Heading into the 2021 NBA Finals, Chris Paul had the inside track to winning the MVP. Now, after the Phoenix Suns took a 1-0 series lead over the Milwaukee Bucks, Paul continues to be the betting favorite at -150 odds to win the award, ahead of Devin Booker and Giannis “Greek Freak” Antetokounmpo.
According to DraftKings, Booker is second on the prop betting board at +400 odds, followed by Antetokounmpo at +600 odds to win the NBA Finals MVP.
Paul scored 32 points and dished nine assists in his first appearance in the NBA Finals. Booker tallied 27 points in the Game 1 victory. Khris Middleton led the Bucks in scoring with 29 points in a losing effort in Game 1. Antetokounmpo, playing with a hyperextended knee, scored 20 points and wiped the glass with 17 rebounds in his NBA Finals debut.
|2021 NBA Finals MVP Odds|
- Chris Paul -150
- Devin Booker +400
- Giannis “Greek Freak” Antetokounmpo +600
- Khris Middleton +700
- Deandre Ayton +1000
- Jrue Holiday +3000
- Mikhal Bridges +10000
- Jae Crowder +15000
- Cameron Johnson +150000
- Brook Lopez +150000
- Cameron Payne +20000
- PJ Tucker +25000
Only once in the last nine years did someone other than LeBron James, Kevin Durant, or Kawhi Leonard win the NBA Finals MVP; Andre Iguodala was named MVP with the Golden State Warriors in 2015. Iggy is the only role player and non-starter to win the NBA Finals MVP because, typically, the top star on the championship team wins the award.
NBA Finals MVP history
Michael Jordan won the NBA Finals MVP six times — one time each for every championship he won with the Chicago Bulls during their dynasty in the 1990s. Jordan led the Bulls to a pair of three-peats that were interrupted by his premature retirement and pursuit of a minor league baseball career.
LeBron won the NBA Finals MVP four times since 2012, including twice with the Miami Heat, and solo championship victories with the Cleveland Cavs in 2016 and the Los Angeles Lakers last year inside the NBA Bubble.
Magic Johnson, Shaquille O’Neal, and Tim Duncan each won the Finals MVP three times. Magic won it three times during the Showtime Lakers era in the 1980s. Shaq won three in a row with the Lakers at the turn of the century, and Duncan guided the San Antonio Spurs to a trio of titles between 1999 and 2005.
Durant and Leonard won the award twice, along with other multi-winners, including Willis Reed, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Kobe Bryant, Larry Bird, and Hakeem Olajuwon.
The NBA created the Finals MVP in 1969. Since its inception, a player on the losing team won the MVP only once. Jerry West is the only player in history to win the NBA Finals MVP for a runner-up team, which occurred in the first year they created the distinction when the LA Lakers lost to the Boston Celtics in the 1969 NBA Finals.
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