2011 NBA MVP Power Rankings: LeBron, Love, Pau Gasol, Dwight Howard


Now that he's a top-10 scorer, can Dwight Howard win the MVP Award?This is Behind The Basket’s third look at the 2010-11 MVP race. I’ve included the basic stats for each of the top candidates, plus the efficiency numbers so you can see how well they’re putting those basic numbers together, plus the impact stats so you can see how each is mathematically impacting the success of their clubs in ways that often aren’t picked up in normal stats (like defense). I’m specifically looking for candidates who excel in all three areas so we can rest assured that their positive stats are accurately correlating with positive value. I’ve used the efficiency and impact stats before on several occasions, but if you have questions, please just ask or check this site which explains a lot of them

Dwight Howard, Orlando Magic

Basic Stats: 23 ppg, 14 rpg (4.0 offensive), 2.3 blocks, 11.5 free throw attempts, 60% FG
Efficiency Stats
: 59% eFG%, 62% True Shooting %, 22% Rebound%, 4.8 Block%
Impact Stats
: 92% PythWin% (113-95 ORtg-DRtg), +12.98 APM, 19.1 Wins Produced (.397 WP48), 11.4 Win Shares

No one should be too surprised that his collection of numbers comes out at the top of the heap because he’s unquestionably the hardest player to gameplan for when you look at both his offensive and defensive contributions. He’s a dominant defensive player who covers up anything that gets into the paint, and the Magic’s entire offense is predicated on no one being able to guard him, so he can either score, get to the line, or get double-teamed and open up a perimeter shooter. With more touches this year, his scoring has jumped into the top-10, even though he shoots less shots than everyone in the top-20.

Chris Paul, New Orleans Hornets

Basic Stats: 16 ppg, 10 apg (2.3 turnovers), 2.4 steals, 47% FG, 42% 3FG, 89% FT
Efficiency Stats
: 51% eFG%, 59% True Shooting %, 46% Assist%, 3.6 Steals%
Impact Stats
: 94% PythWin% (123-101 ORtg-DRtg), +13.17 APM, 17.1 Wins Produced (.352 WP48), 11.9 Win Shares

Paul arguably has slightly better overall numbers than Howard, but he’s missing some time with a concussion, and there are too many games of his that you just feel he could have helped New Orleans more by shooting more. Other than that, he’s an absolute nightmare to stop on offense, and his defense is top-notch. He has a team without much individual talent floating around the #5 spot in the West all year, but his concussion could knock them out of the playoffs altogether.

LeBron James, Miami Heat

Basic Stats: 26 ppg, 8 rpg (1.0 offensive), 7 apg (3.6 turnovers), 1.5 steals, 50% FG, 34% 3FG
Efficiency Stats
: 53% eFG%, 59% True Shooting %, 36% Assist%, 11% Rebound%
Impact Stats
: 84% PythWin% (115-102 ORtg-DRtg), +9.93 APM, 17.6 Wins Produced (.354 WP48), 11.6 Win Shares

We all know what he’s capable of, and all of the numbers (including impact) reflect that, so it’s not that hard to imagine James winning his third MVP trophy in a row. If the Heat quit losing and win 2 of their final 3 marquee match-ups (LAL tonight, SA next Monday, Bos on April 10), he could do it. Part of the problem, though, is that he likes to let the offense stop with him, overdribbling, shooting dumb shots, and trying to be more of a hero than a winner. Believe it or not, he’s just not getting the most out of his potential right now, yet he’s right in the thick of this discussion.

Pau Gasol, Los Angeles Lakers

Basic Stats: 19 ppg, 11 rpg (3.4 offensive), 1.7 blocks, 3.6 apg (1.8 turnovers), 53% FG, 83% FT
Efficiency Stats
: 53% eFG%, 59% True Shooting %, 16% Rebound%, 3.4 Block%
Impact Stats
: 93% PythWin% (124-103 ORtg-DRtg), +8.67 APM, 14.3 Wins Produced (.285 WP48), 11.9 Win Shares

As the year goes on and the Lakers evolve, particularly with the recent emergence of Andrew Bynum, Gasol’s place in the MVP discussion has disappeared. But you should know that his impact stats have all remained really high and continue to crush those of his teammates (overall). I’m not sure fans understand how valuable he is to the Lakers by being good at everything.

Kevin Love, Minnesota Timberwolves

Basic Stats: 21 ppg, 16 rpg (4.7 offensive), 2.5 apg (2.2 turnovers), 47% FG, 42% 3FG, 85% FT
Efficiency Stats
: 52% eFG%, 60% True Shooting %, 24% Rebound%
Impact Stats
: 89% PythWin% (124-107 ORtg-DRtg), +1.78 APM, 24.0 Wins Produced (.479 WP48), 11.1 Win Shares

His team sucks, so there’s no way he can win it, but many of his impact stats are absolutely dominant.

Derrick Rose, Chicago Bulls

Basic Stats: 25 ppg, 8 apg (3.5 turnovers), 1.1 steals, 44% FG, 34% 3FG, 84% FT
Efficiency Stats
: 48% eFG%, 54% True Shooting %, 41% Assist%
Impact Stats
: 74% PythWin% (110-102 ORtg-DRtg), +9.63 APM, 8.9 Wins Produced (.298 WP48), 9.2 Win Shares

Rose has gotten a lot of credit for the Bulls’ emergence at the top of the East, but I’m leaning a little more toward Tom Thibodeau’s defense (1st in the NBA) and Chicago’s key offseason pick-ups. No doubt Rose has improved some parts of his game, but his shooting percentages, turnover totals, and defensive consistency are still not what you’d expect from an MVP point guard.

Dirk Nowitzki, Dallas Mavericks

Basic Stats: 23 ppg, 7 rpg (0.5 offensive), 2.5 apg (1.9 turnovers), 53% FG, 43% 3FG, 88% FT
Efficiency Stats
: 56% eFG%, 63% True Shooting %, 11% Rebound%
Impact Stats
: 85% PythWin% (119-105 ORtg-DRtg), +13.12 APM, 7.1 Wins Produced (.182 WP48), 8.5 Win Shares

Forget about his numbers, which are good, for a minute. Dallas went 2-7 while he was out, plus only 1-3 while he was still trying to play himself into shape, and is 43-8 with the real him. And their only 3 losses since his return were all by 1 point and all came in the closing seconds of the contest. Looking at how the team performs with and without him might be enough to get him in the top-3 of this discussion at the end of the year.


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