On NBA Tuesday today, we have arrived at the last season of the decade, and it was a doozy of a decade. To close it out, the Seattle SuperSonics won their only league championship, and that says a lot on its own, of course.
Read on to see what happened with the two major awards …
1979 NBA MVP: Moses Malone (original), Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (revised)
Two best players in the league were Los Angeles Lakers center Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (first in Win Shares and Player Efficiency Rating) and Houston Rockets center Moses Malone (second in WS; third in PER). Both players got their teams to the postseason, each team winning 47 games.
Here’s a quick look at the traditional stats:
- Abdul-Jabbar: 23.8 points, 12.8 rebounds, 5.4 assists, 4.0 blocks per game
- Malone: 24.8 points, 17.6 rebounds, 1.8 assists, 1.5 blocks per game
In addition, the Big Fella shot 57.7 percent from the floor, while Big Mo nailed 54 percent of his shots. The value edge for Kareem was just 0.3 WS, while the PER edge was much larger (1.73 points).
1979 NBA ROTY: Phil Ford (original, confirmed)
The three best rookies in the league for value were Kansas City Kings point guard Phil Ford (5.7 WS), Portland Trail Blazers shooting guard Ron Brewer (5.6 WS), and Detroit Pistons power forward Terry Tyler (5.4 WS).
The Pistons missed the postseason, so we can remove Tyler from consideration. Meanwhile, Ford also topped Brewer in PER (15.8 to 14.2). The Kings won 48 games and the Midwest Division; the Blazers won 45 games and finished fourth in the Pacific Division.
It seems like this would clinch it for Ford, but we could argue that without Brewer, Portland may have missed the postseason. Without Ford, the Kings would have still made the playoffs. However, those are speculative notions. Should we consider them?
Raw stats also favor Ford by a lot: 15.9 to 13.3 in ppg, 8.6 to 2.0 apg, and 2.2 to 1.3 in steals per game. Brewer outrebounded Ford by a half a board per game, though.
We will stick with Ford on this one.