A very special edition of the ALDLAND podcast this week as blog founder AD joins us to talk NBA free agency and the MLB all-star game. Marcus and I revisit some of our MLB picks from the start of the season and AD makes his own.


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LeBron James is the 2011-2012 MVP, and rightly so

Back in February, I asserted that LeBron James was the best basketball player ever, and at that point, he was. He had at that point, by a comfortable margin, a higher player efficiency rating than any player ever had achieved. (General explanation of PER in the previous post; full explanation here.) Although he regressed from 32.8 to 30.74 to finish the season, it still was good enough to be the tenth best season ever by an individual player. In so doing, James knocked David Robinson out of the top ten, meaning that James (4, 9, 10), Wilt Chamberlain (1, 2, 5), and Michael Jordan (3, 6, 7, 8) collectively turned in the ten best seasons of professional basketball ever played.

James’ competitors for the MVP this year weren’t even close to him:

Rank Player PER
1. LeBron James 30.74
2. Chris Paul 27.04
3. Dwayne Wade 26.31
4. Kevin Durant 26.20
5. Kevin Love 25.36
6. Dwight Howard 24.24
7. Blake Griffin 23.43
8. Derrick Rose 23.02
9. Russell Westbrook 22.94
9. Andrew Bynum 22.94

For comparison, Paul is the only other player whose 2011-12 charted on the top 100 all time— at #79.


LeBron James is the best professional basketball player ever

Is Dwight Howard the new Big Baby?

Orlando Magic center Dwight Howard and former Orlando Magic center Shaquille O’Neal recently had a public spat over the former’s claim to the Superman mantle (cape?), but Howard’s real nomenclature-based friction actually may be with current Orlando Magic forward Glen Davis.

There won’t really be any friction between those two, of course, because Davis doesn’t want to be known as Big Baby anymore (even though everyone, including him, still wants to call him that). But that’s exactly how Howard’s acting– large, immature, and lacking in foresight.

Back when the league-wide Chris Paul trade operations were in full force, Howard made sure everyone knew he wanted out of Orlando too, and even held in his hand a faintly McCarthyesque list of names of the teams where he would like to go. When he didn’t get moved around the time that Paul finally made it to L.A., Howard pulled back on his trade request, only to slowly walk back to it ever since. Every week, it seems like he adds a new team to his list, an act that garners him headlines for at least a couple days each time. The Lakers and Nets have been on the list since the beginning. Then he added the Clippers, and, most recently, the Bulls, a decision so newsworthy it has been on’s front page for two days:

Most agree that Howard is the best center in the game right now, and the Magic rightly would demand a king’s ransom to part with him. Orlando is willing to pay him, but Howard doesn’t seem to believe he can win there– his trade decision is about winning championships and boosting his personal brand more than it’s about pure dollar figures. Given this reality, many have pointed out that it makes no sense for Howard to demand a trade to a contender, because that team would have to gut its roster to get him, and his new situation would probably end up looking a lot like his current one. Instead, he should play out the year in Orlando and let one of these teams sign him when he becomes a free agent at the end of the season. Howard must know this, but he keeps talking and keeps his name in the news for little other purpose than that. At this point, I’m just waiting for him to add the Columbus Blue Jackets to his “list.”