New stats, new picks

Improved metrics reveal voting oddities in recent MVP awards

Updated: April 13, 2009, 10:48 AM ET
By Eric Neel |

When our man John Hollinger introduced his Value Added and Estimated Wins Added metrics recently, he not only provided a sharp look at the 2008-09 MVP race (LeBron James should win the award, Dwyane Wade is a closer second than you'd think, and both Chris Paul and Dwight Howard come in before Kobe Bryant), he also gave us a way to look back on recent MVP votes with a more discerning eye.

Steve Nash
Lisa Blumenfeld/Getty ImagesDid Steve Nash deserve his two MVP trophies? The numbers say no.

EWA is a measure of the number of victories a player contributes to a team's overall record, relative to the number of games that team would be expected to win if the player were replaced by a league-average performer. In other words, it tells us, in a nice round number, precisely how grateful Mike Brown and Dan Gilbert should be for the gift of LeBron (30.8 Estimated Wins Added). And it also provides a better understanding of just how good a job the voters did in selecting the past five MVPs.

2003-2004 MVP

(Players are listed in voting order, followed by their EWA.)
Kevin Garnett 28.90
Tim Duncan 20.79
Jermaine O'Neal 14.70
Peja Stojakovic 18.28
Kobe Bryant 16.03

Eric Neel | email

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Eric Neel is a senior writer for and ESPN The Magazine.