This time on NBA Tuesday, we examine the middle season of the 1980s, and it’s a time warp, folks. It was only 35 years ago, but it seems like a lifetime ago for some of us, of course. The league would never be the same, after everyone wanted to be like Mike.
Read on to see how we assessed the awards given out in 1985 …
1985 NBA MVP: Larry Bird (original, confirmed)
Unlike last year when we stripped Boston Celtics legend Larry Bird of his MVP Award, this season it is an easy thing to confirm. The Celtics won 63 games, most in the NBA, and their star small forward topped the league in both Win Shares (15.67) and Player Efficiency Rating (26.54).
Remember, Bird predominantly played power forward in his first five pro seasons, so his position switch really helped his game leap to the top of the heap. He only led the NBA in minutes played per game during this year (39.5), but Bird contributed 28.7 points, 10.5 rebounds, 6.6 assists, 1.6 steals, and 1.2 blocks in those big minutes each time out.
1985 NBA ROTY: Michael Jordan (original, confirmed)
Guess who finished second to Bird in both WS (13.97) and PER (25.85)? That’s right: His Airness. Chicago Bulls shooting guard Michael Jordan arrived in the NBA with a bang, and pro hoops would never be the same. He could have been the MVP, too, since he wasn’t that far behind Bird in the sabermetrics—and Boston had a great roster, overall.
Jordan’s numbers: 28.2 ppg, 6.5 rpg, 5.9 apg, and 2.4 spg. He also shot 51.5 percent from the floor and 84.5 percent from the line. Not bad for a kid who was barely able to drink legally.
By the way, other top rookies this year? Charles Barkley (7.5 WS, 18.3 PER) and Akeem Olajuwon (10.2 WS, 21.1 PER), not to mention Sam Bowie (5.7 WS, 15.7 PER) and Sam Perkins (5.8 WS, 15.0 PER).
Think about that for a moment.