It’s Year VII of the King on our current NBA Tuesday miniseries, and for the third year (yawn) in a row, the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Golden State Warriors met up in the NBA Finals. After losing in 7 games the year before, the Warriors left no doubt as to which team was better—although the added component of one of the league’s all-time greats to an already dominant roster certainly helped. See below to see what we mean … enjoy!
2017 NBA FINALS MVP: Kevin Durant, PF, Golden State (original, confirmed)
Golden State needed just 5 games to dispatch the defending champions from Cleveland, and it wasn’t too close as the Warriors outscored the Cavs by more than 17 points per game in the four wins. Their star power forward Kevin Durant (35.2 ppg, 8.2 rpg, 5.4 apg, 1.6 bpg, and 1.0 spg in 39.8 mpg) won the MVP vote at the time. The scoring, blocks, and minutes averages all led the Warriors in the series, even though it was a literal All-Star lineup fielded in the City by the Bay.
Durant also led his team’s regulars in shot percentage (.556), three-point percentage (.474), and free-throw percentage (.927). It was a dominant display for the age-28 superstar, who had lost to LeBron James and the Miami Heat in the 2012 Finals. If the Golden State roster had been equal to the Cleveland roster before this season, adding Durant as a free agent certainly turned this team into a veritable monster. Maybe we will write about it someday on the side, but for now, we confirm Durant’s award, easily.
2017 NBA DPOY: Draymond Green, PF, Golden State (original); Rudy Gobert, C, Utah (revised)
Yeah, we realize that both players are listed at the same position for the same team, but Golden State PF Draymond Green (5.40 DWS) won the DPOY vote, and he is a confirmed finalist for the award in our own analysis, too. He joins Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert (5.98), Detroit Pistons C Andre Drummond (5.28), Miami Heat C Hassan Whiteside (5.27), and New Orleans Pelicans C Anthony Davis (5.14) in the debate. Drummond won our DPOY award last year, and Davis won our ROTY nod in 2013.
The Warriors had a 27-game playoff cushion, so Green won’t be keeping his hardware in our corner of the sports universe. The other guys? The Pistons missed the postseason altogether, while the Pelicans did, too. That brings this down to Gobert and Whiteside, and the Heat finished ninth in the Eastern Conference, missing out on the postseason due to a tiebreaker with the Chicago Bulls. Alas, that leaves just Gobert standing, as the Jazz had an 11-game margin of error for the playoffs. So be it.
It makes sense, as his DWS mark was the highest in the league, based on the following statistics: 8.9 defensive rpg and a league-high 2.6 bpg. At age 24, he was on the court for 33.9 mpg, a career-high mark at the time. The Jazz coughed up an NBA-low 96.8 ppg, too, so Gobert was the reason for it, really, as he personally ended 12.1 possessions per game for the opponent. He did finish a distant second to Green in the voting at the time, so we’re very good with this based on his DWS mark and his role on the Jazz.