This site’s second NBA Tuesday miniseries reaches an interesting season (as usual?), with some context for today’s column thrown in for good measure. The 2009 Finals saw an undesired outcome, and it will be our job, of course, to assess the past in terms of separating fact from fiction … and reducing hype to nil. This is all about logic, not emotion—truly. And we prove it this week with pure objectivity as always!

2009 NBA FINALS MVP: Kobe Bryant, SG, Los Angeles Lakers (original, confirmed)

The Los Angeles Lakers beat the Orlando Magic in five games to claim their fourth title of the decade, and shooting guard Kobe Bryant was voted the MVP for the following stat line: 32.4 ppg, 7.4 apg, 5.6 rpg, 1.4 spg, and 1.4 bpg in 43.8 mpg on just 43-percent shooting from the floor. Bryant, in usual quantity-over-quality fashion, took a stunning 135 shots in 5 games, and the next-highest shot-attempt total (60) on the L.A. roster came from center Pau Gasol—who made 60 percent of his shots.

Gasol, who scored 18.6 ppg, also topped the Lakers in rebounds (9.2) and blocks (1.8) over 42.4 mpg, but what stands out here to us is Bryant’s extremely irregular assist numbers in this series. He averaged only 4.9 apg during the regular season, where Gasol topped him in overall Win Shares. But in this five-game stretch, we may have been seeing Bryant at his all-time “best” when it came to involving his teammates. Never in his career did Bryant come close to sustaining this kind of assist rate for a full season.

We will confirm his MVP vote. Bryant was scoring inefficiently, but he was making sure his teammates got good looks, too, as power forward Lamar Odom (13.4 ppg on 54.2-percent shooting) and point guard Derek Fisher (11.0 ppg on 50-percent shooting) were the prime beneficiaries of Bryant’s rare ball generosity. Fisher especially deserves an extra award here for ceding his primary point guard duties to Bryant. Gasol also shut down the Magic’s primary player here on defense, a big sacrifice as well.

2009 NBA DPOY: Dwight Howard, C, Orlando (original); Tim Duncan, C, San Antonio (revised)

That player was Dwight Howard, the Orlando center, who won the DPOY vote, even though we previously gave him this hardware two seasons prior. Only four players, shockingly, met our threshold for this award in 2009: Howard (7.56 DWS), Cleveland Cavaliers small forward LeBron James (6.51), Boston Celtics point guard Rajon Rondo (5.07), and San Antonio Spurs C Tim Duncan (5.03). Clearly, it was not a year for defense in the NBA.

So, how does this pan out with playoff impact? Cleveland (30-win margin), Boston (26), Orlando (23), and San Antonio (8) all made the postseason, which means perennial contender Duncan wins his first DPOY from us, even as he finished just 11th in the voting process. His teams were always too good for him to win this award, which is amusing that in his age-32 season, he finally snags this trophy for the first time—barely, with that DWS mark.

His numbers: 8.0 defensive boards, 1.7 bpg, and 0.5 spg which manifested into 3.5 apg. The Spurs were in decline at this point, somewhat, winning “just” 54 games in a very competitive Western Conference. Allowing only 93.3 ppg, however, the lowest mark in the conference, helped San Antonio claim the Southwest Division crown and a playoff berth. That would not have been as probable without Duncan’s presence on the defensive end of the court.