What the 2015-16 All-NBA Teams Should Have Looked Like
It happens every single year.
NBA award season rolls around and just about every award or honor given out breeds some kind of controversy. It used to be that fans and pundits would simply get in heated debates about who won and who didn't, but now that the voting process is largely public and presented in great detail, even the individual votes are scrutinized.
But what if we did away with the voting process entirely and instead left the decisions up to advanced analytics?
Sure, there would still be issues of bias concerning which numbers to use, but at least there wouldn't be as many disputable votes rooted in homerism or other distractors. The focus would be entirely on identifying the league's top performers, and fanbases would have less to get mad about. If your favorite player didn't make the cut, it would be because he simply didn't perform well enough in a stat, rather than as a result of someone (or many someones) egregiously overlooking him.
For an idea of what that would look like, consider the All-NBA Teams that were just released:
Here are the 2015-16 All-NBA 1st, 2nd and 3rd teams, which were just announced: pic.twitter.com/A2WytuBeVZ
— Josh Robbins (@JoshuaBRobbins) May 26, 2016
There are plenty of debatable decisions there.
Rather than pick each and every one of them apart, however, why don't we just show you what the All-NBA Teams would look like if they were exclusively performance-based and stripped entirely of biases related to voter fatigue, popularity, market size, etc.?
To do so, we'll use our in-house metric, nERD.
If you're not familiar with nERD, it measures the total contributions of a player throughout the course of a season, based on his efficiency on both ends of the floor. Comparable to Win Shares, this ranking gives an estimate of how many games above or below .500 a league-average team would win over an 82-game season with said player as one of its starters.
Here are our "All-nERD" teams:
All-nERD First Team
All-nERD Second Team
All-nERD Third Team
If you've got a problem with those teams, you'll have to go argue with the numbers.