With the NBA Playoffs set to begin this week, we’re looking back at the last time each postseason MVP was named. With the 2018 NBA Finals set to begin Thursday, we’re looking at the last time the NBA Finals MVP was awarded to a player at his position. In 1987, Hakeem “The Dream” Olajuwon won the MVP Award at center for the Houston Rockets, who defeated the Portland Trail Blazers four games to three to win the NBA Finals. It would be the final time the NBA Finals MVP would be awarded to an All-NBA center. It would not be the last time the NBA Finals MVP would be awarded to a player from the shooting guard position. In 1989, Billy Packer
As the NBA Playoffs are set to kick off, we’re curious to see if the last two MVPs will be centers, as they were in 1996 and 2010. From a historical perspective, the center position has won the award in seven of the last nine seasons, and only two of the last 13. After last year’s MVP winners (LeBron James and Chris Paul), it’s looking like this year’s MVP race could be one of the closest in NBA history.
Credit: Credit: CrossNposter
Winning an NBA championship is the greatest achievement in the world for an NBA player. This is the eternal goal of every athlete who comes into competition and wants to make a name for themselves. It takes something special to become a champion, and only a team of thirty people can experience that every year. Becoming an NBA champion is the most important way for any player to earn the respect of his peers and fans around the world.
Equally impressive is the title of most outstanding player during the final series, winning the title of Finals MVP. Few players have been able to achieve such incredible success, and it shows who has had the most influence on the stars on the biggest stage of all. It’s time to name the last time a Finals player was voted MVP at any position, and some of the names might surprise.
Point Guard: Tony Parker – 2007
Tony Parker and the San Antonio Spurs won the 2007 NBA championship by beating the Cleveland Cavaliers in 4 games. Parker averaged 24.5 PPG, 5.0 RPG and 3.3 APG in the series, and kept LeBron and co. in check with relative ease. Parker’s penetration into the lineup was a constant threat, and the Cavaliers had no answer other than Daniel Boobie Gibson’s three-point shots.
Parker is a future Hall of Fame member with four rings and a Finals MVP award in 2007. The reason the point guard hasn’t won in over a decade is because the game has changed so much. It’s highly unlikely that a 6-foot-4 point guard can be the most dominant player on a championship team….. unless Chris Paul can win his first NBA title this year with the Phoenix Suns. However, the Frenchman was the last playmaker to do so.
Fire watch: Kobe Bryant – 2010
Kobe Bryant’s second consecutive championship in 2010 earned him his second Finals MVP award with the Lakers. Bryant averaged 28.6 PPG, 8.0 RPG, 3.9 APG and 2.1 SPG to lead Los Angeles to a victory in Game 7 against the Boston Celtics. Without center Kendrick Perkins, the Celtics are struggling with Pau Gasol (18.6 PPG and 11.6 RPG), arguably their second-best player.
Bryant was the most consistent player on the court in the 2010 Finals, as he led all players in scoring (and shot attempts). The Black Mamba will be his fifth. There’s no denying the NBA title, and no defender has been able to match Bryant’s dominance in the Finals. Right now, dominant small attackers are the key to success in the biggest arena.
Small-time attacker LeBron James – 2020
As mentioned earlier, small-time attackers were the most influential players in the last 9 NBA Finals. That’s why the last 9 Finals MVPs were minor leaguers, 4 of which went to LeBron James. The last time LeBron was named Finals MVP was last year, when he led the Los Angeles Lakers to a six-game victory over the Miami Heat.
LeBron recorded averages of 29.8 PPG, 11.8 RPG and 8.5 APG, proving that at age 35 he is still the best player in the world. Jimmy Butler (26.2 PPG) struggled to make the Heat competitive, but was heavily outplayed by James, while the talented Anthony Davis (25.0 PPG and 10.7 RPG) was alongside him. Small-time attackers dominate the NBA these days, and King LeBron James leads that pack.
Fast forward: Dirk Nowitzki – 2011
Dirk Nowitzki committed perhaps the biggest disappointment in Finals history as he led the Dallas Mavericks past the top three Miami Heat: LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh. Dirk dominated during the playoffs, averaging 26.0 PPG and 9.7 RPG while beating the entire Miami Heat roster. Dwyane Wade has been good, averaging 26.5 PPG, but LeBron James has been disappointing, not making an impact in the series (17.8 PPG) and making fewer shots than Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh.
This was Dirk Nowitzki’s time to win a ring, and no super team in the world could take that away from him. Dirk has proven once and for all that he is among the 50 best players of all time and is the most productive big man in NBA history. The German’s one-legged fadeaway destroyed all opponents, and it’s been more than a decade since the forward was voted Finals MVP.
Central: Shaquille O’Neal – 2002
Shaquille O’Neal, arguably the most dominant physical force in NBA history, was the last center to be named Finals MVP. It’s been nearly 20 years since the big man made his mark in the NBA Finals, which is why O’Neal often criticizes the big men in today’s NBA for not dominating at the expense of their height. Shaq was unique and it’s hard to compare him to anyone else as he averaged 36.3 PPG, 12.3 RPG, 3.8 APG and 2.8 BPG per game for the Los Angeles Lakers.
After Shaq, only two major players have been named Finals MVP: Tim Duncan (2005) and Dirk Nautisky (2011), but both started as strikers. Center is unlikely to win Finals MVP this season, and that may not happen anytime soon, as the forwards are currently the best players in the league. O’Neal proved once again that he is a unique player by becoming the only center to win the Finals MVP award in nearly two decades.
Credit for the idea: CrossNposter
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