NBA Tuesday has reached the prime era of Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls, who won six league titles in an 8-year span—including six straight when Jordan was playing full-time. It’s feat that will never be duplicated, really, and it cements Jordan’s place in history as probably the best player ever in professional basketball in North America. So, read on and enjoy …
Remember also to check out the first miniseries entry on this year for context,
because knowledge is power.
1991 NBA FINALS MVP: Michael Jordan, SG, Chicago (original, confirmed)
The Los Angeles Lakers took Game 1 of the NBA Finals on the road, and the naysayers predicted doom for the Chicago Bulls. Alas, Jordan would not be denied in his first trip to the championship round, as the Bulls ripped off four straight victories by an average of almost 13 points per game. Jordan was named the MVP for putting up 31.2 ppg, 11.4 apg, 6.6 rpg, 2.8 spg, and 1.4 bpg.
No one else in the series even comes close to this line, as His Airness led his team in four of those five categories (save rebounding). We confirm this, the first of his voted six Finals MVP nods, rather readily, and we assume there are many more to follow. Remember, our record here is five, held jointly by Boston Celtics center Bill Russell and Lakers point guard Magic Johnson.
1991 NBA DPOY: Dennis Rodman, SF, Detroit (original); Patrick Ewing, C, New York (revised)
Our seven candidates here are San Antonio Spurs C David Robinson (7.64 DWS), Houston Rockets C Hakeem Olajuwon (5.72), New York Knicks C Patrick Ewing (5.59), Utah Jazz power forward Karl Malone (5.58), Jordan (5.43), Bulls small forward Scottie Pippen (5.36), and Detroit Pistons SF Dennis Rodman (5.23). The Worm won the vote for the second year in a row, by the way.
The Bulls teammates cancel each other out, and it’s on to playoff margins for error: San Antonio (24), Houston (21), New York (6), Utah (23), and Detroit (17). While the Admiral was clearly the best defensive player, Ewing was a difference maker on defense in terms of his team possibly missing the postseason without his presence under the basket.
So, we stick with our consistent decision-making process here and give the trophy to Ewing. His numbers: 8.8 defensive boards, 3.2 blocks, and 1.0 steals per game. He didn’t lead the league in any of these categories, but the defensive rebounding mark was the best of his career at that point (at age 28). He was in his prime, too, as he would never again be as good as blocking shots.