What can NBA advanced stats tell us about this year's MVP race?
In an unlikely twist, the utilization of all-in-one player value metrics has become a flashpoint in this year's debate between the Milwaukee Bucks' Giannis Antetokounmpo, the Philadelphia 76ers' Joel Embiid and the Denver Nuggets' Nikola Jokic.
Among the many bad-faith arguments made in this regard, one stands out as legitimate: Those utilizing advanced stats don't necessarily understand how they work.
With that in mind, let's take a refresher course on how what ESPN's Zach Lowe refers to as "the VORPs and SHNORPs" (inspiring Andrew Patton to create a semi-real SHNORP stat blending some of the others) work and what they indicate about the cases of the top three MVP favorites.
Throughout the NBA season, I answer your questions about the latest, most interesting topics in basketball. You can tweet me directly at @kpelton, tweet your questions using the hashtag #peltonmailbag or email them to firstname.lastname@example.org.
In addition to the main question, this week's mailbag tackles whether the international flavor of this year's MVP race should raise concern about American player development.
"Which analytics would you use in picking MVP and who would they choose?"
Certainly, the sea of acronyms and capital letters (to which I contribute) can be intimidating to navigate. The first thing to understand is there are, broadly, three ways to measure player value: