The second NBA Tuesday miniseries on our site moves on to the 2003 season and the swan song for one of the better players in history, according to our accounts (our MVP pick in 1994, 1995, and 1996, actually). He helped his team a second NBA championship in five years, and if you don’t know who were discussing at this point, then maybe you should stick to our other miniseries … just kidding (sort of).
2003 NBA FINALS MVP: Tim Duncan, PF, San Antonio Spurs (original, confirmed)
In a defensive series that saw the 100-point barrier cracked just once in six games, the San Antonio Spurs beat the New Jersey Nets to win the title. Spurs power forward Tim Duncan was named the Finals MVP for averaging 24.2 ppg, 17.0 rpg, 5.3 apg, 5.3 bpg, and 1.0 spg in 44.0 mpg—all while shooting 49.5 percent from the floor. No one else in the series even surpassed 20.0 ppg, making this an easy choice.
In fact, Duncan led all players in points, rebounds, and blocks, as only one other player in the series even managed 10.0 rpg or 2.3 bpg (New Jersey PF Kenyon Martin). For the record, at age 37, San Antonio center David Robinson contributed 10.3 ppg, 7.8 rpg, and 1.9 bpg as he sauntered off into retirement at the conclusion of the series.
Two additional notes: This is Duncan’s second Finals MVP from us, and the last time we disagreed with the Finals MVP vote was 1988. This is a long streak of agreement, which is rare in our corner of the Internet, as you probably should know by now.
2003 NBA DPOY: Ben Wallace, C, Detroit (original); Shawn Marion, SF, Phoenix (revised)
For the second year in a row, Detroit Pistons C Ben Wallace won the DPOY vote; nine players finished with at least 5.0 DWS on the year, and after we whittle down the list based on postseason-earned value, we have only 7 candidates for this award—including Wallace (7.85 DWS). That is still a long list, so we’re going to eliminate players who competed for division winners next—including Wallace!
That leaves us with only three: Minnesota Timberwolves PF Kevin Garnett (5.80), Phoenix Suns small forward Shawn Marion (5.77), and Indiana Pacers PF Jermaine O’Neal (5.23). In terms of postseason-qualification margins, here are the numbers there: Indiana (11), Minnesota (8), Phoenix (1). That means the guy who finished 13th in the voting take our hardware home, in another drastic correction.
Marion’s numbers: With 7.1 defensive boards per game, in addition to 2.3 spg and 1.2 bpg, he was able to create 2.4 apg off turnovers while scoring 21.2 ppg himself. At age 24, this was Marion’s first season as an All-Star selection, and he would go on to earn that distinction three more times in the decade. But he definitely had his coming-out party with this defensive effort that made a postseason difference.