It’s Year IV of the King on our current NBA Tuesday miniseries, and this might have been a good sign that a team can develop fatigue playing in the Finals for four straight seasons. That kind of deep playoff run surely takes its toll on the offseason recovery plans, and we have seen it happen recently with the Golden State Warriors when they made 5 straight Finals appearances (!) from 2015-2019. It’s just too hard … anyway, on with the weekly fun: Enjoy!
2014 NBA FINALS MVP: Kawhi Leonard, SF, San Antonio (original, confirmed)
The San Antonio Spurs got revenge for their 7-game loss in the Finals to the Miami Heat the year before by coming back and dropping the Heat in 5 games—outscoring Miami by 14 points per game, overall. It wasn’t even close. Heat small forward LeBron James was the best player in the series, still, but he wasn’t “valuable” when his team was getting hammered. Thus, Spurs SF Kawhi Leonard was voted the MVP: He led the Spurs in blocks (1.2 per game), while scoring 17.8 ppg and grabbing 6.4 rpg.
In truth, Leonard’s stat line is underwhelming. But point guard Tony Parker literally averaged just 0.2 rpg as the top scorer on the team, while center Tim Duncan produced the only double-double effort in the series (15.4 ppg, 10.0 rpg, 2.0 apg). Leonard’s all-around game—which included 2.0 apg and 1.6 spg—is good, but generally, this was a team effort as the Spurs had six players scoring at least 9.2 ppg overall. It comes down to Leonard and Duncan to us, and neither stat line screams “MVP” at us.
All the advanced metrics point to Leonard, however: offensive rating, defensive rating, game scores, etc. Duncan has a superior usage mark, but Leonard played two more minutes total in the five games. We will just err on the side of caution here and confirm Leonard’s vote win. We have no issues with it, under all this scrutiny.
2014 NBA DPOY: Joakim Noah, C, Chicago (original); DeAndre Jordan, C, Los Angeles Clippers (revised)
Only three players meet our 5 DWS threshold for this season: Chicago Bulls C Joakim Noah (6.63), Indiana Pacers SF Paul George (6.38), and Los Angeles Clippers C DeAndre Jordan (5.85). Noah won the vote, but of course, this will come down to playoff margins for us to decide: Indiana (19), Chicago (11), Los Angeles (9). The Clippers actually won the Pacific Division with 57 wins, but the Western Conference was so dominant, the Phoenix Suns missed out despite winning 48 games. Shocking.
So, despite finishing third in the real vote, Jordan wins this award from us with the following statistical output: 9.5 defensive boards, 2.5 blocks, and 1.0 steals per game. He led the league in overall rebounding (13.6 rpg), too, while adding 0.9 assists. Jordan wasn’t much of an outlet guy feeding the fast break, but with the Clippers scoring so well overall—107.9 ppg, tops in the league—the defense needed to be just good enough, and it was (101.0 ppg, fifth in the conference), thanks to Jordan’s efforts.