Tyler’s Top 10: best Finals MVP’s

LeBron James was unstoppable for Cleveland in 2016 against the Warriors. 286400 Picture: AAP IMAGES

In light of Steph Curry winning the finals MVP for the Golden State Warriors, this Tyler’s Top 10 steers away from the regular lists based around footy and cricket, to take a look at the best performances in the NBA finals.

10. Dwyane Wade 2006: 34.5 PPG, 3.8 APG, 7.8 RPG, 47FG. After being down 0-2, Miami won the next four matches off the back of Wade’s mesmeric finals series. He scored 42, 36, 43 and 36 points in the final four games of the series.

9. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar 1971: 27PPG, 2.8 APG, 18.5 RPG. 60%.In his second season in the competition, Kareem took the Milwaukee Bucks to the promised land for the first time. The 24-year-old controlled the lane to sweep the Baltimore Bullets.

8. Hakeem Olajuwon 1995: 32.8 PPG, 5.5 APG, 11.5 RPG, 48% FG. Olajuwon won his second finals MVP in as many years, and fortunately enough, 1995 wasn’t hijacked by a car chase. The Dream took the sixth placed Rockets to the title, defeating teams with no less than 59 or more winning records.

7. Giannis Antetokounmpo 2021: 35.2 PPG, 13.2 RPG, 5.0 APG. This one may rank as high as it does due to Tyler’s appreciation for Giannis. But in saying that, The Greek Freak overturned a 2-0 deficit and a knee injury in the conference finals to deliver the Bucks their first title in half a century. He stepped up in the clutch with big blocks and – who can forget – dropping a 50-piece in a close out Game 6.

6. Michael Jordan 1992: 35.8 PPG, 6.5 APG, 4.8 RPG, 52%. Jordan led the Bulls to their second consecutive title over Clyde Drexler and the Portland Trail Blazers in 1992. MJ shot the lights out in game Game 1, dropping 39 points in 34 minutes with a then NBA finals record six threes.

5. Shaquille O’Neal 2001: 33 PPG, 4.8 APG, 15.8 RPG, 57% FG. The Lakers went 11-0 to reach the finals and showed no signs of slowing down against Allen Iverson and the 76ers. Shaq dominated the impenetrable defensive player Dikembe Mutombo in the short five game series.

4. Michael Jordan 1996: 27.3 PPG, 5.3 RPG, 4.2 APG. In his return year, MJ retained his rightful position atop of the NBA. Often argued as a better Finals MVP to ’93, this was regarded as such a terrific series because he – as he always did – carried the Bulls offensively and did so after a hiatus in baseball. The winning moment was achieved on father’s day, which created one of sport’s most iconic photos.

3. LeBron James 2016: 29.7 PPG, 8.9 APG, 11.3RPG, 49% FG. “OH, BLOCKED BY JAMES”. Only Lebron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers have ever come back from a 3-1 deficit in the NBA finals. Not only did he record 41 points in two of the four close out games, he delivered an iconic finals moment after several minutes of no scoring – ultimately getting revenge on Andre Iguodala and the Warriors.

2. Shaquille O’Neal 2000: 38 PPG, 2.3 APG, 16.7 RPG, 61% FG. It was Shaq’s year, as the man mountain collected the regular season MVP, the finals MVP and championship in the one season. As he often did, Shaq dominated the paint to record his first of eventual three finals MVP’s.

1. Michael Jordan 1993: 41 PPG, 6.3 APG, 8.5 RPG, 50% FG, 40% 3PT. The stat line says it all. MJ scored 55-points in Game 4 over the Phoenix Suns and scored 40 or more in four of the six games. Charles Barkley still wakes up in the middle of the night with a cold sweat after this series.