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NBA Finals: Who Should Win Finals MVP?

Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum are frontrunners to win Finals MVP.

Last night the Boston Celtics took a commanding 3-0 lead over the Dallas Mavericks. Just one win away from an NBA title all signs point to the Celtics winning the series in four or five games. Notably, no team in NBA history has ever overcome a 3-0 deficit only 15 of these 156 teams have forced a Game 6 or 7. One of the more interesting storylines of the finals has been the Finals MVP race. For the Celtics, it truly shouldn’t matter who wins Finals MVP as the ultimate goal is to win the title. Nevertheless, it’s an interesting debate, and serval players have a case to win the award.

NBA Finals: Who Should Win Finals MVP?

Jaylen Brown

After a stellar Game 3 performance, Jaylen Brown became the favorite to win Finals MVP.  DraftKings lists Brown’s Finals MVP odds at -280 making him the clear favorite with Jayson Tatum behind him at +250 odds Brown also jumped to first place on the NBA’s Finals MVP ladder. Brown had a well-rounded 30-point, eight-rebound, and eight-assist outing en route to a seven-point victory. He also hit plenty of clutch shots scoring 24 of his points in the second half including nine fourth quarter points. On the series, Brown is averaging 24.3 points, six rebounds, and 5.7 assists on .551/.250/.700 shooting splits. Brown has been the Celtics’ most consistent source of offense and has continuously elevated his game in the playoffs. Impressively Brown is a perfect 15 for 15 at the rim this series.

Additionally, Brown’s defense has been a crucial part of Boston’s success. In the finals, Brown has been the primary defender on Luka Doncic. While Luka is having a productive series averaging 29.7 points Brown’s defense has helped limit Doncic as a playmaker, forcing him into turnovers and difficult shots. Luka’s assists are down from 9.8 on the season to six this series. Luka has notably struggled down the stretch averaging just 2.7 fourth-quarter points a significant depurate from his season average of 6.5. Brown’s defensive energy and intensity are certainly part of these struggles. Ultimately Brown’s consistent scoring abilities, defensive responsibility, and clutch play give him the clearest case for Finals MVP.

Jayson Tatum

Jayson Tatum’s performance has been much discussed throughout the playoffs. Especially in the finals after Mavericks coach Jason Kidd said that Brown is the Celtics’ best player. The star wing is not scoring at his typical elite standard but has found several other ways to impact the game. On the series, Tatum is averaging 21.7 points, 8.7 rebounds and 7.3 assists on .359/.296,.846 shooting splits. Tatum’s scoring efficiency is the biggest knock on his Finals MVP case. Notably, no player in NBA history has won Finals MVP shooting below 40 percent from the field.

Tatum had his best game of the finals last night putting up 31 points, six rebounds, and five assists however, much of his production was in the first half. Furthermore, in Game 2 Tatum scored 18 points while shooting 6-22 from the field. However, what gets lost in the Tatum discourse is his all-around contributions and how he is game-planned against. Tatum had an 11-rebound outing in Game 1 and notched 12 assists in Game 2. Tatum has also been a crucial part of the Celtics’ switch-heavy defensive scheme. His contributions as a rebounder, playmaker, and defender have been infinitely valuable for the Celtics.

Additionally, the Mavericks’ defense covers Tatum like a number-one option frequently doubling team him. As a result, Tatum has turned into more of a playmaker which has helped create more high-percentage opportunities for Brown and other teammates. Regardless for Tatum to win Final MVP he must have a high-scoring and efficient Game 4.

Jrue Holiday

Jrue Holiday has been the Celtics unsung hero all season long and he has an outside chance to win Finals MVP. Holiday had a monster performance in Game 2 putting up 26 points, 11 rebounds, and three assists. On the series, Jrue is averaging 15.7 points, 7.7 rebounds, and 4.3 assists on .594/.417/.100 shooting splits. Holiday has been a constant finishing presence for the Celtics shooting 86.7 percent at the rim. However, Holiday’s main case for Finals MVP is his elite defense.

Holiday has been the primary defender on Kyrie Irving largely limiting his effectiveness. A key reason why the Celtics are dominating this series has been their ability to limit the Mavericks’ surrounding talent and Jrue has played a vital role in this. He has also been the secondary defender on Luka. While Jrue made well-rounded contributions in Games 1 and 3 he scored just 12 and nine points respectively. It’s hard to win Finals MVP with these scoring numbers however we’ve seen it before in 2015 when Andre Iguodala won the award. Holiday will need another massive scoring night to have a chance of winning Finals MVP.

The Last Word

Brown has by far the best case to win Finals MVP. He has been the Celtics’ top-scoring threat and defended the Mavs’ best player. Brown also won Eastern Conference Finals MVP winning two prestigious awards would greatly change how many people view him. However, the race isn’t over and the remaining game(s) could change things leading to Tatum or even Holiday winning Finals MVP. Regardless one of these two would need a massive performance to flip the race and all signs point to Brown winning the award.

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