At the end of every regular season, we award players for their efforts in all areas of the game. Perhaps no season had the greatest quality of award winners than in 1985. That was the season where the Houston Rockets drafted Hakeem Olajuwon, the Bulls drafted Michael Jordan, and the Los Angeles Lakers finished the season as NBA champions.
With such a tremendous amount of talent on the floor during that year, there was an incredible list of Hall of Famers who managed to capture 6 out of the 7 greatest awards at the end of the season. Here is the complete list of award winners of the 1985 NBA season, of which 6 stars are in the Hall of Fame.
PPG Leader: Bernard King
Season Statistics: 32.9 PPG, 5.8 RPG, 3.7 APG, 1.3 SPG, 0.3 BPG, 53.0% FG
Bernard King might be the greatest scorer in New York Knicks history as he averaged 32.9 PPG on a scintillating 53% from the field. King’s scoring was not enough to guide the Knicks to the playoffs, as New York had to settle with a 24-58 record which was 10th in the East. King was an entire offense on his own nonetheless, and his output was extraordinary when considering he averaged 10.0 free throws per game without taking any threes.
RPG Leader: Moses Malone
Season Statistics: 24.6 PPG, 13.1 RPG, 1.6 APG, 0.8 SPG, 1.6 BPG, 46.9% FG
Moses Malone is one of the all-time greatest big men who are underrated in NBA history. Malone dominated the paint by averaging 13.1 RPG in 1985, guiding a very strong Philadelphia 76ers team to the 3rd seed in the Eastern Conference. Malone was a man on a mission all season, by once again confirming his status as one of the best overall players in the NBA as he was a great inside scorer and defender as well.
APG Leader: Isiah Thomas
Season Statistics: 21.2 PPG, 4.5 RPG, 13.9 APG, 2.3 SPG, 0.3 BPG, 45.8% FG
The Detroit Pistons superstar point guard was mainly known for his scoring, but his playmaking was exceptional in 1985. Thomas led the Pistons to the 4th record in the East and led the league with a whopping 13.9 APG. Thomas is one of the best floor generals in history because he knew how to control the pace of a game better than most, and his ability to set up his teammates Kelly Tripucka (19.1 PPG) and Bill Laimbeer (17.5 PPG) was his greatest strength in 1985.
6th Man Of The Year: Kevin McHale
Season Statistics: 19.8 PPG, 9.0 RPG, 1.8 APG, 0.4 SPG, 1.5 BPG, 57.0% FG
All-Star talent and Hall of Famer Kevin McHale could start on any team in NBA history. He was arguably the most dominant inside scorer ever and he was key to the Boston Celtics finishing 1st in the East and making the NBA Finals. McHale’s impact was even greater considering he came off the bench, meaning he was being defended by lesser caliber players. McHale was unstoppable down low and shot an efficient 57% from the field while dropping nearly 20 PPG.
Defensive Player Of The Year: Mark Eaton
Season Statistics: 9.7 PPG, 11.3 RPG, 1.5 APG, 0.4 SPG, 5.6 BPG, 44.9% FG
Utah’s giant center was a force on defense during the 1985 season. Even though Eaton didn’t manage to make the Hall of Fame, he had a sensational season in 1985 and won the Defensive Player of the Year Award by averaging a monster 5.6 BPG. Eaton wasn’t much of a scorer, but his job was to defend the rim and crash the boards and he did it better than any other player in the league that year.
Rookie Of The Year: Michael Jordan
Season Statistics: 28.2 PPG, 6.5 RPG, 5.9 APG, 2.4 SPG, 0.8 BPG, 51.5% FG
Michael Jordan’s debut season in the NBA resulted in the Rookie of the Year Award, and it wasn’t even close. To many pundits of the NBA, Michael Jordan was already the best player in the world by the time his rookie season finished. While that is a bit farfetched considering Larry Bird was still dominating the NBA, Jordan certainly had a case. It wouldn’t be long before Jordan’s dominance in the NBA began, but 1985 was certainly his stepping stone as he was the best rookie in the league ahead of Akeem Olajuwon.
Most Valuable Player: Larry Bird
Season Statistics: 28.7 PPG, 10.5 APG, 6.6 APG, 1.6 SPG, 1.2 BPG, 52.2% FG
The Boston Celtics superstar was on another level in 1985. Bird led the Celtics to the best record in the league and they made the NBA Finals as well. Unfortunately for Bird, the Celtics fell short to the Los Angeles Lakers in 6 games but Bird has the best overall regular season. He was a force in every aspect of the game and no player, perhaps outside of Michael Jordan, had a chance of hoisting the MVP trophy by the end of the year.
Credit for an idea: MJs GOAT