This site’s second NBA Tuesday miniseries has gotten to a cool season, with some context for today’s column thrown in for knowledge expansion. The 2008 Finals featured the return of the Boston Celtics to the top of the professional basketball world, even if for only one season. Interesting, too, since the Celtics were just in the NBA Finals at the end of the 2022 season as well … coincidence? Hmmm.
2008 NBA FINALS MVP: Paul Pierce, SF, Boston (original); Kevin Garnett, PF, Boston (original)
The Celtics dropped the Los Angeles Lakers in six games to claim the franchise’s 17th championship overall, and small forward Paul Pierce was voted the MVP for the following stat line: 21.8 ppg, 6.3 apg, 4.5 rpg, and 1.2 spg in 38.8 mpg. But it was a traditional Ghidorah here that brought the league’s trophy home, as shooting guard Ray Allen and power forward Kevin Garnett also brought a lot to the table.
Allen (20.3 ppg, 5.0 rpg, 2.5 apg, 1.3 spg, 41.0 mpg) and Garnett (18.2 ppg, 13.0 rpg, 3.0 apg, 1.7 spg, 1.0 bpg, 38.0 mpg) are legit contenders for this award, and whomever wins it? Pure guesswork, really, but Garnett topped the team in rebounds, steals, and blocks as the Celtics outscored the Lakers by 8.4 ppg—which is a lot, in truth. Holding L.A. to just 93.8 ppg was huge, when the Lakers averaged 108.6 all year.
Obviously, there was plenty of scoring to go around for Boston, but it was Garnett’s defensive efforts that really made a difference among the three Celtics stars. For that reason, we’re giving him this nod as he did what he needed to in terms of sacrificing some offense energy, but not a lot, to make sure that the title trophy returned to Boston.
2008 NBA DPOY: Garnett (original); Marcus Camby, C, Denver (revised)
Ironically, the Big Ticket also won the DPOY vote, but he’s probably not going to get it from us, in another coincidental twist. Our primary candidates are Orlando Magic center Dwight Howard (6.45 DWS), Garnett (6.25), San Antonio Spurs C Tim Duncan (6.23), Denver Nuggets C Marcus Camby (5.92), Pierce (5.67), and Detroit Pistons C Rasheed Wallace (5.09). Interesting group, for sure, and here’s why.
The Boston duo cancels each other out, while we have last year’s vote winner and our pick, too. Duncan has never won the vote for this award (yet), and we’ve not picked him, either, despite routinely high DWS marks—mostly because his team always has been “too good” in our analyses. Doesn’t seem fair, but it is what it is. As for Wallace, well … Dirty 30 is Dirty 30.
So, how does this shake out in the end? Well, it comes down to Howard, Duncan, Camby and Wallace: Orlando (16), San Antonio (8), Detroit (23), and Denver (2) all made the postseason, and the player with the slimmest margin for error was clearly Camby—although Duncan finally came close(r). So, the Camby Man is our winner here, making up for last season, when we took his vote win away. It all evens out, folks.
Camby’s stats: a career-best 10.2 defensive boards per game, augmented by a NBA-best 3.6 blocks per match, which was the second-best mark of his long career. Adding 1.1 steals per outing was just icing on the cake at that point for Camby, and without his defense, the Nuggets would have watched the 48-win Golden State Warriors in the playoffs instead of participating themselves. Defense matters, everyone!