As we move forward in our second NBA Tuesday miniseries, we are checking out the 1951 season for our new awards analysis: the DPOY and the Finals MVP. Enjoy this second ride through NBA history as we see it now and remember to check out our first miniseries entry on this year for context, too.
Have fun exploring the past with us …
1951 NBA FINALS MVP: Arnie Risen, C, Rochester Royals
The Rochester Royals defeated the New York Knicks in seven games, emerging victorious with the NBA Championship. The most dominant postseason player was Royals center Arnie Risen, who averaged an impressive double double in the Finals: 21.7 points and 14.3 rebounds per game, not to mention 2.7 assists each time out.
In Game 7, as well, he put up 24 points and grabbed 13 rebounds, leading Rochester to a 79-75 victory in the deciding game. His shooting percentage (.397) was brutal, in truth, but the volume overwhelmed that dynamic of his game, and no one else on either team came close to topping those numbers.
1951 NBA DPOY: George Mikan, C, Minneapolis Lakers
With 7.43 defensive Win Shares, Minneapolis Lakers center George Mikan easily outdistanced the next-best defensive player in the league, his power forward teammate Vern Mikkelsen (5.04). No one else in the NBA topped 5.0 DWS, so we will peg Mikan for this award once again.
At 14.1 rebounds per game, he was second in the league, and Mikan also led the NBA in fouls, demonstrating he was not afraid to intimidate the opponents time after time throughout the regular season. That kind of defensive presence takes its toll on the other teams’ best players over and over again.