More efficient AND more scoring?

Players' awareness of advanced metrics could impact the MVP race

Updated: February 27, 2014, 12:08 PM ET
By Kevin Pelton | ESPN Insider

James & DurantAP Photo/Sue OgrockiBy adjusted true shooting percentage, Kevin Durant and LeBron James are atop the NBA all-time.

As the NBA's metrics community gathers in Boston for the annual MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conference, starting Friday, the growing impact of analytics on the league can be found in many places. From the number of teams employing analysts to advanced stats on NBA.com, it's hard to miss the influence of analytics. But the most interesting example might be playing out on the court as Kevin Durant and LeBron James battle for MVP.

Wait, the MVP race? While advanced metrics won't necessarily decide the vote, as has been the case with baseball's biggest awards in recent years, there's reason to believe that our newfound understanding of the game has helped lift both players to newfound levels of performance.