19 April 2016

NBA awards season

I have to confess a considerable amount of confusion at one award in particular (so far): 6th man.

For some reason it went to Jamal Crawford. This was a defensible (if flawed) pick two years ago. It is insane this season. He's no higher than 20th in any metric of analysis for overall quality of a bench player in the entire league, not even close to what should be given consideration as an award. He's a respectable volume scorer who doesn't play defense.

Examining the options for how this happened:

1) Voters pick someone who scores a lot off the bench. Will Barton scored more (and got rebounds and steals) and shot more effectively to score that much. Ryan Anderson scored more in fewer games. So there are better options available as "player who scores points off bench".

2) Voters pick someone "who scores a lot off the bench for a good team". Assuming that Denver and New Orleans had their bench players excluded because their teams were awful this season, that then leaves playoff quality reserve players. Which then means Enos Kanter is an option from Oklahoma City. And a superior one, well to Crawford at any rate. Since he actually gets rebounds alongside scoring points, and he shoots at a far more effective clip (as one should expect closer to the basket). He still fulfills the "doesn't play defense" requirement to boot. Kanter finished third in the vote, suggesting voters were aware of his existence as a suitable alternative.

3) Voters ignore someone who doesn't score. Tristan Thompson appears to have had the best season off the bench (he started a chunk of games but came off the bench for a majority). This is because he's a rebounding machine and a monster on the offensive glass. But he does not score points himself at a noticeable rate. Ed Davis on Portland seems to have suffered the same fate. This theory does not work because Iguodala finished second in the vote. And he doesn't score either. He's mainly a glue guy/defensive stopper in his role on the Warriors now.

4) Nobody really stood out so voters simply picked whoever's name was familiar and readily at hand and appeared to have a decent season (on a good team).

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