When you think of the NBA logo, who is the first person to come to mind? If you didn’t think of Jerry West, are you even a basketball fan? “Mr. Clutch” was one of the game’s most dynamic scorers during his era. He was dominant on the court and was unofficially viewed as the logo of the league.
One surprising stat from West’s career that may shock is that he never won an NBA MVP award. Today we will go over West’s career and determine which seasons he should have walked away with the award.
West was drafted with the No. 2 overall pick in the 1960 NBA Draft, and immediately made an impact for the Lakers. He averaged 17 points and seven rebounds per game as a rookie.
He would become one of the game’s best scorers by his second season, where he put up over 30 points per game. This would start a streak of 11 consecutive seasons where he averaged 25 points or more per game.
Here’s a rundown of West’s accolades
- 14x All-Star
- 12x All-NBA
- 5x All-Defensive team
- 1968-69 NBA Finals
- 1969-70 scoring champion
- 1971-72 assist champion
- 1971-1972 NBA Champion
- Hall of Fame
This is an impressive list of accomplishments. The ones that stand out the most to us were the 12 All-NBA selections and the five All-Defensive team selections since West is primarily known for his shooting ability.
He was one of the NBA’s first all-around point guards and he was an easy selection to the Basketball Hall of Fame.
A feat unmatched
Jerry West won the 1968-69 NBA Finals MVP award in unprecedented fashion. It was the first (and still only) player to ever win the Finals MVP award for a losing team. The Boston Celtics and Los Angeles Lakers had a number of clashes in the ’60s, but this award was West’s to lose. He averaged 38 points, seven rebounds and almost five assists per game in the Lakers seven-game series loss.
This included an incredible triple-double in the final game. This was the level of respect West had to fans as the media, that even in a loss he was viewed as the best player on the court.
What years should he have won it?
Looking at West impressive stat lines over his career, we focused on some of the seasons we believed he deserved an MVP award.
1964-65 (Bill Russell)
This season stood out to us because Bill Russell averaged just 12 points per game. He pulled down 23 rebounds and was widely regarded as the best defensive player in the NBA, but West put up 30 points, six rebounds and five assists per game. This is a clear case where he should have walked away with the award.
1968-69 (Wes Unseld)
Wes Unseld entered the league as a top rebounding prospect. He put up 13 points and 18 rebounds per game for the Baltimore Bullets, but we think this was another year that an offensive wizard should have outshined a defensive force. West averaged 25 points and seven assists per game that season, and we are shaking our heads wondering why he didn’t walk away with the award.
These two seasons clearly stood out to us when determining potential MVP awards for “The Logo.”
Do you think Jerry West deserved an MVP award during his career?
After going through our list of Jerry West’s accomplishments, do you think he could have walked away with an NBA MVP award? If you want more news and notes from around the league be sure to check out our NBA section.