Wins Produced playoff numbers provided by Andres Alvarez

Although Wins Produced consistently indicates Kobe is not the top player on the Lakers in the regular season, one suspects this argument – despite the latest in the Wall Street Journal – is not going to be accepted by many NBA fans.

Last night Kobe led the Lakers with 29 points. But he attempted 29 field goals to achieve this point total (and missed 19 of these). It seems fairly obvious that a player who is not shooting efficiently is not helping much. But in the NBA, this observation is missed. The discussion of the game at ESPN.com listed Kobe as “the top performer” on the Lakers. 

Once again, wins in the NBA are determined by shooting efficiency, rebounds, and turnovers.  This should be obvious to any NBA fan. Teams win when they take the ball from their opponent (before the opponent scores), avoid giving the ball to their opponent (before the team scored), and convert their possessions into points.

This is an argument made in The Wages of Wins. It is essentially the argument Dean Oliver offers in Basketball on Paper. Yet, scoring totals persistently dominate the evaluation of NBA players.  And such totals can be manipulated by just taking more and more shots (as every scorer in the NBA must realize).    

Okay, enough on Kobe. The next post will barely mention Mr. Bryant (I think).