Normally the “Win Contribution” All-NBA 1st team falls in line with conventional wisdom. This season it did not.
First off, the team is chosen strictly by position, with position being determined according to the observations made by the people working for 82games. Thus the NBA’s MVP, LeBron James, did not make the Win Contribution 1st Team, as he was edged out by Kevin Durant, a player playing the same position. Had I gone strictly by Win Contribution Index, LeBron would have made the team, but the team would have been without a shooting guard. That’s not really a team.
Second, there are two players on the team who should shock you. The first is PF Marcus Camby, whose value as a superstar role player is so overlooked he’s basically been traded around the Association like he was Primo Brezec. The second is PG Jason Kidd, who somehow went from All-Star to overlooked in a matter of just a few seasons. I’m not certain how that happened, but its a mistaken perception.
Both Kidd and Camby had spectacularly productive seasons for their respective teams in 2009-10. Neither is much respected because neither can create his own shot. For some reason that skill is considered a necessity for superstar status, though it does not translate necessarily into wins produced.
The other three players on the team won’t shock anyone (unless you consider the Durant over James something more than “surprising”).
Kevin Durant has really turned it on the last two seasons. His rookie season he was horrible, making my “20 Most Harmful” list. I believe that is because he was misused, playing most of his minutes at shooting guard, a spot that completely nullifies his natural advantages and accentuates his weaknesses.
Since being moved to the “3.0” position, he’s been highly productive. In 2009-10 he created a huge marginal advantage for himself through his efficient scoring. Over 48 minutes of action, Durant created a +6.5 scoring advantage for himself. Meaning if Durant and the player playing opposite him used the same number of possessions, Durant would produce 6.5 more points. That’s an amazing display of scoring effectiveness.
The other two players on the All-NBA team are mainstays, Dwight Howard and Dwyane Wade. By my numbers, Howard was this season’s MVP, though I have not found any other metric that agrees with me.
Here is how Howard created his value. Howard held an “effective scoring” advantage over his opponent centers of +4.1 points per 48 minutes. He held a rebounding advantage per 48 of +6.2. He held a shotblocking advantage of +2.2. His assists were about even, and he drew +4.0 more fouls per 48 than he committed. All of these numbers add up to tremendous win production in my mind.