Culture of Hoops

NBA Awards Roundtable: Finals MVP

Image courtesy of Keith Allison/Flickr.

Image courtesy of Keith Allison/Flickr.

The NBA postseason is upon us and that means the H&H crew got together to break down the NBA Awards so you don’t have to.

Dennis Velasco: Obviously this is going to be a tough one since there are unknown factors at multiple levels to consider since there isn’t a sample size because the postseason hasn’t started. So, prediction time… the Toronto Raptors will represent the East versus the Golden State Warriors, who will represent the West. So, with that out of the way, Stephen Curry will win this award, making up for his dilution for MVP contention during the regular season. Of course, it’s through no fault of his own; Curry is part of a legitimate super team and both Russell Westbrook and James Harden have stepped up bigger than Oliver Miller. But, in the end, there’s only one piece of hardware players care about – the Larry O’Brien trophy. This Finals MVP comes a distant second, but it’ll be Curry’s first.

Dan Tria: This award is always for the best player on the winning team – except when Kobe went 6 for 24 and won it. So, the first question is, who is the best team? With the Cleveland Cavaliers slumping and the Celtics in “almost, but not really” status, the default must be the Warriors. Any of Steve Kerr‘s charges could easily win this award. For comedy/watching heads explode, I’d personally love to see Draymond Green win it. Can you imagine that speech?! It would be great! However, my instincts tell me it will be Kevin Durant. He’s the type of player who can take over playoff games when he wants and Finals MVP voters seem to really like that.

Mike Cortez: Don’t play yourself and think the NBA Finals will not be Warriors vs. Cavs Part III. It’s happening, the playoffs are just an appetizer. The GOAT, LeBron James, will drag this series down to the final game at Oracle once again. But this time he has a relative equal on the floor. It’s easy to forget sometimes, but Kevin Durant is the best scorer of our generation. LeBron will do his best to slow him down, but KD will get his buckets. When he went down with a knee injury he was in the thick of the MVP race. He can still take home MVP honors and add a trophy to that. The Warriors survive LeBron this year and Kevin Durant will be the reason.

Sonny G: Assuming that the inevitable happens, and the Warriors end up hoisting the Larry O’Brien Trophy in June, it’s just a guess as to which Warrior will get the luxury of holding both trophies in the air. Andre Iguodala stole Stephen Curry‘s 2015 Finals MVP, so it’s no sure thing that either Kevin Durant or Curry will win Finals MVP. Would it be a complete surprise if Klay Thompson decided to play NBA Jam and literally turn the basketball into a fireball during the Finals? I don’t think so. Could Draymond Green do all the little things and put up 12 points, 11 rebounds, 8 assists, and 6 combined blocks/steals in the NBA Finals and win the Bill Russell Finals MVP? I think that’s totally in play. Could Zaza Pachulia put together his most spectacular stretch of basketball in his career and take home the hardware? Probably only if the majority of voters lived in his native country of Georgia.

However, everyone has forgotten about Steph this year. It’s amazing how quickly his totally dominant and completely enthralling MVP season was last year. Even this year, in the midst of a season where Steph is averaging 25 points, 4 boards and 7 assists per game (and don’t forget the 300+ threes), there’s been more “What’s the deal with Steph?” chatter than there has been since we weren’t sure if his ankles would hold up. Steph is fine, and in the rubber match with Cleveland in the Finals, he’ll make up for a subpar Finals series last year and take this trophy.

Tyler Birss: Once the Warriors defeat the Cavaliers in 5 games, Kevin Durant will be crowned the NBA Finals MVP. This is possibly the most difficult prediction to make given the time and unknowns before the NBA Finals, but Durant is my man for it. Given his lack of a ring and the countless fans who have hated on his decision to join the Warriors, KD will be playing like a man possessed. I expect 31-11-5 type numbers from him. Durant’s performance will be a fascinating dynamic given Steph Curry’s need for a legendary Finals showing himself. Someone on the Warriors will take the award regardless, and I’m banking on Durant.

Dylan Hamann: So we all know it’s going to happen, Warriors and Cavs. Now don’t get me wrong, I really don’t want to see this, as I’d like to see some kind of crazy upset that throws everything off but it simply won’t happen. I believe the Warriors will come out on top in six games and with the stacked team they have, you could give it to one of four guys. Durant, Green, Curry, or Thompson. While Thompson is great I don’t think he’ll make the MVP in the NBA Finals; just not good enough when there is so much talent on that team. Draymond is a defensive monster, but defense isn’t enough to win this award, so he misses the mark. Curry, while banging threes and doing what he normally does is a strong case for the award, the “villain” will take it home. Durant is going to start taking names and shut down a well-rested LeBron.

Mike Bitanga: Kevin Durant winning a championship and the NBA Finals MVP would be the perfect answer to Russell Westbrook nabbing the regular season MVP (if he manages to slip past Harden). Durant wants a championship, and it’s a fairly safe bet that the Golden State Warriors are heading to the NBA Finals for the rubber match against the Cleveland Cavaliers. It seems like Durant wants that championship bad enough that he’ll blow up on the big stage. He’s hungry, and now he has a better squad to get the job done, a squad that needs to make up for losing that 3-1 lead last season. I’m sure that they want to wash those 3-1 memes away, and a shiny new Larry O’Brien NBA Championship Trophy will do just that, so Durant has the perfect team to get that first ring.

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