Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Award Tour: 2011 NBA Predictions For Individual Awards

It's time to join the Wages of Wins NBA Stats Smackdown and give my predictions for the individual awards that will be passed out at the end of the 2011 NBA season.  Predictions will come in two flavors -1) who I predict the sportswriters and broadcasters will select for the award and 2) who I predict should win the award if it was based on Wins Produced.

Wins Produced is a statistical model created by Professor David Berri from the Wages of Wins Journal to measure how much a player's boxscore statistics contribute to their team's wins. An average player produces an estimated 0.100 wins per 48 minutes (WP48). More information can be found at the following links:

Predictions for Sportswriters and Broadcasters

Most Valuable Player
1. Kevin Durant - The sportswriters have made it clear since "The Decision," it's open season on LeBron James and as long as it's profitable, they're going to continue spewing hatred because that's what drives America - greed and hatred (just look at the mid-term elections). The sportswriters hate LeBron too much to give him the MVP award this year even though he will make it abundantly clear that he's the most dominant player.  Durant winning this award will be similar to when Michael Jordan won in 1988.  Jordan's individual stats were phenomenal (35 pts, 6 rebs, 6 asts) but his team only won 50 games.  Durant averaged 30 pts, 8 rebs, 3 asts last year and if the summer he had is any indication, then those numbers should only improve.  With my prediction that the Thunder will hover around 50 wins, I see history repeating itself.

2. Kobe Bryant - That's how much they hate LeBron.  There won't be enough decent reporters and analysts voting for LeBron for him to get enough points to finish second in the voting.

3. LeBron James - Ladies and gentleman, first there was Kevin Garnett and then there was Chris Paul. I now present to you the Tragedy of LeBron James.

Rookie of the Year
1. John Wall - Blake Griffin will blow his knee out by the all-star break and Wall will lead all rookies in scoring. ESPN fantasy basketball projects him to average 14.2 points per game, which could be twice the number of wins his team has at the end of the season.

2. Blake Griffin - Sympathy vote.

3. Evan Turner - I picked Turner over DeMarcus Cousins because I think he has a stronger love for the game.  Cousins didn't start playing basketball until 8th grade when he grew too big to play football.  I don't trust players like that. It's not quite like Jerome James, but it's close. And close to Jerome James isn't a place any top rookie should be.

Most Improved Player
1. D.J. Augustin - As the starting PG in Charlotte, Augustin will get plenty of minutes to shoot, shoot and shoot some more.  All that shooting will result in a dramatic increase in his scoring average from 6.3 PPG last season to 16+ PPG this season. A big scoring jump for the starting PG on a fringe playoff team is the same recipe Aaron Brooks used to win it last year. No reason why it won't work again.  Bonus indicator: Augustin is the most added player for the first week of the ESPN fantasy basketball season with a 15% increase in ownership.

2. Michael Beasley - Beasley will get plenty of touches on a bad Timberwolves team that doesn't have any scorers. His scoring average was limited last season because the Heat were trying to win games and Beasley's a bad player. The Timberwolves aren't trying to win games and they embrace bad players (sometimes they even give them $20 million contracts).

3. Linas Kleiza - The Raptors will only do one thing well this season - score. Kleiza learned how to chuck it with the best of them while in Denver.  Those lessons will serve him well in Toronto.

Sixth Man of the Year
1. Manu Ginobili - In hindsight, I don't like this pick so much. I don't think Ginobili is going to lead all reserves in scoring and whoever does that will win this award. It will probably be Crawford that ends up winning again.

2. Jamal Crawford - See above.

3. Jason Terry - Ugh... another bad choice in hindsight. Terry's getting older and is two years removed from when he won the award by averaging 19.6 PPG off the bench.

Predictions for Wins Produced

Most Valuable Player
1. LeBron James - The King is on a mission. I was afraid that his minutes would decrease and thus impact the amount of wins he could produce but the Mike Miller injury took care of that. LeBron will get plenty of time to produce 27+ wins.

2. Chris Paul - CP3 returns to remind the world he's the best PG in the league. Two years ago he led the league with 28 Wins Produced, but I think the injury will slow him down just enough to keep his production below LeBron's.

3. Dwight Howard - I don't see any reason why Howard won't produce his typical 22+ wins.

Rookie of the Year
1. Blake Griffin - Even though I think Griffin will blow his knee out by the all-star break, he'll be so much more productive than the other rookies that they won't catch him even after playing a full season.

2. Evan Turner

3. DeMarcus Cousins - If I thought he cared about the game enough, then I would consider picking him over Griffin. But I can't stop thinking about Jerome James.

Most Improved Player
1. Andris Biedrins - Ugh. Looks like I didn't read the rules of the WoW NBA Smackdown for these picks - the player only qualifies if they play within 750 minutes of the previous season. Biedrins only played 763 minutes last season, but averaged over 1900 minutes the two seasons before that.  Looks like I'm rooting for an injury.  That's fine with me because he's not on my fantasy team anyway.

2. Serge Ibaka - Damn. Another bad pick. ESPN only projects Ibaka to play an extra 400 minutes this season. That would only improve his Wins Produced by 1.5 games. Looks like I'm rooting for injuries to Nick Collison and Nenad Krstic if I want to get this one right.

3. Dejuan Blair - Another weak pick. If Blair gets his minutes up to 2000 for the season, then he could produce an extra three wins. To get more than that, I'd have to root for an injury to Tim Duncan and I like him too much to do that.

Sixth Man of the Year
1. Manu Ginobili - Charles Barkley's favorite player produced 13 wins last season. That sounds like enough to lead the league.

2. Lamar Odom - He actually produced 14 wins off the bench last season but I'm assuming a summer of playing international basketball and a year of marriage to a Kardashian should be enough to slow him down.

3. Udonis Haslem - He was a beast in the pre-season but only produced 7 wins last season.  He'll benefit from playing with Chris Bosh and LeBron James but he just doesn't have enough talent to be more productive than Ginobili or Odom.

Unless referenced otherwise, all stats used in this post were taken from the Wins Produced ViewerWages of Wins website and basketball-reference.com.

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