Andre Igoudala (r.) seems likely to join an exclusive club of Finals MVPs who are not in the Hall of Fame.
Andre Iguodala became the unlikeliest NBA Finals MVP in history Tuesday night, beating 125-to-1 pre-Finals odds to take home the trophy named after Celtics great Bill Russell.
Iguodala began the series on the bench and is the only Finals MVP in history to win the award despite not being a starter for every Finals game; he started the final three games of the series, all Warriors wins. He also bucked the trend of the award going to players in the midst of Hall of Fame careers.
Just 11 media members vote for the award — two are broadcasters, Hubie Brown and Jeff Van Gundy, and the other nine voters are writers — and Iguodala got seven votes to beat LeBron James, who had four. No votes were cast for regular season MVP Stephen Curry.
“I’m not surprised (I won it) because I’m that confident in my game. I’m too hard on myself most of the time. I’m not surprised, but I would have bet on — I would have bet on Steph. I would have bet on Draymond (Green). Draymond’s been great for us all year and very, very high-IQ guy,” Iguodala told reporters after the game.
The 11-year vet averaged 16.3 points, 4.8 rebounds, 4 assists, 1.3 steals and guarded James for much of the six-game series. While he was lauded for his defense on James, the Cavaliers star still put up averages of 35.8 points, 13.3 rebounds, 8.8 assists but his shooting percentage was down considerably from his regular season mark — 39.8 percent in the Finals compared to 48.8 percent in the regular season — and the Warriors won the series in six games for their first championship in 40 years.
Iguodala, a one-time All-Star, figures to go down as one of only a handful of non-Hall of Famers to win the Finals MVP award.
Andre Igoudala’s Finals MVP win is boosted by his defense on LeBron James.
Of the 30 Finals MVPs, 19 are already in the Hall of Fame — Jerry West, Willis Reed, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Wilt Chamberlain, Willis Reed, John Havliceck, Rick Barry, Jo Jo White, Bill Walton, Wes Unseld, Dennis Johnson, Magic Johnson, Moses Malone, Larry Bird, James Worthy, Joe Dumars, Isiah Thomas, Michael Jordan and Hakeem Olajuwon — and eight more — Tim Duncan, Shaquille O’Neal, Dwyane Wade, Tony Parker, Paul Pierce, Kobe Bryant, Dirk Nowitzki and James — project as Hall of Famers.
Cedric Maxwell is the only retired Finals MVP not in the Hall of Fame. O’Neal will be eligible for Hall of Fame voting in 2017 and is an obvious lock for enshrinement. Chauncey Billups was the MVP in 2004 and isn’t eligible for Hall of Fame voting yet — though he’d be a longshot candidate — and Kawhi Leonard, last year’s Finals MVP, just completed his fourth season in 2015.
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