Dwight Howard reigned supreme in 2007-08
One of the statistics I like to feature on this blog is what I call "Win Contribution". I like to think its somewhat the equivalent of Baseball Prospectus' "Value over Replacement Player".
What is "Win Contribution"? I use Professor Berri's "Win Score" (a metric which weights each player's statistical production according to how each statistic correlates with NBA wins produced) and the player's percentage of overall playing time to produce a decimal number that expresses the relative impact the player made on his team's success as compared to the impact one would expect the average NBA player to make in the same number of minutes. The decimal number used to express the average NBA player's Win Contribution is +0.000 (because his Combined Offensive and Defensive Win Scores would be right at his positional average per 48 minutes. A team of average players would produce a 41-41 record).
Therefore, every percentage point above +0.000 is evidence of a player's "Win Contribution," or the extent to which he has made his team a "winning team" (a +0.500 team) and every percentage point below is the exact opposite.
Keep in mind this statistic weighs both "productivity against the average" and "overall playing time". Thus, Kevin Garnett, whose combined statistical numbers are superior, is nevertheless ranked slightly down the list because his comparatively lesser minutes consumed diminished slightly his overall contribution to the regular season success of the Celtics.
Keep in mind also what the statistic DOES NOT MEASURE:
1. Relative basketball ability (so please don't post comments saying Lebron James could "school" Dwight Howard in one-on-one... I'm not suggesting he couldn't. Actually I take no position on that issue).
2. Artistic flair (please don't post comments about Dwight Howard's limited offensive game. All "Win Contribution" cares about is positive results. He could drop kick the ball and it would not matter.)
Notes on the list
1. Those who say Dwight Howard is not an elite player are crazy. I would argue he was the clear cut MVP. Again, I'm not saying he is a better basketball player than LeBron, Kobe, or Chris Paul. I'm saying last season he produced more of the statistics that helped his team win games. I know Howard has a limited offensive repetoire. But there is no credit given in basketball for beauty. Wilt Chamberlain basically dominated the NBA for a decade using only a finger roll. It doesn't matter how you get it done. Note: I'm not suggesting Howard is anywhere near Chamberlain's class, I'm just making a point about ends being more important than means.
2. What Chris Paul did as a diminutive point guard last season was incredible. Just incredible.
3. The Celtics put two guys in the top 10, and absent injury, Kevin Garnett would have edged out Dwight Howard for top Win Contributor.
4. The Spurs also had 2 in the top 10, Ginobli and Duncan, which kind of shows you how bad the rest of their team was last season. And when Ginobli slumped against LA, it was "Goodnight everybody!" for San Antonio.
5. I was surprised that Lamar Odom was in the Top 20. Geez. Kobe's a solid number 4. But for injury, C Andrew Bynum would have been high on the list, and but for limited time with the roster, I believe PF Pau Gasol would have been on the list as well. The Lakers are going to be SCARY GOOD this season. No doubt. SCARY GOOD.
6. Its easy to find Michael Redd's name on Hoopshype top 20 list of highest PAID players in the National Basketball Association, but on my top 20 list of WIN CONTRIBUTORS in the National Basketball Association... let's see... no...no...wait... no, that's not him...no...geez, I can't find him anywhere! In fact, I'd have to have a North Pole sized list to get Redd's name on it. Hopefully this is the year Redd earns those pieces of silver. Value for money, buddy boy!
Note: To see my entire data base of Win Contribution and similar "Win Score" inspired NBA statistics for every player on every NBA team (which took me all summer to calculate) please click here