With this new entry for NBA Tuesday, we are getting so much closer to the present day, with the 2021 NBA playoffs about to start tonight. It’s crazy that most of our award winners below (both by vote and through our analyses) are still in the league today. That’s how close we are to real time, folks.
Read on, and enjoy as you hopefully do every week …
2009 NBA MVP: LeBron James (original, confirmed)
This is one is somewhat cut and dried, as Cleveland Cavaliers small forward LeBron James topped his peers in both Win Shares (20.25) and Player Efficiency Rating (31.67) while leading his teammates to the top record in the league as well with 66 victories.
The WS mark was the highest in the NBA since Michael Jordan topped 20 WS in 1996, while the PER figure was the highest since Jordan in 1988. That’s how historic this season was for the King. Therefore, there’s no one else in the conversation here for the MVP Award, since James won the vote at the time, anyway.
His traditional stats: 28.4 points, 7.6 rebounds, 7.2 assists, 1.7 steals, and 1.1 blocks per game, while shooting 48.9 percent from the floor—and playing a career-low 37.7 minutes per game over a career-high 81 games in the season. We can see him start to manage his floor time here for maximum efficiency, revealing his basketball IQ.
2009 NBA ROTY: Derrick Rose (original), Mario Chalmers (revised)
Chicago Bulls point guard Derrick Rose (4.9 WS) won the ROTY vote, but six other rookies topped his WS mark as the Bulls only improved 8 victories from the prior year. The “Other Six” were as follows: Portland Trail Blazers shooting guard Rudy Fernández (6.1 WS); New Jersey Nets center Brook Lopez (5.8); Miami Heat PG Mario Chalmers (5.2); Memphis Grizzlies C Marc Gasol (6.4); Minnesota Timberwolves C Kevin Love (5.3); and Charlotte Bobcats PG D.J. Augustin (5.1).
That’s a list of candidates to choose from, for sure. Memphis won just 24 games after winning 22 the year before, so we can drop Gasol from consideration. The Bobcats missed the playoffs, while improving just 3 wins, so that means Augustin also isn’t really worth here.
Minnesota is identical to Memphis, so Love gets no love from us for ROTY. Miami improved 28 games, and while that wasn’t all on Chalmers, it’s still a nice thing to have on the record here. The Nets posted the exact same record as the season prior, so Lopez doesn’t impress us. As for Fernández, Portland moved up 13 wins and made the playoffs. That narrows this down a bit.
We know Rose won the award for scoring 16.8 ppg, but Chalmers and Fernández also scored in double digits. We like the fact Chalmers played in more games than Fernández (82 to 78), though, and played more minutes per game (32.0 to 25.6), too. That means he was on the floor more than Fernández—and having more of an impact, as well, especially on defense (2.0 steals per game).