Ray Allen was the real Finals MVP
By Win Contribution numbers (what is Win Contribution?), the MVP voting should not have even been close. The landslide selection should have been Ray Allen.
Allen recorded by far the highest Win Contribution average for the NBA Finals at +1.004, which by Win Contribution standards qualifies as a magnificent Finals performance. The next closest Celtic in terms of Win Contribution was Kevin Garnett at +0.455. Paul Pierce, the actual winner of the MVP award, only recorded a Finals Win Contribution of -0.072.
By Win Contribution numbers, Allen had 4 "good games" out of the six games played in the series. And two of his games were absolutely monstrous, Game 4 and Game 6, arguably the two games that decided the World Championship.
Allen's Game 4 contribution was +2.898, a huge total, while in the clinching Game 6 Allen recorded the highest Win Contribution I have ever calculated at +3.019. Until last night, in fact, I thought it was impossible to break the +3.000 barrier, but Allen did it in the biggest game of the season.
Even if you take into account Defensive Win Contribution (meaning the negative of the Win Contribution recorded by the player's counterpart opponent), Allen still bests Pierce. Yes, Pierce did a magnificent job on Kobe Bryant, but Bryant's Win Contribution was not negative enough to make up the stagger between Pierce's and Allen's Win Contributions. Besides, no shooting guard on the Lakers roster made a positive Win Contribution, so Allen did the job on the defensive end as well.
You could try to make a "relative" Defensive Win Contribution argument. You could argue that, by holding Kobe so far under his season Win Contribution average, Paul Pierce effectively "cut off the head of the snake", if you will, and made it impossible for the Lakers to win. There's something to that, but Allen also helped on Kobe and he held Vujacic nearly -0.700 under his season Win Contribution average, so Allen still proved more valuable even under a relative evaluation.
I will have the final "Heroes and Goats" of the NBA Finals, as well as the Win Contribution totals from last night and from the entire series in my next post.