It’s time for the 1990s on NBA Tuesday as the current playoff season just ended with a predictable swindle. Remember, it was a simpler time in the early 1990s, before the fix really kicked in mid-decade for professional basketball in North America. And the incredible force known as Air Jordan was ramping up to dominate the era with six championships in an eight-year span. But not quite yet …

Remember also to check out the first miniseries entry on this year for context,
because knowledge is power.

1990 NBA FINALS MVP: Isiah Thomas, PG, Detroit (original, confirmed)

The Detroit Pistons thumped the Portland Trail Blazers, 4-1, in the Finals, as Pistons point guard Isiah Thomas named the MVP. It was the second title in a row for Detroit, and their floor general topped the team in points (27.6), assists (7.0), and steals (1.6) while adding 5.2 rebounds in 38.4 minutes per game. It was an all-around performance that helped the Pistons outscored Portland by 5 points on average.

Shooting guard Joe Dumars (20.6 ppg in 42 mpg) and center Bill Laimbeer (double double in 38.2 mpg) also were big contributors to the title run, but Thomas really did lead the show—while stealing the spotlight from his teammates as well. We confirm this award vote without much debate.

1990 NBA DPOY: Dennis Rodman, SF, Detroit (original); Akeem Olajuwon, C, Houston (revised)

Pistons “bad boy” Dennis Rodman (4.38 DWS) won the DPOY vote somehow, and we won’t say much more. Our top candidates are Houston Rocket C Akeem Olajuwon (8.74), San Antonio Spurs C David Robinson (7.18), Laimbeer (5.43), Utah Jazz power forward Karl Malone (5.43), and New York Knicks C Patrick Ewing (5.26). That’s an impressive list of real defensive stars.

Olajuwon took our nods in 1987 and 1989. Can he do it again? Well, the playoff margins here always decide: Houston (0), San Antonio (15), Detroit (18), Utah (14), and New York (4). Houston nabbed the final postseason spot in the Western Conference in a tiebreaker over Seattle, so the Dream deserves this award—again—on two counts. He was the best, and he was the most valuable.

Olajuwon’s numbers: 10.4 defensive boards, 4.6 blocks, and 2.1 steals per game. Doing the simple math, he individually stopped 17.1 possessions a game on defense. The rebounding and blocks numbers were the best ones of his career, too, so this was the Dream at his best on the defensive end of the court. This is his third nod from us for DPOY, a vote he won just twice in his career. Go figure.

Check in every Tuesday for our NBA awards historical analysis on The Daily McPlay!