This current NBA Tuesday miniseries reaches a new decade, as we’re almost caught up with the present day. This season is the first since 2014 without the Golden State Warriors in the Finals, although we do get the “Return of the King” instead. In addition, the year was the infamous one when Covid attacked and ended the regular season somewhat prematurely, forcing an odd reconstitution of the playoff seeding months later once the pandemic was somewhat under control. Fascinating times!
2020 NBA FINALS MVP: LeBron James, PG, Los Angeles Lakers (original, confirmed)
A few oddities here: The Los Angeles Lakers won their first NBA title since 2010, and LeBron James officially listed as a point guard for this season. Go figure! Anyway, the Lakers beat the Miami Heat, one of James’ former teams, in six games, making this the third franchise that he won an NBA title with in his career. He also won the Finals MVP vote at the time for posting these numbers: 29.8 ppg, 11.8 rpg, 8.5 apg, and 1.2 spg in 39.3 mpg. James led the Lakers in minutes, points, rebounds, and assists.
Is there anyone else to consider? Power forward Anthony Davis played very well, too, posting 25.0 ppg, 10.7 rpg, 3.2 apg. 2.0 bpg, and 1.3 spg in 38.2 mpg. That’s a very good stat line, too, but we see James with the edge for minutes and the overall categorical dominance on his own team. The fact James outrebounded Davis is pretty telling, so we confirm the King’s award—his fourth overall Finals MVP.
That ties him with Tim Duncan in our world, trailing only Bill Russell (5), Magic Johnson (5), and Michael Jordan (6). That’s a starting five for the ages: PG Johnson, shooting guard Jordan, small forward James, PF Duncan, and center Russell. Wow! We’d take those guys against any other five guys in NBA history, for sure.
2020 NBA DPOY: Giannis Antetokounmpo, PF, Milwaukee (original, confirmed)
Due to the shortened season, our DPOY threshold has been lowered to 4.33 DWS this year. That leaves us with just two candidates, in truth: Milwaukee Bucks PF Giannis Antetokounmpo (5.02) and Davis (4.40). Antetokounmpo also won the MVP vote during this season, although we gave the award to someone else. In a fun twist, both the Bucks and the Lakers finished atop their respective conferences, so we will confirm the Greek Freak’s award since his DWS mark was so much higher. Fair is fair.
His numbers: 11.4 defensive rpg, 1.0 spg, and 1.0 bpg. The Bucks led the NBA in scoring margin (10.1 ppg), thanks to these defensive—and offensive—effort from Antetokounmpo. The defensive boards represent the highest mark of his career, at age 25, and his overall rebounding (13.6) was also a career best. Milwaukee was a force to be reckoned with in the league, thanks to the Greek Freak’s massive efforts at both ends of the floor.