The NBA recently announced the introduction of a new set of trophies. These trophies are the Larry Bird Trophy which represents the Eastern Conference Finals MVP, and the Magic Johnson Trophy which represents the Western Conference Finals MVP. With both conference finals set, here are the favorites to be named the MVPs.
Conference Finals MVP Predictions
Luka Dončić went on a tear in the semi-finals against the Phoenix Suns. The belief that Chris Paul or Mikal Bridges would have success slowing him down fell short almost immediately. Luka put up 30+ points in four of the seven games as well as having a double-double in six of them. He is a player that seems to do everything on the team as he leads the team in points, rebounds, assists, and steals in both the regular season and the post season.
Against the Warriors he will most likely have an easier time scoring. The Warriors have less of a post presence, as well as having worse guard defenders. Stephen Curry and Jordan Poole don’t have the size to match up against Luka and Klay Thompson looks like a shell of himself after the injury. Luka will look to capitalize on this against the Warriors.
Steph Curry has been decent this postseason. He’s put up 27 points and roughly 5.5 assists this postseason. He’s really stepped up when his teammates around him have had poor shooting nights. His off-ball movement also is really impactful for his teammates as it frees up shots. Curry also will face weak guard play against the Mavericks. Spencer Dinwiddie and Jalen Brunson aren’t known for their defense. Dallas will have a tough time stopping a shooter at Curry’s level, especially after letting Devin Booker average 40% from three.
Draymond Green is an unlikely candidate to win a Conference Finals MVP. He doesn’t put up the points to compete with his teammates with only eight per game but leads his team in rebounds with 7.2 and assists with 6.6. Dallas also will have trouble stopping his playmaking ability with all the Warriors’ shooters. Draymond should be able to drive and kick as Golden State tends to play small and Dallas plays a bigger lineup. His rebounds may drop, but his other stats should increase. If he can play good defense on Luka, he could win it similar to how Andre Iguodala won Finals MVP as the “Lebron stopper”.
Jayson Tatum had a good series against the Bucks. He had an even better series against the Nets. Tatum has been the number one option for this team averaging 28 points and six assists. He also has played great defense, and even made Kevin Durant look like an average player. If he can limit Jimmy Butler offensively while also leading his team in scoring then he is the clear favorite for the Conference Finals MVP.
Butler continues to step up in the playoffs when he’s needed. His finals run in the bubble was predicated on his iso scoring. Butler is an amazing defender while also averaging 29 points for his team. He’s also shooting much more efficiently than he did this season. His good defense should allow him to slow down Tatum while also getting his points.
Bam Adebayo was in contention for Defensive Player of the Year this year. His impact on defense is immaculate. He’s also a decent offensive player averaging almost 15 points on 60% shooting from the field. He’s scored under 10 points in three of his 11 games in these playoffs. If Bam plays more aggressively this series, he can be a big presence down low against a banged-up Robert Williams.
Both the series shape up to be battles, similar to the second round. With no clear favorites, multiple players will need to step up. This can lead to anyone winning Conference Finals MVP.
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