Last Updated: 2019-05-30
Who’ll be the guy who comes away with the NBA Finals MVP trophy, which is named after the great Bill Russell?
BetAnySports gives you the opportunity to place a wager – or two – on this, and it is part of the many player and team props that are available as we approach the beginning of this showcase event.
Let’s handicap the field:
Stephen Curry (Warriors) -180
— Curry is obviously the guy who is going to be taking the lead in Kevin Durant’s stead. His Usage rate in the Western Conference finals was 32.1, indicating he was very much up to the challenge after having been bothered by injuries early in the post-season campaign. And he is 94% from the free throw line, which means he’s not going to leave a lot of points on the table. He hasn’t won this, in three championship seasons. Is he due? Maybe, but this doesn’t appear to be a “value” price.
Kawhi Leonard (Raptors) +225
— Well, the Raptors are going to have to win this series for him to be in the running for this. But if they do, we can’t imagine anyone else as a serious candidate. Leonard has scored more points than anyone else in the playoffs, and he is the “iron man,” with almost 700 minutes played. He’s been dead on from the free throw line, and of course his defense is going to be invaluable. between him and Kyle Lowry, they were carrying the Raptors in the first couple of games of the Eastern Conference finals. The other side of that coin is that Toronto lost those two games, so if they are able to win, it would require a more balanced effort.
Klay Thompson (Warriors) +1000
— What would seem to give Klay a chance here is that he can get hot and control a game with three-pointers, and then at the other end, he plays dogged defense. At 6-7 or thereabouts, he’s going to have a chance to corral the likes of both Leonard and Lowry at times. But he’ll have to have a prolonged hot streak from the arc to be a real MVP candidate, because offensively he doesn’t have a lot of different ways to score.
Draymond Green (Warriors) +1000
— Green does so much for the Warriors that it has to be recognized in a big way. He gives them a great high-post game, passes to open shooters from the low post, creates matchup problems with the way he executes the pick-and-roll. He can nail jumpers from the outside and pick up offensive rebounds, and because he can defend against guards, forwards and centers. All told, he may be the most indispensable player on this team. And with all the analytics available, there are things he does that are appreciated now, more than ever. He’s our pick.
Kevin Durant (Warriors) +1500
— He’s won the award in each of the last two seasons. The variable for BetAnySports patrons to consider is that we’re not sure how many games he is going to be able to play, and how much the rest of the lineup may have to adjust to him after he’s had little or no practice with them for more than three weeks. If healthy and doing business as usual, from Game 2 onward, of course, he could some off as a bargain, since on a per-game basis, he leads all playoff scorers at 34.2 points per contest.
Kyle Lowry (Raptors) +2000
— The key thing to know about Lowry is that he has been known to go into cold spells. But to his credit, he’s often been able to contribute in other areas if that’s the case. And he’s been a clutch performer with games on the line, compiling an Effective Field Goal Percentage of 63.1% in the fourth quarters of game sin these playoffs.
Pascal Siakam (Raptors) +6000
— This “dirty work” guy has the stuff to be the secondary scorer for Toronto, but of the Raptors win it, he’s going to take a back seat to Kawhi.
Andre Iguodala (Warriors) +10000
— This guy’s “been there,” as a Finals MVP as this group of Warriors won its first title. Yes, he is part of that “Death Lineup,” but with all of those All-Stars out there, we’re not expecting a repeat.
DeMarcus Cousins (Warriors) +10000
— Our sense is that even if he is available to play, he won’t register enough meaningful minutes to elevate himself to an MVP level. The Warriors have better plus-minus numbers with other pivot men anyway.
Marc Gasol (Raptors) +20000
— Gasol is versatile, as a good defender as well as one of the better passers out of the center position. But he’ll have to share some minutes with Serge Ibaka, and on the road in the playoffs his eFG% is just 38%.
Danny Green (Raptors) +20000
— Okay, Green may have some potential for the “longshot” win, because he brings the elements of defense and three-point shooting to the table. But the triples haven’t come of late; in the last eight game she’s made six out of 32 from beyond the arc, scoring 31 points in the process.
Kevon Looney (Warriors) +20000
–Looney has been doing a great job for the Warriors. And for a team that has taken just 40% of its shots in the paint he certainly does some of that. But he’s going to be sharing minutes with other people in the pivot, and one of those might be DeMarcus Cousins.
Serge Ibaka (Raptors) +25000
–At best, Ibaka is a backup to Marc Gasol, although he could have some impact as the backup.
Fred VanVleet (Raptors) +30000
— An interesting proposition here, maybe. VanVleet really caught fire as Toronto overtook Milwaukee in the East finals. This undrafted backup out of Wichita State has made 14 of his last 17 shots from beyond the arc. And if there is any “bit” player who might get recognition if the Raptors pull off a resounding victory, it’s his long-range bombing that could make it so.
Norman Powell (Raptors) +30000
— He is a super athlete, and he can make an impact for the Raptors on the offensive end. When he and Kawhi are on the floor together, Toronto outscores the opposition by 15.3 points per 100 posssesions.
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