Andre Iguodala was named the most valuable player of the 2015 NBA Finals, beating LeBron James by a vote of 7-4. The reigning regular season MVP, Stephen Curry, did not receive a single vote.
— NBA on ESPN (@ESPNNBA) June 17, 2015
Iguodala finished the series with averages of 16.3 points, four assists and 5.8 rebounds, shooting 52.1 percent from the field. However, he wasn’t the most valuable player on his own team or in any one game, let alone the entire series.
Let’s start with his best performance, Game 6. Iguodala scored 25 points and added five rebounds and five assists and became the first player in NBA history to score at least 25 points in a Finals-clinching victory without recording any 25-point games in the preceding regular season or earlier in that year’s playoffs. But Curry also scored 25 points plus added six rebounds, eight assists and three steals, giving him the highest game score of the night.
The same was true for the series, where Iguodala’s overall game score of 13.6 was third best behind Curry (17.9) and James (24.6).
According to Michael Beuoy’s “kitchen sink” win probability added, which quantifies the win probability contributions for every box score stat we can measure and attribute at the player level, Iguodala ranked fourth overall in the Finals, behind James, Curry and Draymond Green.
To be fair, Iguodala did a yeoman’s job defending James. When they shared the court James had a net rating of minus-15.5 and was held to a true shooting percentage of 46.4 percent, which skyrocketed to a net rating of plus-18.8 and 50.9 percent true shooting when they didn’t. However that didn’t stop James from being considered by many to be the Finals MVP no matter what the outcome.
For the 2nd year in a row, a player won #NBAFinals MVP in part because his job was to defend LeBron James. Both years, LJ averaged > 28 pts
— Michael Lee (@MrMichaelLee) June 17, 2015
Still, that still doesn’t excuse the fact that Iguodala had the lowest game score of any NBA Finals MVP since the 1985 season.