Golden State’s Stephen Curry might steer the team, but Kevin Durant has been the engine that makes the Warriors go. As a result it is the forward, not the guard, that is the favorite to win the Finals MVP.
BetOnline has Durant at -150, while Curry is a distant second at +175. LeBron James is next at +700. The Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook has Durant at 4/5, Curry at 3/2 and James at 7/1.
The longshot is Warriors guard Klay Thompson. He is listed at 20/1 and could be a good value bet. Often overshadowed by Curry and Durant, Thompson has become an all-star and can pick up the slack when the other two are being pushed around, like they were in the Western Conference Finals.
Houston’s defense focused on Curry and Durant, and in Game 6 Thompson knocked down nine 3-pointers en route to 35 points and a Golden State victory. It certainly impressed his coach, Steve Kerr.
“Well, I thought Klay was amazing, not just for 35 points and the nine threes, but his defense,” Kerr said. “The guy’s a machine. He’s just so fit physically. He seems to thrive in these situations. … I just think he wants to go out there and hoop, and he doesn’t worry about much else. So the pressure doesn’t seem to bother him much. He just competes and plays.”
Curry Wants Ring Not MVP
The guard has been named the NBA regular season MVP, but has never captured the award in the NBA Championship. It is the only hole in a stellar career, but the 30 year old doesn’t care about the accolade.
“It doesn’t make or break my career, or whatever you want to say looking back,” Curry said. “If we win this championship and I don’t win Finals MVP, I’m going to be smiling just as wide and just as big.”
His teammates know his value, and Draymond Green reiterated Curry’s stance on not concerning himself with the postseason award.
“I can guarantee you that Steph is not up late thinking about winning the Finals MVP,” Green told ESPN. “We’re all trying to win another championship. If he gets [the award], he gets it. But that’s not what he, or anybody else on this team, is playing for.”
If Durant were to win Finals MVP it would be his second straight. The last person to win two in a row was LeBron James in 2012 and 2013 when he was with the Miami Heat.
Does LeBron Have a Chance at No. 4?
James won the award for the third time in 2016 when he led the Cavaliers to a comeback win in the NBA Finals against the Warriors. There are some that have argued that the 33 year old should win it, even if his team loses. If he has a performance like he did in the Eastern Conference Finals, he could be named MVP even if Cleveland loses.
The only player to ever win the award and not the championship was Los Angeles Lakers guard Jerry West. He captured the honor in 1969 despite his team losing to the Boston Celtics, 4-3. it was the first year an NBA Finals MVP was named.
The Cavaliers are huge underdogs to Golden State. The Westgate has them at 7/1 to upset the Warriors.