Stats & Info: MVP

Paul George for MVP? The numbers say yes

December, 11, 2013
Ronald Martinez/Getty ImagesPaul George has established himself as an MVP candidate.
Is Paul George a legitimate contender for MVP?

After the Pacers' victory over the Heat on Tuesday, led by George -– who is averaging nearly 25 points for the 19-3 Pacers –- it seems appropriate now to make the argument for George over LeBron James and other top candidates.

Valuable asset
George is having the best season of his career and plays for the team with the best record in the NBA. With George on the court, the Pacers score 17 more points per 100 possessions and are 25 points better overall per 100 possessions than they are with George on the bench.

Let's compare George's value to the Pacers with the other top early-season candidates:

• The Miami Heat are actually 10 points per 100 possessions worse with LeBron on the court.

• The Oklahoma City Thunder are only two points per 100 possessions better with Kevin Durant on the court.

• The Los Angeles Clippers are three points per 100 possessions better with Chris Paul on the court.

• The Houston Rockets are three points per 100 possessions better with James Harden on the court.

George scores 25 percent of the Pacers' points and leads the NBA in defensive win shares for the second straight season. He is tied for second with Durant with 4.4 win shares overall, behind LeBron's 4.5. Win shares are an estimate of the number of wins contributed by a player on offense and defense.

Coming through in the clutch
George has been dominant in the fourth quarter all season, which was evident when he scored 17 of his career-high 43 points against the Portland Trail Blazers in the fourth quarter on Dec. 2.

George leads the NBA in fourth-quarter plus-minus and offensive rating (minimum 150 minutes played).

In the fourth quarter, the Pacers are 31 points better per 100 possessions with George on the court, including 20 points better per 100 possessions on the offensive end.

The NBA MVP award has been given to the player on a team that finished with the best record 58 percent of the time since 1990 and in four of the past five seasons. If George continues to lead the Pacers to a No. 1 seed, he could become the first Pacers player to win the NBA MVP award.

Cabrera better 'late' than ever

November, 15, 2012

Leon Halip/Getty ImagesMiguel Cabrera became the 10th different player in baseball history to win the Triple Crown, but will that be enough to be named the American League's Most Valuable player?

Mike Trout was unanimously named the American League Rookie of the Year on Monday and many believe he will garner support for the Most Valuable Player Award as well. While Trout’s season was impressive, Miguel Cabrera compiled numbers in 2012 that few in baseball history have ever compiled before.

Cabrera finished the season leading the AL in batting average (.330), RBI (139), and home runs (44), becoming the 10th player to ever win baseball’s Triple Crown (12th occurrence) and the first since Carl Yastrzemski in 1967.

He was the first player to hold the outright league-lead in those categories since Frank Robinson in 1966 (Yastrzemski tied for the home run lead a season later) and became the first infielder to win the Triple Crown since Lou Gehrig in 1934.

He was also the fourth winner of the Triple Crown to play on a first-place team. Each of the previous three—Yastrzemski in 1967, Robinson in 1966, and Mickey Mantle in 1956—all went on to win the MVP award that season.

Although impressive, the 2012 season was no fluke for Cabrera as he leads the American League in all three Triple Crown categories since the beginning of the 2009 season (.331 BA, 146 HR, 473 RBI).

2012 also marked the second-consecutive season in which Cabrera led the American League in batting average, making him the first Tiger to do so in back-to-back seasons since Ty Cobb did it three straight years from 1917 to 1919.

Looking back, one theme for Cabrera during the 2012 season was the term “late,” be it late-game production or his late-season push for Triple Crown and potential MVP honors.

Cabrera hit an AL-high .337 in the seventh inning or later this season with more home runs (17), RBI (43), and runs (38) than any other player in baseball. His 26 extra-base hits were tied with the Yankees Mark Teixeira for most in MLB and his .411 on-base percentage ranked third in the American League.

When runners were in scoring position in those situations, his batting average and on-base percentage spiked to .370 and .464, respectively. Cabrera also hit an MLB-high six home runs and had seven extra-base hits (T-2nd in MLB).

During regular season games in September and October, Cabrera seemed to truly peak. He hit .333 and tied for second in MLB with 11 home runs. His 30 RBI over that span led the American League (2nd in MLB).

Only the Yankees Robinson Cano had as many extra-base hits (18) in the AL as Cabrera did during those final four-and-a-half weeks and only Cano (27) and the Orioles Adam Jones (25) scored more runs that Cabrera (23).

Will all these numbers culminate in an MVP award for Cabrera? History suggests yes as the last three Triple Crown winners were named MVP. Unfortunately for Cabrera, however, those seasons took place in 1956, 1966, and 1967. Only time will tell whether his production is valued in the same manner 45 years later.

--Contributions from Scott Beaman were used in this post

For a look at Mike Trout's candidacy, click here.