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Top 5 players who could've won NBA Finals MVP but didn't

Tim Duncan could have won the 2007 NBA Finals MVP
Tim Duncan could have won the 2007 NBA Finals MVP
ANALYST

Crowning an NBA Finals MVP ought to be more straightforward than the regular season, considering the limited pool of participants available. Giannis Antetokounmpo was the unanimous choice following his incredible series run in the series and 50-point title-clinching game.

Even as easy as it is expected to be, there are situations where the choice is not entirely agreed upon. Few deserving players have been robbed as it seems like only the overall points average is being considered.

The last time a player from the losing team won the NBA Finals MVP was in 1969, when Jerry West was rewarded for his impressive showing. It was well-deserved, seeing how he averaged 37.9 points and 7.4 assists. However, that was the first and only time a player from the losing team won the finals MVP.

If the NBA was still handing out MVPs to players on opposing teams, LeBron James could have won the award in 2015. The Cleveland Cavaliers lost in six games, but LeBron put together a monster performance throughout the series.

That said, here are the top five players who could have won the NBA Finals MVP but did not.


#5 Dave Cowens - 1976 NBA Finals

Team owner Wyc Grousbeck of the Boston Celtics receives the Eastern Conference trophy from Dave Cowens
Team owner Wyc Grousbeck of the Boston Celtics receives the Eastern Conference trophy from Dave Cowens

Jo Jo White was awarded the 1976 NBA Finals MVP after putting together an incredible performance, especially in a close Game 5. But Dave Cowens was arguably the most impactful throughout the entire series.

The Boston Celtics closed out the series against the Phoenix Suns in six games, thanks to Cowens. He had a better night after leading the charge towards the end of the game, registering 21 points and 17 rebounds.

Although White had a better point average - 21.7, Cowens had an overall masterful performance in the series, averaging 20.5 points and 16.5 rebounds. He was also the Celtics' anchor on defense.


#4 Kareem Abdul-Jabbar - 1980 NBA Finals

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar waves to fans
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar waves to fans

Magic Johnson was phenomenal in the 1980 NBA Finals, filling in for Kareem Abdul-Jabbar at center, who sustained an ankle sprain in Game 5 and did an exceptional job of it. To date, he is the only rookie to have won the Finals MVP.

Magic exploded for 42 points, 15 rebounds, seven assists, and three steals in Game 6 against the Philadelphia 76ers. His performance was more impressive seeing as he was playing in an unnatural position.

Regardless, Abdul-Jabbar was unstoppable in the five games he featured in for the LA Lakers. He averaged 33.4 points, 13.6 rebounds, 3.2 assists, and 4.6 blocks in five games during the 1980 NBA Finals.

While this is not to take away from Magic's astounding performance throughout the series, Hakeem was slightly better. Perhaps things might have been different had he played in the series-ending Game 6.

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Edited by Parimal Dagdee
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