The Finals MVPs

It's Finals time, and we have to ask which player will step up and "will their team to win?" There is an award for this: the Finals MVP. Like many voted on awards, the criteria is nebulous and up to the voters discretion. A reason we think you like the Boxscore Geeks is that even if you don't agree with our methods, we do try to explain them. So today I decided to pretend we had a vote on all of the NBA Finals MVPs and decided to go back to the start of the 90s.

LeBron last year cemented that winning the title is mandatory for an MVP. With that in mind, I've done as follows. Every time a team wins a game I pick the best player on the winning team and give them a point. The Player with the most points "wins" the Finals MVP. In the event of a tie, the tiebreaker goes to the player that had the most productive wins. Of course, I use the Wins Produced formula.

Before we get going, the current status of this year's finals:

There is a three-way tie for Finals MVP on the Warriors between Andre Iguodala (in the lead), Draymond Green, and Stephen Curry. There is a two-way tie for Finals MVP on the Cavaliers between LeBron James (in the lead) and Tristan Thompson.


You gave the Finals MVP to who?

Season Team Opponent BSG Finals MVP MVP Points WP Tie?
2015 Golden State Cleveland Andre Iguodala 2 0.51 No
2014 San Antonio Miami Kawhi Leonard 3 1.39 No
2013 Miami San Antonio  LeBron James 1 0.51 Yes
2013 Miami San Antonio Dwyane Wade 1 0.42 Yes
2013 Miami San Antonio Chris Bosh 1 0.37 Yes
2013 Miami  San Antonio Mike Miller 1 0.22 Yes
2012 Miami Oklahoma City Shane Battier 2 0.57 No
2011 Dallas Miami Tyson Chandler 1 0.45 Yes
2011 Dallas Miami Jason Terry 1 0.31 Yes
2011 Dallas Miami Shawn Marion 1 0.29 Yes
2011 Dallas Miami Jason Kidd 1 0.28 Yes
2010 L.A. Lakers Boston Pau Gasol 2 0.75 No

We agree with conventional wisdom in the last three Finals. From 2000 to 2012 though, we're a bit off. Let's compare:

In 2012 we voted Shane Battier while the voters picked LeBron James. Regarding total production, LeBron was the second best player (behind Shane Battier) Another note is Shane's MVP games came early in the series, so even if he had a shot, voters forgot it by the time the Heat finally won.

In 2011 we voted Tyson Chandler and heck three other Mavs over Dirk. Sorry Dirk, your production was way off in the Finals. Dirk had been shooting over 60% True Shooting heading into the Finals (regular season and playoffs combined) He ended up the Finals with a 53.7% True Shooting. Luckily he had a good squad to cover the slack.

In 2010 we voted in Pau Gasol over Kobe Bryant. Now, Kobe was the second best Laker and did earn an MVP point. That said, it wasn't close, Pau put up twice the production and MVP points as Kobe. Pau was easily the Finals MVP, and the voters snubbed him hardcore by not giving it to him.


You're the real Finals MVP!

Season Team Opponent BSG Finals MVP MVP Points WP Tie?
2009 L.A. Lakers Orlando Kobe Bryant 1 0.4 Yes
2009 L.A. Lakers Orlando Pau Gasol 1 0.39 Yes
2009 L.A. Lakers Orlando Lamar Odom 1 0.33 Yes
2009 L.A. Lakers Orlando Trevor Ariza 1 0.31 Yes
2008 Boston L.A. Lakers Ray Allen 2 0.98 No
2007 San Antonio Cleveland Tim Duncan 1 0.44 Yes
2007 San Antonio Cleveland Bruce Bowen 1 0.36 Yes
2007 San Antonio Cleveland Manu Ginobili 1 0.29 Yes
2007 San Antonio Cleveland Tony Parker 1 0.25 Yes
2006 Miami Dallas Dwyane Wade 2 0.89 Yes
2005 San Antonio Detroit Manu Ginobili 3 1.25 No
2004 Detroit San Antonio Chauncey Billups 2 0.66 No
2003 San Antonio New Jersey Tim Duncan 4 1.83 No
2002 L.A. Lakers New Jersey Shaquille O'Neal 2 0.81 No
2001 L.A. Lakers Philadelphia Shaquille O'Neal 1 0.53 Yes
2001 L.A. Lakers Philadelphia Rick Fox 1 0.37 Yes
2001 L.A. Lakers Philadelphia Robert Horry 1 0.36 Yes
2001 L.A. Lakers Philadelphia Kobe Bryant 1 0.21 Yes
2000 L.A. Lakers Indiana Shaquille O'Neal 3 1.19 No

In the 2000s, we did a much better job agreeing with conventional wisdom, including agreeing on Kobe! Shaq is an easy fill in the blank. Alright, some differences

In 2008 we gave the award to Ray Allen over Paul Pierce. Pierce was the second best Celtic to Allen on total wins. Much like Pau in 2010 though the difference in performance was too vast. This should have gone to Ray Allen.

In 2007 we handed the award to Tim Duncan over Tony Parker. To be fair, it was a multiway tie. Also, regarding total production, Tony Parker was about as good for the season as Tim Duncan. No real complaints with the difference here.

In 2005 Manu Ginobili was robbed of a Finals MVP. Duncan was fine and the second best Spur for the series. Still, Manu should have taken home the prize.


No disrepect, I had to look him up after doing the research for this piece.

Season Team Opponent BSG Finals MVP MVP Points WP Tie?
1999 San Antonio New York Tim Duncan 2 0.86 Yes
1999 San Antonio New York Mario Elie 2 0.55 Yes
1998 Chicago Utah Scottie Pippen 2 0.72 No
1997 Chicago Utah Michael Jordan 3 0.95 No
1996 Chicago Seattle Dennis Rodman 2 0.86 No
1995 Houston Orlando Mario Elie 1 0.39 Yes
1995 Houston Orlando Sam Cassell 1 0.36 Yes
1995 Houston Orlando Kenny Smith 1 0.32 Yes
1995 Houston Orlando Clyde Drexler 1 0.25 Yes
1994 Houston New York Otis Thorpe 1 0.46 Yes
1994 Houston New York Vernon Maxwell 1 0.27 Yes
1994 Houston New York Hakeem Olajuwon 1 0.24 Yes
1994 Houston New York Sam Cassell 1 0.23 Yes
1993 Chicago Phoenix Horace Grant 2 0.88 No
1992 Chicago Portland Michael Jordan 2 0.84 No
1991 Chicago L.A. Lakers Michael Jordan 2 0.98 No
1990 Detroit L.A. Lakers Isiah Thomas 2 0.59 Yes
1990 Detroit L.A. Lakers Bill Laimbeer 2 0.59 Yes

The Bulls second three-peat had one of the best big-threes in NBA history in Rodman, Jordan, and Pippen. Unsurprisingly instead of giving Michael Jordan three Finals MVPs, each of them managed to earn one.

Hakeem's 1995 Finals MVP is a lot like Dirk Nowitzki's. It was his team, and he was the marquee player, but he didn't actually play at top level in the finals. Mario Elie was the Rockets' best player and our Finals MVP. Combine that with his big 1999 Finals and he may be one of the most underappreciated Finals players ever!

In 1994 we give the nod to Otis Thorpe. Now, Hakeem had a dominant Finals and was close in production to Otis. That said Otis's offensive rebounding and passing were astounding.

In 1993 Michael Jordan's production was on par with Horace Grant for the NBA Finals. That said, Horace took over more games and easily gets our vote. He's one of the most underappreciated players in NBA history.

There you go, more Finals MVPs than you could want (unless you want the 80s. The box score data is incomplete there, but I'm working on it!) I will say we knocked Michael Jordan down a bit, but at four Finals MVPs, his legacy seems safe. Mario Elie was the standout name to me. Finally, Tim Duncan's 2003 Finals MVP may be the most impressive in history. Also, how odd that Isiah Thomas and Kobe both still get an award from me? See you next time!