This week on NBA Tuesday, we may be looking at one of the all-time greatest individual seasons in the history of the league. There should be no suspense here, as any fan of the sport knows that one player won the both the league scoring title and the Defensive Player of the Year Award—during the same season back in 1988.
There is not much suspense here, but enjoy nonetheless. It’s a short analysis this week, for both awards …
1988 NBA MVP: Michael Jordan (original, confirmed)
Yes, Chicago Bulls shooting guard Michael Jordan was all that and more in his age-24 season as he led the NBA in scoring average (35.0), steals per game (3.2), and minutes played per game (40.4)—the latter two figures being career highs. He also added 5.9 assists and 5.5 rebounds every time out to round out his fine statistical ledger. Did we mention Jordan also shot 53.5 percent from the floor?
This is why His Airness topped the NBA in both Win Shares (21.23) and Player Efficiency Rating (31.71) by huge margins. His team won 50 games to finish with the third-best record in the Eastern Conference, as well. Oh, and remember that DPOY designation, too: His 6.1 defensive WS mark was the second best of his career, and he led the league in defensive plus/minus (4.2), too.
1988 NBA ROTY: Mark Jackson (original, confirmed)
The two best rookies, by far, were New York Knicks point guard Mark Jackson (7.6 WS, 15.7 PER) and Seattle SuperSonics small forward Derrick McKey (4.1 WS, 13.8 PER). Both first-year players helped their teams reach the postseason, too, so that leaves us with the simple decision to confirm Jackson’s vote victory.
Jackson averaged 13.6 points, 10.6 assists, 4.8 rebounds, and 2.5 steals per game in a pretty good rookie season that was only diminished by his mediocre 43.2-percent shooting from the field.