This is the first entry in our second NBA Tuesday miniseries, as we finished the first miniseries almost a month ago. Now, we go back to 1950 again to start again in examining the Finals MVP Award and the Defensive Player of the Year Award. Why 1950? You can check out our original explanation from March 2020.
We will do the best we can to piece together data here, as the Finals MVP was not officially award until 1969 in the NBA, and the ABA (1968-1976) never did award a trophy for the honor. Meanwhile, the DPOY wasn’t a thing until 1983, so we will do our best with what statistics we had in the past to fill in the gaps.
1950 NBA FINALS MVP: George Mikan, C, Minneapolis Lakers
This is an open-and-shut case, as the Lakers defeated the Syracuse Nationals in 6 games behind Mikan’s magnificence. He scored 32.2 points per game in the Finals, which almost doubled up the next-best player in the series: Nats center Dolph Schayes (17.3 ppg), himself a perennial league MVP candidate, of course.
In Game One, Mikan scored 37 points in the Lakers’ 68-66 road victory. He was the high scorer in every game of the series, and he also dropped 40 on Syracuse in the Game Six clincher, a 110-95 win at home for the Lakers. He was that much of a dominant force in the game at the time, and one of the best players ever in league history, really.
1950 NBA DPOY: George Mikan, C, Minneapolis Lakers
Four players topped the 5.0 defensive Win Shares mark in the regular season, led by Mikan (5.80). But he was followed closely by Anderson Packers rookie guard Frankie Brian (5.56)—and his frontcourt teammates Milo Komenich (5.16) and Charlie Black (5.02). The fact the Packers had three guys this good defensively makes sense as Anderson made a postseason run that the Lakers ended in the semifinals.
Black was acquired midseason in a trade with the Fort Wayne Pistons, so the Packers were loading up for that playoff surge in advance. Yet, it would be impossible to pick from between the Anderson trio, as each was almost equally valuable on defense, overall.
So, it’s easy therefore to hand our first DOPY Award to Mikan—completing a trifecta of trophies for the big man from Minneapolis, since he won our regular season MVP, too. We will have to see in the upcoming 18 months whether another player can match this feat in our analyses. We’re not so sure it’s possible, in truth.