I believe that as of this weekend every NBA team has played at least 41 games, meaning we’ve hit the middle of the season. As such, I thought I should take a look at my predictions for Dre’s NBA Stat Smackdown. I’ll start with my picks for the various awards, then move on to how the season win projections are doing.
Most improved: I went with Robin Lopez to win the media award and Kevin Love to win the Wins Produced award. Lopez has been hurt for part of the season and the Suns haven’t been doing as well as I had hoped, so I don’t think this one is going to pan out. Kevin Love has been a WP beast this year; he currently leads the league in adjusted P48, WP48 (behind Peja, who only has 23 minutes played this season and so doesn’t really count), and total wins produced. He’s also played 1586 minutes in 43 games, meaning that if he plays all 82 games this year he’ll end up at about 3000 on the season. The criteria for getting the pick correct is wins produced and playing within 750 minutes of last year’s minutes, which was 1714 for Love. So I’m probably going to miss out on that one because Love will play too much. Doesn’t look good so far.
MVP: Dwayne Wade for media, LeBron for WP. I don’t really know how the media are leaning this year. LeBron has underperformed a bit and so I don’t think he’ll get it again; I was hoping that meant it would go to Wade (along with a little LeBron backlash and the Heat tearing it up). However, Wade has also been banged up and underperformed so far, and the Heat aren’t crushing it as a team well enough to get someone pushed through. The buzz right now is for Derrick Rose, who is playing much better but is not an MVP in my opinion. Using the usual rule of ‘best player on best team’ I would probably go with Rajon Rondo. There isn’t one super-important guy on the Spurs and Boston is the next best team; Rondo makes them go. If the Lakers make a run and Kobe gets it I might have to keep a barf bag on hand for the playoffs. In terms of WP the criteria is total wins produced, which I just said Kevin Love is crushing. LeBron is third though, so if he can get his productivity up a bit and perhaps play more minutes than Love the rest of the way he can pass him (and Chris Paul). Sadly, pretty much everyone took LeBron, so I can’t gain any points on the pack here. I can lose them to Dre if Dwight Howard passes LeBron though, and he’s only back a tenth of a win.
ROY: I took Blake Griffin for both the media and WP awards. I think he’s a lock for the media award; I don’t know who else could claim it. The Clippers are playing somewhat respectably and he’s in the highlights every night. He’s also a win and a half above Landry Fields right now, so he should take the WP title as well. Unfortunately, he was also a popular pick.
Sixth man: I took Marcus Thornton and Lamar Odom after some last-minute switching. You have to start 60% or fewer of your games to qualify for the WP side of things. Thornton is a no-go here; he’s sucked (actually WP says he’s been ok, but he’s only getting 15 minutes a night and putting up a 7-3-1; not exactly eye-grabbing). Odom has already started 31 games, which means he could start another 18 if he appears in every game and still qualify. The other main contender in terms of the picks is Ginobili, who’s started every game this year, so I think he’s out. Odom has a solid 9 wins produced this year, so I think he’s in good shape to win it. This is about the only place I can pick up some points on more than one or two of the other guys so far.
Team victories: Arturo has a post up with predictions for the rest of the season; let’s just assume they’re correct. I get two points if a team is in the right seed position and one point if one off; I also get four points for getting a record exactly right, two for being within two wins, and one point for being within four. In terms of win predictions, I would have 19 points right now, which doesn’t sound very good. I would also get 11 points for the seeding picks, which sounds low to me. I’m not going to figure out everyone else’s points right now (maybe they’ll do their own midway checks?), but I’m going to guess that 30 points won’t get it done.
So, adding it up: 30 points for team records, 3 points for Griffin media ROY (and maybe a pity point for Wade media MVP?), and 6 points for WP Griffin ROY and Odom 6th Man (with max 2 and more likely 1 point for LeBron MVP). That adds up to, optimistically, 40 points. Hopefully I’ll do better with TrueHoop’s playoff pick smackdown. At least there I get to use my own model.