Once league officials pulled their heads out of their asses and went back to the old ball though, we were able to pay attention to the guys who happened to be having a great year. Here are the top five players of the 2006-07 NBA season.
5 Lebron James – F/G, Cleveland Cavaliers
In the first full season in which LeBron was of legal drinking age, he made his second appearance in the playoffs, and led the Cavs to the NBA Finals behind 25.1 points and 8 assists per game in the postseason. After dismissing Washington, New Jersey and Detroit, Cleveland came into the finals with a ton of momentum, which was promptly halted by Tim Duncan and the Spurs. San Antonio swept away Lebron and the Cavs in four games, finally giving the young King James a real reason to drink.
4 Kobe Bryant – G, Los Angeles Lakers
2006-07 may have been a down year for the Lakers, as they finished the season just two games over .500 and were bounced in the first round, but Kobe was anything but down. Leading the NBA in scoring for the second year in a row, Kobe netted 31.6 points per game, went for 50+ points ten times during the season, and even had a four-game run where he put up 65, 50, 60, and 50, a feat bested only by Wilt Chamberlain. Needless to say, the Lakers lack of success wasn’t on Kobe, but might’ve been due to the fact that their third scoring option was Luke Walton.
3 Tim Duncan – F/C, San Antonio Spurs
Duncan may not be the most exciting player in the world, in fact, he may just be the personification of taupe, but the man is a winner. Making his ninth All-Star team and rounding back into form after being plagued by injury the year before, Duncan averaged his standard 20 and 10, as the Spurs notched 58 regular season wins and grabbed the West 3-seed. The Big Fundamental then turned up the heat in the playoffs, upping his stats to 22.2 points and 11.5 rebounds per game, and banking in more jumpers than you could fall asleep to on the way to his fourth NBA title.
2 Dirk Nowitzki – F, Dallas Mavericks
Coming off a career year the season before, Dirk proved he was here to stay as he became the first European in league history to win the MVP and led the Mavericks to a league best 67 wins. Averaging 24.6 points per game, the hot-shooting German shot a career-best 50.2% from the field and fueled an offense that averaged 100 points per game. Too bad for Dirk and the Mavs though, they got so high on their regular season performance that they forgot to carry it into the postseason, and they were embarrassed by 8-seed Golden State in the first round.
1 Steve Nash – G, Phoenix Suns
Since returning to Phoenix in 2004, Steve Nash had established himself as far and away the best point guard in the NBA, and coming off two straight MVP’s, he looked poised to grab another in 06-07. Nash led the league in assists per game for the third straight year with 11.6, and added 18.6 points per game, becoming the first player to average 18 and 11 since Magic did it back in ’91. The Suns won 61 games — good enough for second most in the league, but were eventually sent packing by the would-be-champion Spurs in the second round. Nash also missed out on a third straight MVP, placing second behind former teammate and fellow floppy-haired foreigner, Dirk Nowitzki.
There you have it, the five guys who managed to have a stellar ’06-’07 season despite being bothered by weird balls for a couple of months. Did we miss anyone? Throw together a list of your own and let us know.