Powering forward in our second NBA Tuesday miniseries, we dribble into the 1955 season for our awards analysis of the Finals MVP and Defensive Player of the Year. We hope you have fun on this second journey through NBA history as we see it, and remember to check out the first miniseries entry on this year for context, as well.
With the Minneapolis Lakers dynasty at an end, which team and its stars will step into the void? Read on to find out!
1955 NBA FINALS MVP: Dolph Schayes, PF, Syracuse Nationals
The Syracuse Nationals won the league title, winning a seven-game series over the Ft. Wayne Pistons, with the final game coming down to a single point in favor of the home team. The Nats had two players who averaged double doubles in the Finals: power forward Dolph Schayes (19.0 ppg, 11.9 rpg, 3.0 apg) and rookie center Red Kerr (12.3 ppg, 11.3 rpg, 1.6 apg).
The Finals MVP should come down to those two players, as they were the series’ dominant players. The Pistons had a quartet of solid players, but none of them posted the double doubles that the Syracuse duo did. And with the Nats drafting Kerr, this enabled the organization to move Schayes back to his natural position. The results were very impressive.
Schayes was obviously more impactful in the Finals than Kerr, although surely he could not have been so without his rookie frontcourt buddy. However, Schayes gets our nod here for the fuller, all-around game. Ironically, both Kerr and Schayes posted identical stat lines in Game 7: 13 points and 12 rebounds.
1955 NBA DPOY: Dolph Schayes, PF, Syracuse Nationals
Schayes pulls off this award-based double double, as he topped the NBA in defensive Win Shares (5.68) by more than one full win share over Milwaukee Hawks rookie PF Bob Pettit (4.60). Schayes posted 12.3 rebounds and 3.4 fouls per game on his way to claiming this award for the second season in a row.