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NBA Finals MVP Award Winners From 2011 To 2020: Forwards Won The Award For 10 Consecutive Years

NBA Finals MVP Award Winners From 2011 To 2020: Forwards Won The Award For 10 Consecutive Years

Hoisting the NBA championship at the end of the season has to be the highlight of every NBA team, and every player that was a part of the roster. It takes a lot for a team to win a championship, but it is almost as impressive when a single player has a massive performance in the Finals to lift the individual Finals MVP trophy. Normally, the player on the title-winning team is in contention for Finals MVP, as only one player has managed to win the award despite losing in the Finals.

We have collected all the Finals MVP award winners from 2011 to 2020, and it is very interesting to notice that one player stands out from the rest in terms of individual dominance on the court. It is also interesting to note that all of the players who hoisted the Finals MVP awards have occupied the forward position over the entire decade. Without further ado, here are the NBA Finals MVP winners from the 2011 season until the 2020 season.

2010-11 Finals MVP Award Winner - Dirk Nowitzki

Stats: 26.0 PPG, 9.7 RPG, 2.0 APG, 0.7 SPG, 0.7 BPG

Dirk Nowitzki’s Finals MVP award at the end of the 2011 season was the icing on the cake that was one of the greatest individual seasons ever. Dirk and the Mavericks were looking for revenge since the 2006 Finals loss, and they had a chance to avenge themselves in the 2011 Finals.

Unfortunately for the Mavericks, they had to defeat a superteam Miami Heat squad that was even more talented than the 2006 opponent. The 2011 Heat were stacked with LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, and Chris Bosh in their first season together. It was up to Dirk, the only superstar on his team, to overcome the odds and get the job done for his side. Of course, he would accomplish that with a terrific Finals performance.

Nowitzki dropped 26.0 PPG, 9.7 RPG, and 2.0 APG on an incredible 97.8% free-throw shooting. The German was constantly fouled to stop him from taking over, but it clearly did not work. Thanks to Nowitzki’s efficiency and leadership, the Mavericks exacted revenge, and the German earned his only Finals MVP award.

2011-12 Finals MVP Award Winner - LeBron James

Stats: 28.6 PPG, 10.2 RPG, 7.4 APG, 1.6 SPG, 0.4 BPG

For the first time in his career, LeBron James won the Finals MVP award with the Miami Heat after also winning the regular-season MVP award with the Miami Heat. The superstar forward averaged 28.6 PPG and 10.2 RPG in the series, once again taking over the series by outscoring the likes of Russell Westbrook with the Oklahoma City Thunder.

Averaging 28.6 PPG on 47.2% shooting and chipping in 7.4 APG, no player was as dominant as the legendary small forward. All eyes and all the pressure were on The King to make the difference in the Finals because LeBron had the worst playoff series of his career in the 2011 Finals. Luckily for Miami, James showed up.

Competing against a young and talented Kevin Durant, James put up superstar all-around numbers as Miami won in 5 games despite dropping Game 1. The King was a man on a mission, and he proved to all his doubters that he was indeed the best player in the world and it would be a matter of time before he would assume his position on the throne.

2012-13 Finals MVP Award Winner - LeBron James

Stats: 25.3 PPG, 10.9 RPG, 7.0 APG, 2.3 SPG, 0.9 BPG

For the second-straight year, LeBron James and the Miami Heat won the NBA title with their superstar small forward earning the Finals MVP award. The King was once again elite across all facets of the game, but it was his fantastic Game 7 performance when he dropped 37 points on a variety of jump shots when the San Antonio Spurs dared him to shoot.

James embraced the “villain” role in his second season with the Heat, and he continued that mentality in the third season as the Heat competed in a showdown with the San Antonio Spurs led by Tim Duncan, Kawhi Leonard, and Tony Parker. As expected, the series went to 7 games as each team split a game throughout the matchup.

LeBron led all players in points, assists, and win shares in the series. Since James was the most dominant athlete and all-around player in the league, The King was still on another level in 2013 at the prime age of 28. With James playing at a superstar level, opponents began to accept that they were just living in The King’s world at that moment in time.

2013-14 Finals MVP Award Winner - Kawhi Leonard

Stats: 17.8 PPG, 6.4 RPG, 2.0 APG, 1.6 SPG, 1.2 BPG

For the fourth straight year, the Miami Heat would reach the NBA Finals with their Big Three well intact. LeBron, Wade, and Bosh were still All-Star-caliber players with elite skill sets, and the Heat were the favorites for the fourth straight year entering the Finals. This time, they faced a rematch with the Spurs side that was beaten the year before.

Even though LeBron James averaged 28.2 PPG, 7.8 RPG, and 4.0 APG, he could not usurp San Antonio’s elite team play. Kawhi Leonard, at age 22, captured Finals MVP for playing some of the best defense in Finals history on LeBron and also chipped in 17.8 PP and 6.4 RPG. The young forward began showing signs of elite wing play, and superstardom would be on the horizon.

Leonard certainly benefitted from the brilliance of Duncan, Parker, and Manu Ginobili while also taking advantage of the confidence of Gregg Popovich. The forward picked his spots tremendously well, shooting 61.2% from the field, 57.9% from three, and 78.3% from the stripe. Thanks to his defense and efficiency, Kawhi ran away with Finals MVP honors along with his first NBA title.

2014-15 Finals MVP Award Winner - Andre Iguodala

Stats: 16.3 PPG, 5.8 RPG, 4.0 APG, 1.3 SPG, 0.3 BPG

The 2015 Finals was one of the most interesting series in NBA history, mainly because we got to witness LeBron James almost get the job done against a Golden State Warriors side led by MVP Stephen Curry, without the presence of Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love. James averaged 35.8 PPG, 13.3 RPG, and 8.8 APG in a losing effort.

It was Andre Iguodala’s defense that ultimately made the difference, even if it does not look like it from LeBron’s stat line. Iggy had big moments throughout the series on both ends of the floor, coming up big in critical situations to help the Warriors win the Finals in 6 games. Mainly as a power forward, Iggy was a strong contributor on the floor.

There is no question that Stephen Curry was the best player on the Warriors (26.0 PPG), but it was Iguodala that came up the biggest in crunch time on both ends of the floor. The former All-Star small forward was forced to defend multiple positions, cover The King throughout the series, and help form the infamous “Death Lineup” that was almost unguardable.

2015-16 Finals MVP Award Winner - LeBron James

Stats: 29.7 PPG, 11.3 RPG, 8.9 APG, 2.6 SPG, 2.3 BPG

In the 2016 season, LeBron James averaged 29.7 PPG and 11.3 RPG on 49.4% shooting from the field in one of the greatest Finals comebacks in NBA history, if not the greatest. Despite being down 3-1, James placed the Cavaliers on his back to the point where his point guard, Kyrie Irving, was able to hit the biggest shot in the series in Game 7.

LeBron put up monster numbers throughout the stat sheet on both ends of the floor and had some iconic moments in the Finals, including “The Block” that captivated fans in the stadium and at home. James was simply unguardable in the series, and his numbers are a testament to what he had to do to win his 3rd championship.

The King’s 2016 Finals series might be his greatest collection of performances in the playoffs because, for the first time since the 2007 Finals, he was not the overwhelming favorite and had to face undeniable adversity. James got the job done and earned his third Finals MVP award.

2016-17 Finals MVP Award Winner - Kevin Durant

Stats: 35.2 PPG, 8.2 RPG, 5.4 APG, 1.0 SPG, 1.6 BPG

The superstar small forward and the 4-time scoring champion was at his best in the 2017 season, clearly getting back to his elite level in terms of efficiency and numbers thanks to the quality of teammates surrounding him. Kevin Durant broke the media outlets when he decided to team up with the 73-9 Warriors team that made the Finals in 2016, and no matter what critics have to say, it worked in his favor.

Durant led all scorers in the series by posting 35.2 PPG on 55.6% shooting from the field, 47.4% from three, and 92.7% from the free-throw line. Once again proving there was no answer for him when he was at his best, KD was the best player in the Finals regardless of the fact he had 4 other All-Star teammates.

Shooting 50-40-90 from the field was incredible from a score-first player like KD, and the fact that he was the best player in the series in the first year with his new team ultimately earned him the Finals MVP award. Seeing KD going toe-to-toe with LeBron James was truly incredible, with the Warriors’ star outscoring James (35.2 PPG vs. 33.6 PPG) on the court.

2017-18 Finals MVP Award Winner - Kevin Durant

Stats: 28.8 PPG, 10.8 RPG, 7.5 APG, 0.8 SPG, 2.3 BPG

In a Finals rematch, Kevin Durant and the Golden State Warriors took on the Cleveland Cavaliers in a 4-game series. Despite the best efforts of LeBron James (34.0 PPG and 10.0 APG), the Cavaliers could not force Durant and the Warriors to put up more of a sweat rather than a 4-game sweep. Kevin Durant basically made Golden State unbeatable on the court.

KD averaged 28.8 PPG 52.6% shooting over the 4 games, leading his team in scoring and also acting as the catalyst for the Warriors’ incredible offense. Cleveland stood no chance, and they were outplayed on both ends of the floor. Not to mention, LeBron and company could not find a way to stop Durant from going off on offense as he shot 50-40-90 once again.

Durant shot 52.6% from the field, 40.9% from three, and 96.2% from the free-throw line with the Warriors, incredible shooting numbers from the best player on the team. Critics were continuing to flock about Durant’s decision to join Golden State, but there is no doubt the forward was the best player in the Finals once again as he captured his second-straight championship.

2018-19 Finals MVP Award Winner - Kawhi Leonard

Stats: 28.5 PPG, 9.8 RPG, 4.2 APG, 2.0 SPG, 1.2 BPG

Kawhi Leonard had one of the most incredible seasons in NBA history in 2019, as he was traded to the Toronto Raptors following his San Antonio Spurs (self-imposed) exile. The Claw was unnerved by the Spurs’ players’ frustration with Leonard being unavailable due to injury, and he wanted his way out of town. His preferred destination was Los Angeles, but the Spurs instead moved him to another conference in a deal with the Raptors that involved DeMar DeRozan.

Leonard did exceptionally well during the season, but it was the Raptors’ incredible moves during the year to bring in Marc Gasol and also develop the likes of Pascal Siakam and Fred VanVleet around Leonard. With a stacked roster of shooters and defenders, Leonard had enough to make the difference in a Finals series against the Golden State Warriors.

For the sake of fairness, the Warriors were no longer a superteam in 2019 as both Kevin Durant and Klay Thompson went down with severe injuries, leaving Stephen Curry to fend for himself. That clearly did not work out, as the Warriors fell to the Raptors in 6 games, with a 3-1 deficit ultimately marking the end of the Warriors Dynasty led by Kevin Durant.

2019-20 Finals MVP Award Winner - LeBron James

Stats: 29.8 PPG, 11.8 RPG, 8.5 APG, 1.2 SPG, 0.5 BPG

LeBron James won his fourth Finals MVP award during the 2020 season, the same year the superstar forward had superstar big man Anthony Davis by his side. The Los Angeles Lakers benefitted from the covid-shortened season, and the franchise won its 17th NBA championship. There is no doubt that LeBron was the best player in the league during the year because he led the Los Angeles Lakers to a Western Conference-leading 52-19 record alongside Davis and completely owned the NBA Finals.

The superstar forward posted ridiculous averages of 29.8 PPG, 11.8 RPG, and 8.5 APG against the rather-depleted Miami Heat. The King dismantled any of the opposing players other than Jimmy Butler and put up his usual (near) triple-double statistics. Even at age 35, James was on another level when it came to basketball IQ and it showed with the way he made adjustments throughout the playoffs against a multitude of different teams, including the Houston Rockets, Denver Nuggets, and Miami Heat.

With the 4th championship and 4th Finals MVP in his grasp, LeBron James strongly entered the GOAT debate for many of the younger audiences. His ability to recruit top-tier talent and also get the job done in the Finals with his third NBA franchise was a testament to The King’s incredible longevity and ability to dominate. The 2020 season also marked the 10th straight year where a forward (small forward or power forward) captured Finals MVP honors, and that has mainly to do with the paradigm shift of basketball tactics. Athletic forwards that have the size and skill to dominate the court have the most impact in the modern game, and we would also witness another forward capture the Finals MVP in 2021. 


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