*Actually, this is just my personal opinion.
Let’s completely rip off Third Quarter Collapse’s Eddy Rivera and use some stats (along with some good old-fashioned observations) to choose the Celtics’ first-round MVP. Here’s how the “new Big Three” fare with some of the best metrics we’ve got to measure player contributions.
*(This stat adjusts for the quality of the other players on the floor in order to take away credit a mediocre player who plays with stars might get in raw plus/minus or reward a productive player stuck with a sub-par bench unit).
The stats are unkind to Pierce, huh? He actually ranks below Davis and Perkins in both PER and offensive rating. Of course, with a small sample size of just seven games, all of this needs to be taken with a pile of salt–Perkins, for instance, rates a dismal -11.28 in adjusted plus/minus, easily the worst on the team. I’m not sure why that is.
So, who was the MVP? You could safely go with Rondo or Allen, but I’ll give Rajon the nod here, because he manufactured points for the Celtics whenever their offense wobbled in the first five games. In that span, Rondo averaged an insane 24-11-10 triple-double. The Celtics would not have been in Game 1 without his 29 points and they would not have won Game 5 without his team-high 28 points. Ray Allen was a minimal factor in both of those games; he was 1-of-12 from the floor in Game 1 and fouled out after just 26 minutes on the court in Game 5.
We had never seen Rondo score like this before. That was the revelation of the first five games. We knew he could pass and rebound, but for him to average 24 points a game–Danny Granger numbers–for five straight games? Nobody could have expected that. And the Celtics needed those points. They don’t win this series without them.
It’s sort of amazing to award the MVP to someone other than a shooting guard who averaged a team-high 23.4 points per game, saved the C’s season with a game-winner in Game 2 and put on one of the all-time great shooting displays in Game 6. But Rondo was there in all seven games, doing everything. His scoring took the inevitable dip back into single-digits in games six and seven, but he dished 30 assists in those games to just 4 turnovers. In 96 minutes of play. Incredible stuff.
So, congrats, Rajon. Now do it again against the Magic!