30 Years of Dubious Comparisons

The General Idea: To look back at the Finals MVP’s of the past 30 NBA Championship Teams and try to calculate, using highly questionable tactics, their career success rates.

The Specifics:
• Every year of a players career counts for one point.
• Years that include a Playoff appearance add an extra 1/2 point.
• Finals appearances count for a full point.
• Championships count for two added points.
(Because Championships are what they play for, right?)
• The last 30 years have been broken down into 10 year units, with an extra 1/2 point being awarded to Championships won while playing in the more successful Conference.
(The last 20 years belong to the West, the East has a higher Finals win total in one of the 10 year units)
• The official MVP is not, in every instance, TheLongTalks MVP.
(There are only 5 switches and the official MVP is noted in those cases)

An Example:
Player X: 16 Years (YR) | 16 Playoff Years ÷ 2 (PY) | 7 Finals Appearance (FA) | 7 Championships x 2 (WIN) 6 Bonus Points ÷ 2 (BP) Total 48

Finals MVP Success Rates:

Boris Diaw:  YR 12 | PY 7÷2 | FA 2 | WIN 1×2 | BP 1÷2 … Total 20* (Actual MVP Kawhi Leonard)

2 x MVP** LeBron James:  YR 12 | PY 9÷2 | FA 5 | WIN 2×2 | BP 0÷2 … Total 21.5*

Dirk Nowitzki:  YR 17 | PY 13÷2 | FA 2 | WIN 1×2 | BP 1÷2 … Total 28*

2 x MVP** Kobe Bryant:  YR 19 | PY 15÷2 | FA 7 | WIN 5×2 | BP 5÷2 … Total 36*

Paul Pierce:  YR 17 | PY 11÷2 | FA 2 | WIN 1×2 | BP 0÷2 … Total 26.5*

Tony Parker:  YR 14 | PY 13÷2 | FA 5 | WIN 4×2 | BP 4÷2 … Total 35.5*

The NBA’s Referees: They’ve been there since the beginning and this year was there year to shine. (Actual MVP Dwayne Wade)

3 x MVP** Tim Duncan:  YR 18 | PY 17÷2 | FA 6 | WIN 5×2 | BP 4÷2 … Total 44.5*

Rasheed Wallace:  YR 16 | PY 14÷2 | FA 3 | WIN 1×2 | BP 0÷2 … Total 28 (Actual MVP Chauncey Billups)

3 x MVP** Shaq:  YR 19 | PY 17÷2 | FA 6 | WIN 4×2 | BP 3÷2 … Total 43

6 x MVP** Michael Jordan:  YR 15 | PY 13÷2 | FA 6 | WIN 6×2 | BP 3÷2 … Total 41

2 x MVP** Hakeem Olajuwon:  YR 18 | PY 15÷2 | FA 2 | WIN 2×2 | BP 1÷2 … Total 32

2 x MVP** Isiah Thomas:  YR 13 | PY 9÷2 | FA 3 | WIN 2×2 | BP 2÷2 … Total 25.5 (Actual MVP for 1 of the 2 years, Joe Dumars)

2 x MVP** Magic Johnson:  YR 13 | PY 13÷2 | FA 9*** | WIN 5×2 | BP 3÷2 … Total 38 (Actual MVP for 1 of the 2 years, James Worthy)

Larry Bird:  YR 13 | PY 12÷2 | FA 5*** | WIN 3×2 | BP 1÷2 … Total 30.5

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar:  YR 20 | PY 18÷2 | FA 10*** | WIN 6×2 | BP 0÷2 … Total 51!

Final Thoughts:
• It’s pretty impressive that Magic had 9 Finals appearance to go with his 5 Wins
• It takes a little bit of Googling to find out how many Finals Larry Bird lost. Plus, his career stats don’t appear to be listed on ESPN’s website.
• Kareem Abdul-Jabbar does not get enough talk in talks about Greatest Player to Ever Play the Game. His 51 is the highest number by a good margin. That man was a basketball playing machine. TheLongTalk’s theory is that he seems to be a bit of a grump and that’s keeping people from loving his career the way they loved MJ’s and Magics.
• Player X, the example listed at the beginning of this insanely long post, is a real player that never won a Finals MVP… but had some pretty Big Shots. Any guesses on who he might be?
• If you see any problems with TheLongTalk’s math, let TLT know.


*Active Player  ** Within the last 30 years  *** Including Finals appearances outside of the 30 year window

4 thoughts on “30 Years of Dubious Comparisons”

  1. Oh where to start…first of all, do you know how to use google? I cannot believe you said it takes a bit googling to find out how many Finals Larry Bird lost. After .35 seconds google gave me this website that easily provided the answer for Bird, and many other Legends of the game. http://www.complex.com/sports/2012/06/how-does-lebron-james-playoff-record-compare-to-the-all-time-greats/larry-bird

    and for basketball stats, be a pro, use http://www.basketball-reference.com

    Do you even know what the internet is?

    Also, Player X is Robert Horry, Leonard should’ve won the MVP, and my despising of Rasheed Wallace grows every time I see his name. There is no way he was MVP of that finals and it is the biggest travesty in sports history that, that guy has a ring…

    Magic, Bird, and Thomas all had relatively short careers by today’s standards. That’s what playing in the 80’s was though. I once heard Jordan talking about putting on weight and taking strength and conditioning seriously because he believed he couldn’t take the physical punishment of the NBA at the time from the Pistons, Celtics, Kermit Washingtons, of the league if he stayed skinnier/not as strong.

    D-Wade wouldn’t have lasted 3 years in the NBA in the 80’s the way he plays…

    Also, my favorite part of this is how you didn’t even add up D-Wade’s numbers but just gave that one to the officials…that was great, but it also proves how bitter you still are about that, which is also great.

    And by the way, Bosh should’ve one won one of those MVPs instead of LeBron.

  2. 12

    That LeBron comparison site is helpful. TLT didn’t see it before, but it would’ve saved some time. Also, it exposes some errors in the original post…

    TheLongTalk has The Dream listed with only 2 Finals Appearances, but the link says he went 2 of 3. TLT didn’t realize that The Dream had a very early career lose to the Boston Celtics on his record. That changes his final number to 33.

    You’re right about Robert Horry, but you’re wrong about Rasheed Wallace. Wallace was killing the Lakers once Malone’s knee took him out of the Finals. The truly amazing thing is the how well Malone had held up until that point. He’d already faced off against Timmy & Garnett before taking on Sheed. If Malone had been health for that series… Lakers might have won it. But with Malone down the Lake Show didn’t have any answer for Wallace.

    What surprises TheLongTalk is how short MJ’s career was. With the year and a half spent swinging at baseballs balanced against the two seasons as a Wizard, one would think MJ would have more years on his list then 15. He did a lot in a short time.

    And as for the Wade thing… yes, so very biter. Even still.

  3. I’m having a hard time reading your equations. Maybe it’s because it’s 4:09 after a long day of coding.

    Let me take another look and see what I think :)

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