The MVP Award Lost Its Playoff Luster
With LeBron James' elimination at the hands of the Orlando Magic, this season marks the eighth time this decade that the MVP hasn't won the championship, and the sixth time that the MVP hasn't even made it to the NBA Finals. Compare those numbers to the 1990s, when the winner of the MVP award made the NBA Finals seven times and the won the championship five times.
The award has definitely fallen on tough times. I mean we've actually seen a regular season MVP (Dirk and the Mavs in '07) get eliminated in the first round! Could you imagine that happening in the 1990s? Yeah, it almost happened to the Barkley in '93, but you know what I'm saying.
Partially due to the poor performance of recent regular season MVPs, the Finals MVP trophy has been less dominated by the greats in recent years. This decade, guys like Chauncey Billups, Tony Parker and Paul Pierce have been able to secure the Finals MVP awards. Billups, Parker and Pierce are All-Star level players, but they have not and likely never will win the regular season MVP.
In the '90s, regular season MVP winners such as Michael Jordan, Hakeem Olajuwon and Tim Duncan dominated the Finals MVP trophy. That decade, Isiah Thomas was the only Finals MVP award winner to not secure a regular season MVP at some point in his career. And Isiah was an infinitely better player than Billups, Parker, and Pierce.
I don't know exactly what all of this means, but I found it quite interesting to compare the playoff success of this decade's MVPs with those of the last generation.