In a mutated off-budding of yesterday’s frivolous but fun All-Decade All-NBA teams, today we have the All Multiple NBA Finals MVP Awards Team. 10 players in NBA history have amassed 2 or more NBA Finals MVP awards. This is the list:
That is not a 10 Greatest Players list, but it’s a damn close approximation of one. Finals MVP was not awarded prior to 1969, the last year that Bill Russell played, and a year his Celtics won the title (the Finals MVP went to the great Jerry West in a losing effort). So granting that this list completely fails to capture anything that happened in the 1960s, it’s a solid indication of who the best players were in their days. That’s also (by popular opinion anyway) the best PG, the two best SGs, the two best SFs, the best PF, and three of the top five Cs of all time.
It’s also a bitchin’ team! Sure 5 of the 10 players could be classified as centers, but who cares? Distributing playing time is the imaginary coach’s (Phil Jackson) imaginary problem. And now we’ll help him solve it.
Let’s all agree now that as great as he was, Willis Reed is a garbage time player on this team. There’s just no way to get court time for all the great big men in a 48 minute game. But I’m sure he’s a beast in scrimmages. Honestly we should probably ditch one more big guy as nothing but a foul trouble / injury insurance plan, especially given that James and Bird could both give PF minutes (so could Magic if there was another PG on the team), but I can’t diss Cap, Snaq Daddy, Dream, or Timmy! that way.
240 total minutes are broken up thusly:
48 minutes for point guard
96 minutes for wings
96 minutes for bigs
PG Magic 28min, LeBron 20min
SG Jordan 29min, Kobe 19min
SF Bird 29min, LeBron 9min, Kobe 10min
PF Duncan 24min, Hakeem 24min
C Kareem 24 Min, Shaq 24min
Total minutes: Magic 28, Jordan 29, Kobe 29, Bird 29, LeBron 29, Duncan 24, Hakeem 24, Kareem 24, Shaq 24
Magic, Kobe, LeBron – 9 Minutes
LeBron, Jordan, Kobe – 10 Minutes
Magic, Jordan, Bird – 19 Minutes
LeBron, Kobe, Bird – 10 Minutes
Running team: Magic, Michael, Kobe, LeBron, Duncan
Defensive team: Michael, Kobe, LeBron, Duncan, Hakeem
Shooting team: LeBron, Michael, Kobe, Bird, Kareem
Giant team: Magic, LeBron, Bird, Hakeem, Shaq
Clutch team: Magic, Michael, Kobe, Bird, Kareem
PJax Team: LeBron, Michael, Kobe, Duncan, Shaq
Riley Team: Magic, Jordan, Bird, LeBron, Kareem
Honestly having nine all-time greats is still too many. An eight player rotation would work way better. Years ago I wrote a post making the absolute best playing rotation I could out of players I’d seen play in their primes (mid-80s to today which was probably 2009 or 10 at the time), and every one of them is in this group. We had: Magic, MJ, Kobe, Bird, Bron, Tim, and Hakeem. I know that’s only 7 players, but I honestly don’t need any more to fill out the minutes or the skill sets. This shorter rotation would play thusly:
PG: Magic 34min, LeBron 14min
SG: Jordan 36min, Kobe 12min
SF: Bird 24min, Kobe 24min
PF: LeBron 20min, Bird 10min, Duncan 18min
C: Hakeem 33min, Duncan 15min
Total minutes: Magic 34, Michael, 36, Kobe 36, Bird 34, James, 34, Tim 33, Hakeem 33
Very manageable minutes for these guys even if they give maximum effort all game every game. Adding an 8th player really knocks the minutes down. Everybody could play 30. Like so:
PG: Magic 30min, LeBron 18min
SG: Jordan 30min, Kobe 18min
SF: Bird 30min, Kobe 12min, LeBron 6
PF: LeBron 6, Duncan 30, Hakeem 12
C: Hakeem 18, Shaq 30
I love doing this sort of fantasy all-time GMing. Way more fun than coming up with lists and rankings because you can picture line-ups and play styles.
One last game: NBA Finals MVP Teams by Decade:
Rotation: Lots of Magic and Bird. Little to no Worthy or Ced. Huge on the perimeter. Great rebounding and shooting. Lack of shotblocking and athleticism. Most fun thing would be to watch wing Magic run a lane for point Magic while wing Bird spaced the floor and big Bird (ha!) fought for rebounding position. Kareem was well past his prime, and Moses was at his apex and would be necessary to secure boards, but I do think Kareem finishes games with the double Magic, double Bird line-up (maybe Dumars gets in for defenses purposes).
PG: 1991 Jordan, 1990 Isiah Thomas
SG: 1992 Jordan, 1993 Jordan
SF: 1996 Jordan, 1997 Jordan, 1998 Jordan
PF: 1999 Duncan
C: 1994 Hakeem, 1995 Hakeem
Rotation: Lots of younger Jordan. No Zeke. Perfect 4/5 rotation. Unbelievable defensively. Would be fun to see the various incarnations of Jordan come into play. 27 year old Jordan averaged 11 assists per game in the Finals and would be the PG. 1992 and 1993 Jordan were both devastating from behind the arc in the Finals, so they’d be the primary floor spacing agents. 1996 Jordan was basically operating as a forward anyway with Scottie manning the point.
Rotation: Matchup specific with very fresh, dominant big men. Double Duncan for the last 2 mintues. Kobe, Wade, and Paul manning the wings would be excellent. Could also go big with Wade at PG for matchups. Shaq, Shaq, and Shaq could be terrifyingly aggressive all game. Everybody could pretty much just be themselves because of the two PGs who made the team, but because Parker isn’t pass first or a floor spacer, Billups would probably be the main man there to give room for all the interior devastation.
PG: 2012 LeBron
SG: 2010 Kobe
SF: 2013 LeBron
PF: 2011 Dirk Nowitzki
Tags: Basketball, Bill Russell, cedric maxwell, chauncey billups, dirk nowitzki, finals, hakeem olajuwon, Isaiah Thomas, james worthy, Jerry West, joe dumars, kareem abdul jabbar, kobe bryant, Larry Bird, lebron james, Magic Johnson, Michael Jordan, Most, mvp, NBA, nba finals mvp, Paul Pierce, shaquille o neal, Shaquille O'Neal, sports, tim duncan, Tony Parker, Willis Reed