With last week’s look at the NBA Finals MVP and Defensive Player of the Year awards for 2022, we have come to the end of the second miniseries for NBA Tuesday—almost three years after we started our first one at the dawn of the Covid pandemic. We will start with our “Best Teams Ever” NBA miniseries next week, but in the meantime, we’re looking to see how “accurate” we were (or were not) in confirming the above voted awards. This is what we learned:

  • ABA Finals MVPs (1968-1976): We confirmed seven of nine winners, with our only disagreements coming in 1972 and 1973. Overall, three players won our award twice, as well—Roger Brown (1970, 1972), Artis Gilmore (1973, 1975), and Julius Erving (1974, 1976).
  • NBA Finals MVPs (1969-2022): We disagreed with the voters 13 different times in this 54-season span. That’s a pretty good track record for the voters, compared to other miniseries we’ve been doing (like the NFL Super Bowl MVPs, for example). Our longest stretch of agreement was from 1989 to 2006, and the most-recognized players in our minds here should not surprise anybody—Bill Russell (5), Magic Johnson (5), Michael Jordan (6), Tim Duncan (4), and LeBron James (4). Following them closely were George Mikan (3), Larry Bird (3), and Shaquille O’Neal (3). Two-time winners included Bob Pettit, Wilt Chamberlain, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Hakeem Olajuwon, Kevin Durant, and Stephen Curry. That is as good of an all-time NBA roster as any, for sure.
  • NBA DPOY (1983-2002): In 40 seasons, we confirmed just eight vote winners of this award. That’s all due to sabermetrics we have now, though, perhaps. Some of the vote winners weren’t even close to be deserving; others played for either bad teams or teams that were too good to have their defense matter “enough” in the grand scheme. We are comfortable, though, with our methodology, so come at us if you want. Our list of multiple winners includes Olajuwon (3), Dikembe Mutombo (3), Andre Drummond (3), Chris Webber (2), Dwight Howard (2), DeAndre Jordan (2), and Rudy Gobert (2). It’s easier to win this award as a big man, of course, so props to the “smaller” guys who won our nods here, too, like Jordan, Grant Hill, Gerald Wallace, and Andre Iguodala.

Well, that’s a wrap. We will see you next week with our first entry in the “Best Teams Ever” series for professional basketball!