Our second NBA Tuesday miniseries reaches a milestone season, with some context for today’s column thrown in for good measure. The Finals featured the first (albeit unsuccessful) championship-round appearance for an all-time, legendary great—who is still playing today as the 2022-23 season kicks off tonight. Crazy, huh? Nah, we just call him The King … On with the show!
2007 NBA FINALS MVP: Tony Parker, PG, San Antonio (original); Tim Duncan, C, San Antonio (revised)
The San Antonio Spurs won another championship—their fourth in nine seasons—with a 4-0 sweep over the upstart Cleveland Cavaliers, making their first NBA Finals appearance. The Spurs won each game by an average of 6.0 points each, so it wasn’t necessarily a blowout sweep. Nonetheless, San Antonio point guard Tony Parker (24.0 ppg, 5.0 rpg, 3.3 apg) took home the MVP hardware.
The three-headed, international trio of Parker, center Tim Duncan (18.3 ppg, 11.5 rpg, 3.8 apg, 2.3 bpg, 1.3 spg), and shooting guard Manu Ginóbili (17.7 ppg, 5.8 rpg, 2.5 apg, 1.3 spg) was all the Spurs needed here. Every other Spurs player was just filler, really—even seven-time ringmaster Robert Horry. What’s curious here is that Duncan led his team in rebound, assists, blocks, and steals.
He was the true MVP, even if Parker led the team in scoring. When San Antonio won both Games 3 and 4 on the road by a combined 4 points, it was all about the Big Fundamental doing the little things on both ends of the court to earn the victory—and Parker didn’t even lead the Spurs in scoring in the decisive, one-point victory in Game 4; Ginóbili did. So, we give the trophy to Duncan, instead, his fourth one.
This is the first time since 1988 that we have re-assigned this award, for the record.
2007 NBA DPOY: Marcus Camby, C, Denver (original); Dwight Howard, C, Orlando (revised)
Denver Nuggets C Marcus Camby (5.11 DWS) won the vote, but six other players finished with higher DWS marks. After we screen for postseason relevance, we have these finalists: Duncan (6.78), Detroit Pistons C Ben Wallace (6.60), Orlando Magic C Dwight Howard (5.83), Cleveland small forward LeBron James (5.66), Chicago Bulls SF Luol Deng (5.61), Phoenix Suns SF Shawn Marion (5.30), and Camby.
The playoff margins for error were as follows: Phoenix (21), Detroit (18), San Antonio (18), Cleveland (15), Chicago (14), Denver (5), Orlando (5). So, we have a close situation to analyze here between Camby and Howard. With Howard having the superior DWS mark, and by a somewhat significant margin, we’re going to give Superman our trophy. We haven’t confirmed this award since 1995, by the way.
Howard’s numbers, which earned him a laughable 16th-place finish in the vote despite his defense being the difference between the postseason and the offseason: 8.8 defensive rebounds per game, augmented by 1.9 bpg and 0.9 spg. He was just in his third season, and in the next few he would go one to be one of the best in the league at his position. This is surprising no one saw his value.
The Magic outscored their opponents by just 0.8 ppg in claiming the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference with a 40-42 record. His defense was the difference.