My awards ballot for 2013-14
Breaking down selections for MVP, rookie of the year, top coach and more
It's awards season, and with the regular season virtually complete, here are my picks for each of the awards voted on by media as well as those chosen by coaches (All-Defensive Team, All-Rookie Team) and GMs (Executive of the Year).
On a per-minute basis, this race is actually closer statistically than you might think. Durant leads by barely half a point of PER, and the players have identical win percentages (the per-minute component of my wins above replacement player rating, WARP).
However, value encompasses both per-minute performance and minutes played, and Durant's extra 170 minutes help separate him and make him the right choice.
Curry is fourth in WARP, fifth in EWA (the value version of PER), fourth in Win Shares and third in Real Plus-Minus (RPM) WARP. He also plays on a 50-win team, so I find the lack of support for his MVP candidacy a bit mystifying.
Part of that is Curry's reputation as a minus defender, which I don't think is deserved. He's undersized, which presents issues, but he's smart and a factor on the glass and in the passing lanes. The numbers suggest he's about average defensively for a point guard, and given that only Durant and James are better offensively, I think that puts him right behind them in terms of value.
Statistically, Love is third in the league, and closer to Durant and James than the field. However, his value in these systems is tied to Minnesota's impressive plus-2.8 point differential (still the best in NBA history for a lottery team, just ahead of this year's Phoenix Suns) rather than the Wolves' actual 40-win total.
While the difference isn't necessarily Love's fault, as Tom Haberstroh explored earlier this week, it does limit his value and bump him a spot down the ballot.
Over the full season, Griffin's statistical output still lags compared to the top four players, but he's earned the last spot on my ballot with his strong second half and role in the Clippers maintaining their spot among the league's best teams with Chris Paul sidelined for an extended period.
To see the rest of Kevin Pelton's picks and analysis for the major NBA awards, you must be an ESPN Insider.
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