Our current NBA Tuesday miniseries is almost caught up with the present day! That means by next month we will be on to a new miniseries (hint: see NHL Saturday for a clue). Yet let’s finish up this miniseries first, okay? Right. Our seasonal analysis this time takes on another shortened year, due to a late start in the fall (with the late completion of the prior year, due to Covid). The league played just a 72-game season, but the end result was somewhat exciting and sad … read on to find out what we mean!

2021 NBA FINALS MVP: Giannis Antetokounmpo, PF, Milwaukee (original, confirmed)

The Phoenix Suns won the first two games of the Finals by double digits each time, and it looked like they were on their way to winning their first NBA title—as well as giving famed point guard Chris Paul his moment in the sun. But alas, the Milwaukee Bucks came roaring back to win four straight games and claim their first NBA title since 1971. It was shocking, really, as Paul deserves better from a league that fixes stuff all the time. Anyway, Bucks power forward Giannis Antetokounmpo won the MVP.

After all, the Greek Freak brings a lot of overseas interest to the NBA, doesn’t he? Yep. Someone did the math. His numbers—35.2 ppg, 13.2 rpg, 5.0 apg, 1.8 bpg, and 1.2 spg in 39.8 mpg—are impressive, certainly, although the Bucks strangely had a well-rounded in the Finals. Antetokounmpo led Milwaukee in points, rebounds, and blocks only, but he was clearly the best player on the Bucks during this matchup. Overall, Milwaukee outscored Phoenix by just 2.4 ppg in this series, which is close for a six gamer.

We took away his league MVP nods in 2019 and 2020, but we did confirm his 2020 DPOY nod, so there’s that. He’s been all over the place as a new face of the NBA for the 2020s. And he definitely deserves this Finals MVP hardware, so we confirm it. We’re just disappointed the NBA decided to shaft an aging CP3 in favor of the much younger Greek Freak, you know? Sports will break your heart in the end, always.

2021 NBA DPOY: Rudy Gobert, C, Utah (original, confirmed)

Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert (5.23 DWS) was the only player to meet our adjusted threshold for Defensive Win Shares (4.39) in this shortened season. The best news is he won the vote, too, so we will confirm his second nod from us (and his third vote win, overall, as we took this nod away from him in 2018 and 2019 but gave it to him in 2017). The Jazz finished with the top record in the Western Conference (52-20) while finishing second in the conference in scoring defense. That was thanks to Gobert.

His stats: 10.1 defensive rebounds per game, plus 2.7 blocks and 0.6 steals per game. Gobert doesn’t do a lot of passing and scoring as a result of his defense, but his teammates surely did—Utah led the conference in scoring offense, so one definitely fed the other. Perhaps if the NBA granted extra assists like the NHL does for guys at the start of a scoring play, we’d see higher assist marks for defensive-minded players (among others). Anyway, congrats to Gobert!