Sunday, May 5, 2013

Most Dominant Postseasons

What players have had the most dominant postseasons?  One way to look at that is with win shares as a percent of wins needed for a championship.  It takes 16 wins to get the ring today, but when Bill Russell played it only took 8.  The list:

1. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, 1974. (54.1%).  Kareem didn't get the ring, but he did push his team to game 7 of the finals, where they lost to Dave Cowens and the Celtics.  Kareem averaged 32 points and 16 rebounds, shooting 55% of the postseason.  In game 7 he and Cowens virtually matched numbers, with Cowens getting a slight edge, but the rest of the Bucks didn't play so well.  Only man in the top 8 who did not win the championship.

2. Dave Cowens, 1976 (47.8%).  This was the year of the triple OT game against Phoenix.  Cowens had 296 rebounds (16.4 per game) in that postseason, along with 21 points and 4.6 assists.  His raw numbers don't look as impressive as some others on this list, not sure how he ranks so high.

3. Shaquille O'Neal, 2000 (45.6).  30 points and 15 rebounds over 23 games.

4. Tim Duncan, 2003 (42.3).  25 points, 15 boards, and 3 blocks were especially valuable in a low scoring environment, the Spurs only gave up 89 points per game.

5. Lebron James, 2012 (42.3).  The first non-center on the list (Tim Duncan is a center no matter what the Spurs want to call him).  30 points, 9 rebounds, 6 assists on 50% shooting.  Game 6 against the Celtics is certainly one of the best, if not the best, game ever played.

6. Bill Russell, 1962 (42.1).  The man won 11 championships, one of them had to show up on the list.  Russell averaged 22 points (his best figure in the postseason), 26 rebounds, and 5 assists.  He scored 30 in an overtime game 7 win against the Lakers.

7. Larry Bird, 1984 (41.7)  Bird average 27-11-6 on 52% shooting, and threw in 2 steals and a block per game (not bad for a flightless fowl).  Led his team to a game 7 win in the finals

8. Michael Jordan, 1993 (41.6).  Averaged 35 points, 6 rebounds, 6 assists, beat Barkley for the finals, then declared his first of 3 retirements.