This NBA Tuesday miniseries reaches a year where there was a classic matchup in the Finals: Boston versus Los Angeles, just like it was the 1980s all over again. It was sad the league chose to glorify a (probable) rapist, though, but as we showed last week, we are nothing but objective when it comes to the statistics. Here is some context for today’s piece, and without another word, it’s off to the awards analysis! Enjoy … we did.
2010 NBA FINALS MVP: Kobe Bryant, SG, Los Angeles (original); Pau Gasol, C, Los Angeles (revised)
The Lakers beat the Celtics in a 7-game series that saw L.A. win the final two games on its home court. Lakers shooting guard Kobe Bryant—28.6 ppg, 8.0 rpg, 3.9 apg, and 2.1 spg in 41.1 mpg—was named the Finals MVP for the second season in a row, despite shooting just 40.5 percent from the floor (and hitting only 31.9 percent of his threes). This was classic Kobe tomfoolery, overcompensating for a lack of quality by overwhelming everyone with quantity.
He took 73 more shots (!) in this series than anyone else on his team, and when you’re barely cracking 40 percent with those shots, you’re actually hurting your team. Bryant made up for with the rebounds and the steals on defense, which shows impressive ability to erase his own flaws with some of his strengths. But can we really give the MVP to this chucker? We have to consider other players, like Lakers center Pau Gasol, who was the more-valuable player for L.A. during the regular season (again).
Gasol’s line was impressive, too—18.6 ppg, 11.6 rpg, 3.7 apg, and 2.6 bpg in 41.9 mpg—while shooting 47.8 percent from the floor. His defensive presence was stronger than Bryant’s, in terms of combined boards, blocks, and steals, and he was on the floor more, too, albeit not by much. Let’s also not forget that Bryant shot 25 percent from the floor in Game 7, almost costing his team the title via his chucking recklessly. The Lakers won Game 7 in spite of Kobe, not because of him. We’re going with Gasol here.
2010 NBA DPOY: Dwight Howard, C, Orlando (original); Gerald Wallace, SF, Charlotte (revised)
Orlando Magic C Dwight Howard, who is playing in Taiwan this year oddly enough, won the DPOY vote again, after posting 7.13 DWS during the season. The only other three contenders for this award are Charlotte Bobcats small forward Gerald Wallace (6.16), Cleveland Cavaliers SF LeBron James (5.16), and Atlanta Hawks power forward Josh Smith (5.10). All four players resided in the Eastern Conference, and all four teams made the postseason as well, making this analysis straightforward.
Here are the playoff margins of error for each squad: Cleveland (21), Orlando (19), Atlanta (13), and Charlotte (4). That means the award goes to Wallace, surprisingly, although he did finish third in the vote. His stats: 8.1 defensive boards, 1.5 steals, and 1.1 blocks per game. Thus, the Bobcats led the NBA in scoring defense (93.8 ppg), and without Wallace, they would have missed out on the postseason action.