Kevin Durant and Kawhi Leonard are both seeking to join an exclusive group of five superstars who won the prestigious NBA Finals MVP award three or more times. Durant is the consensus favorite at +300 odds to guide the Brooklyn Nets to a title and to put his name alongside Michael Jordan, LeBron James, Magic Johnson, Tim Duncan, and Shaquille O’Neal.
Kawhi isn’t far behind at +600 odds to win the NBA Finals MVP, but he and the Clippers have a tougher road ahead of them in the Western Conference playoffs versus the softer pool the Nets enjoy in the East. For one, Kawhi would have to break the Clippers’ curse and finally win a Western Conference championship to gain entry into the NBA Finals.
|2021 NBA Finals MVP Odds
- Kevin Durant +300
- James Harden +590
- Kawhi Leonard +600
- Donovan Mitchell +600
- Kyrie Irving +900
- Devin Booker +1000
- Joel Embiid +1200
- Giannis “Greek Freak” Antetokounmpo +1400
- Rudy Gobert +1600
- Paul George +2800
- Trae Young +3000
- Nikola Jokic +4000
- Chris Paul +4000
Trae Young at +3000 odds and Nikola Jokic at +4000 odds are long shots on the board via DraftKings. The two are the best players on their respective teams, but the Atlanta Hawks and Denver Nuggets are long shots to win the championship on the NBA futures board. Jokic has the inside track to win the regular season MVP.
Anyone else besides Kawhi or Durant?
Even without James Harden, the Nets opened a 2-0 series lead against the Milwaukee Bucks. With only two out of the three members of Brooklyn’s Big 3 currently able to play, Durant will be relied on to provide additional scoring and playmaking while Harden is sidelined with a bad hamstring. So far, he’s outplayed Giannis “Greek Freak” Antetokounmpo, and it hasn’t even been close.
Harden is +590 odds to win the NBA Finals MVP. His odds changed slightly after he injured his hamstring in the opening minute of Game 1 against the Milwaukee Bucks. He’s out of Game 2 and listed as questionable for Game 3. Brooklyn’s Kyrie Irving also offers some value at +900 odds because he’s the healthiest out of the Big 3.
Although the Clippers aren’t the favorites to win the Western Conference, Kawhi won a pair of NBA championships with two different franchises. The West is also wide open. The Denver Nuggets lost their starting backcourt to injuries.
The Phoenix Suns knocked the Lakers out in the first round, but their future rides on the health of Chris Paul. Devin Booker got his first taste of the postseason this year with the Suns. The young Booker has a chance to win an NBA Finals MVP someday, but he’s +1000 odds this year. Paul is a long shot at +400 odds.
The Utah Jazz secured the best record during the regular season, but having the most wins doesn’t always translate into a championship. The team with the most wins in the last three seasons wasn’t even in the NBA Finals. With that said, the Jazz are the consensus second-highest favorite to win the 2021 championship on the futures board. Their leading scorer, Donovan Mitchell, has the same NBA Finals MVP odds as Kawhi at +600.
Multiple MVP studs: Jordan, LeBron, Magic
Michael Jordan holds the record with six MVP awards during the Chicago Bulls’ dynasty days in the 1990s. The Bulls won six championships and Jordan took home the Finals MVP all six times.
LeBron James earned his fourth NBA Finals MVP last year inside the NBA Bubble. It was his first with the LA Lakers, but he won one with the Cleveland Cavs in 2016, and won back-to-back awards in 2012 and 2013 with the Miami Heat
|NBA Finals MVP (Since 2011)|
|2011||Dirk Nowitzki||Dallas Mavericks|
|2012||LeBron James||Miami Heat|
|2013||LeBron James||Miami Heat|
|2014||Kawhi Leonard||San Antonio Spurs|
|2015||Andre Iguodala||Golden State Warriors|
|2016||LeBron James||Cleveland Cavaliers|
|2017||Kevin Durant||Golden State Warriors|
|2018||Kevin Durant||Golden State Warriors|
|2019||Kawhi Leonard||Toronto Raptors|
|2020||LeBron James||LA Lakers|
Three players are tied with three awards: Magic Johnson, Shaquille O’Neal, and Tim Duncan. Magic won his three with the Showtime Lakers in the 1980s. Shaq won the NBA Finals MVP three years in a row during the Lakers’ three-peat run between 2000 and 2002. Duncan won his three with the San Antonio Spurs between 1999 and 2005.
Durant and Kawhi are lumped together with a strong group of two-time NBA Finals MVP winners, including Willis Reed, Kareem-Abdul Jabbar, Kobe Bryant, Hakeem Olajuwon, and Larry Bird.
Check out more coverage of the 2021 NBA Playoffs.