View Poll Results: Who was the best player in 1981?

Voters
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  • Kareem Abdul-Jabbar

    1 9.09%
  • Moses Malone

    8 72.73%
  • Larry Bird

    1 9.09%
  • Julius Erving

    1 9.09%
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Thread: The Best Player championship belt: 1981

  1. #1
    Rebound King Kstat's Avatar
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    Default The Best Player championship belt: 1981

    1981

    Reigning belt holder: Kareem Abdul-Jabbar

    NBA Champion: Boston Celtics
    MVP: Julius Erving
    Finals MVP: Cedric Maxwell
    Scoring champ: Adrian Dantley (30.1)
    PER champ: Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (25.5)

    The candidates:

    Kareem Abdul-Jabbar: Losing Magic Johnson early in the season to a knee injury, the 1980 league MVP needed to step it up even more in 1981 to keep the defending champion Lakers afloat, and he did just that. Improving his scoring from the year before, Kareem finished 4th in the NBA with 26.2ppg, 6th in rebounding at 10.3, and 4th in blocks with 2.9. AT age 33, Kareem again led the NBA in efficiency for the 9th time in 11 seasons, and made the all-defensive first team for good measure. The Lakers won 54 games largely on his back, good for 3rd in the west, and got Magic back for the stretch run. However magic was hobbled and feuding with coach Paul Westhead, and the schism was fatal against a hungrier Rockets team. Kareem played well, averaging 26.7 points, but was outplayed by a much younger Moses Malone and the Lakers as a team were outhustled by the sub-.500 Rockets, who won twice in LA to eliminate the Lakers in the first round.

    Moses Malone: Already with one MVP under his belt the 1-man wrecking crew Moses Malone went to work in 1981 like no player before or after him. Finishing second in scoring at 27.8ppg, first in rebounding by a 2.4 board margin at 14.8 and carrying an aging, fading Rockets team on his back to 40 wins, Moses was largely overlooked for league MVP, but he proved his point in the postseason. Barely qualifying as the #6 seed with the worst record of any team in the playoffs, Moses immediately went back to work, lighting Kareem Abdul-Jabbar up for 38 points in a game 1 stunner en route to a 2-1 series upset of the defending champs. The second round against the interstate rival Spurs was much harder, but Moses again carried the spurs with a 28ppg average, including 41 in game 3 and 34 more in a pivotal game 5 win as the Rockets won it in 7 games. The conference finals against the Kings was Moses's last stop before the finals, and he finished them off in 5 games, with 42 points coming in game 4 and 36 more coming in the road clincher in Kansas City. Moses dominated the 1981 finals as well, with averages of 22 points, nearly 16 rebounds and 2 blocks, but the Celtics proved to be the one team too deep and talented for him to fight off himself, as Moses's goal to carry his sub-.500 team to a championship died in 6 games.

    Larry Bird: Larry was again a spectacular player in his second season, posting numbers of 21.2 points, 10.9 rebounds, 5.5 assists and 2 steals on .478 shooting. While nearly identical to his rookie stats, Bird showed his improvement in the postseason, putting 35 on the Bulls in the clincher of a 4-game 2nd round sweep, and leading a dramatic comeback against the rival Sixers in the conference finals. Rallying Boston from a 3-1 deficit, Bird had 32 in game 5, 25 in game 6, and 23 in game 7, including the game deciding basket with just a minute left to send Boston to the finals. Bird's shooting touch eluded him in the finals against the rockets, but his overall contributions tell a different story: 15.3 points, 15.3 rebounds, 7 assists and 2.3 steals. Despite conceding the finals MVP to teammate cornbread Maxwell, Bird undoubtedly slammed the door on the series with 27 points, 13 rebounds and 5 assists as the celtics won the first title of the Bird era.

    Julius Erving: Dr. J rebounded well from the heart breaking 1980 finals. In many ways, he was actually better. Averaging 24.6 points, 8 rebounds, 4.4 assists and upping his FG% slightly to 52.5%, Erving's sixers improved to 62 wins, a tiebreaker away from being the NBA's best team, and Erving was rewarded with his first NBA MVP. The doctor averaged 24.7 points in a 2nd round matchup against an excellent Bucks team, including 28 in game 7 to take the series. The momentum continued into the conference finals against the overall #1 seed Celtics, and Erving tore into them early with 25 in a game 1 win at the garden, en route to taking 3 of the first 4 games. But as Erving played more passively his team fell apart, similar to 1977. With the series suddenly tied 3-3, Dr. J turned it back on a little, scoring 23 points in game 7, but ultimately it wasn't enough as Larry Bird and the celtics took the 7th game by a single basket to take the series and eventually the championship from Erving and the Sixers.

    It wasn't about being the team everyone loved, it was about beating the teams everyone else loved.

    Division Champions 1955, 1956, 1988, 1989, 1990, 2002, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008
    Conference Champions 1955, 1956, 1988, 2005
    NBA Champions 1989, 1990, 2004

  2. #2
    Member pta's Avatar
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    Default Re: The Best Player championship belt: 1981

    I think Kareem, Larry and Moses are most deserving. Even though Cedric Maxwell was finals MVP I think Larry was a bigger factor with his rebounds and assists and overall game. Moses had a great year and carried his team but I vote for Larry.

    Sent from my LGMS550 using Tapatalk

  3. #3
    Member Ace E.Anderson's Avatar
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    Default Re: The Best Player championship belt: 1981

    Larry was obviously the better player, but Maxwell was the best player in that series

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