MVP and “Best Player on Best Team”

Investing the notion that the NBA MVP traditionally goes to the best player on the best team.

Every year when talking about who should win NBA MVP, the following argument is always brought up:

MVP traditionally goes to the best player on the best team, therefore Player X should win because he is the best player on the best team.

I’ve always been bothered by this argument because of two reasons. One, it’s a lazy argument. People don’t have to watch a second of basketball to argue this. Two, if MVP always went to the best player on the best team, there would be nothing to debate besides whether Kevin Durant is better than Steph Curry.

Now, to investigate if this argument is actually true. Does MVP actually usually go to best player on the best team??

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[Fastbreak Data] Using Machine Learning to Find the 8 Types of Players in the NBA

Alex Cheng is Founder of Fastbreak Data and a guest contributor for Ball and One. Follow his work at


Using machine learning, my goal is to uncover the positions that are intrinsic to today’s NBA players and classify players with a position that best encapsulates their skill sets.

Inspired by the topological data analysis of Muthu Alagappan in “From 5 to 13: Redefining the Positions in Basketball” and the “Periodic Table of NBA Elements” by Stephen Shea in Basketball Analytics: Spatial Tracking, this study proposes an alternative method in which to classify players in today’s NBA….

Click the image below to read the full article. Or you can click here to read it on my blog, Fastbreak Data.

Click on the image above to view the full article at

Why the Golden State Warriors are Absolutely Fine

Let me just say that all this fanfare about the Warriors being in trouble is way overblown.

A team on pace to win 64 games hits a rough patch, and all of a sudden it seems like the entire sports media world piles on with completely baised and random stats to prove how much the team is in trouble.

Only a half game ahead of the Spurs! Stephen Curry 0-5 with under 10 seconds remaining! Warriors playing worse without KD (who saw that coming?)! Nevermind that the Warriors have played 8 games in 13 days, all in different cities, and 17 of the last 24 games on the road. At the end of the day, after the trade deadline, and even after KD’s sprain, the Warriors are still favored to take the championship this year – and for good reason. Let’s dive into the numbers.

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What on earth is Phil Jackson doing with the Knicks?

Breaking down Phil Jackson’s bizzare tenure as GM

The NBA is a zero-sum game. For every win a team earns, another takes a loss. For a champion to be crowned, 29 other teams must lose. Every GM has a different way of approaching the game; some are in win-now mode, some stash picks and look to the future, and some are patiently waiting for their blossoming young stars to lead the way. There is no right answer; history has shown us that there is no single guaranteed path to winning a championship.

However, at some point in a GM’s career, whatever strategy he has chosen has to start producing Wins. At some point, your team is good enough, or it’s just pretending (Clippers). At some point, all your high draft picks have to turn into players (76ers). At some point, your #1 picks have to develop into stars (Timberwolves). No matter how clever or innovative a GM is, at the end of the day, the goal isn’t to stash draft picks or assets, the goal is to Win.

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Musings on the first third of the 16-17 season

Musings on every team for the first third of the 2016-17 NBA season.

Merry Christmas and happy 2/3 of the NBA season left! I’ve been able to watch a little bit of every team and to celebrate the holidays, I’ll be going through each one and giving my take on they stand. Team records are before games on 12/19.

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The Newest Trend in Big Men

At the risk of jumping to conclusions after just one week of NBA regular season basketball, we’re ready to declare that a new wave of NBA big men has arrived in the form of 7-foot centers who play like shooting guards. The “stretch” four or “small ball” four has been around for a long time now, and refers to power forwards who can shoot from outside and thus “stretch” the defense. Over the course of the past 10 years, players with those skill sets became more prevalent since the league as a whole began trending toward small ball for a variety of reasons.

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