It’s a question that inevitably arises as the NBA Finals progress: who is best suited to win the title of MVP of the series? After three games, we are starting to have big trends and even if a lot of things can still evolve, we thought it was interesting to make a first big point.
1- Jaylen Brown
Series stats: 22.7 points, 7.3 rebounds, 4.3 assists, 42.9% shooting including 36% 3-pointers and 84.6% free throws
Given the Celtics are 2-1 up in the series going into tonight’s Game 4 at home, it kind of makes sense to us to put a Boston rep at No. 1. And at this little game, it’s Jaylen Brown who takes the bet. Decisive in the first round where he launched the crazy comeback of the Greens, super important in Game 3 where he put the Celtics on the right track by making a huge start to the match, JB is clearly present in these 2022 NBA Finals. He is a scorer, he defends, he opens opportunities for his friends while limiting turnovers, and in addition he combines stats and impact very well. From the great Jaylen Brown, and it had to be for Boston given that his buddy Jayson Tatum does not have his best scoring streak.
Series stats: 31.3 points, 5.0 rebounds, 3.7 assists, 2.7 steals, 48.5% shooting including 48.6% 3-pointers and 83.3% free throws
Stephen Curry is obviously the best player in these 2022 NBA Finals at the moment. If the Warriors were leading the charge against the Celtics, there would be no debate over the MVP of the series, unfortunately for him his greatness is somewhat overshadowed by the unfolding of events. His first quarter explosion in Game 1? Defeat at the end after the incredible finish of the Celtics. His great performance during Game 3? Insufficient to grab the win despite his exploits on the floor of TD Garden. Not helped by the irregularity of his teammates, Curry tries somehow to keep the Warriors’ head above water, a rather monumental task against this very solid Boston team defensively and too physical for the Dubs after three games. . Touched on the foot at the end of the third round, Steph will struggle as he can to try to carry his own as far as possible, even while being targeted by the opponent on both sides of the field. If he ever manages to take Golden State to the end, it will be legendary. And it will finally shut the mouths of those who continue to criticize him because he does not have this famous title of MVP of the Finals.
3- Jayson Tatum
Series stats: 22.0 points, 5.7 rebounds, 8.3 assists, 1 steal, 33.9% shooting including 43.5% 3-point and 76.2% free throws
Jayson Tatum started the series by releasing one of his worst scoring games of the season (12 points at 3/17 shooting). Blame it on a sore shoulder? Maybe, but in any case, he compensated by dropping a pure perf in playmaking (13 assists), he who shines more today by his ability to make others play than by his offensive cards. As in Game 1, JT served caviar again in the Game 3 victory, before taking matters into his own hands late in the game to put the lid on. In the end, if we obviously expect better from him in this series, Tatum today shows on the biggest stage to what extent he has become a more complete player this season, a player capable of influencing the course of a match far beyond scoring.
Series stats: 13.0 points, 7.3 rebounds, 3.3 assists, 65.2% shooting including 70.0% 3-pointers
The Al Horford Game. This is how we could call the first round of this final series between the Warriors and the Celtics. On the eve of his 36th birthday and for the very first appearance of his career in the NBA Finals, the veteran pivot may have had the match of his life with 26 pawns in total (the Celtics’ top scorer) and above all six banderillas sent, including two in the final quarter when Boston totally knocked the Warriors down on their own floor. For that alone, Tonton Al deserves to be in the Top 5 of this ranking. But Horford in these Finals is obviously much more than an isolated performance in scoring. If he didn’t really exist in Boston’s loss in Game 2, the former rolled up his sleeves again in Game 3 to help the Celtics regain control of the series: 11 points, 8 rebounds, 6 assists, 1 interception, 1 block, leadership, and the energy of a 20-year-old kid. His contribution in the different sectors of the game, his great experience as well as his winning DNA are currently making the difference for the Celtics.
5- Kevon Looney
Series Stats: 7.3 points, 7.7 rebounds, 3.3 assists, 1 steal, 1.3 blocks, 71.4% shooting
Clay Thompson? Jordan Poole? Draymond Green? Nope, none of these guys are in our Finals MVP rankings. Much too irregular for our taste. Because scoring a basket from midfield or having a good game out of three is not enough to be in the Top 5. On the other hand, a guy like Kevon Looney who does the shadow work night after night to help the Warriors to compete with Boston, it deserves to be underlined. We could have talked about Andrew Wiggins as well, but Wiggs dropped his best performance in Golden State’s two defeats, while Kevon was super valuable in the Game 2 win (12 points, 7 rebounds, 2 assists, 3 steals , 1 against at 6/6 shooting). Present on the rebound, always there to give new possessions to his friends, valuable in defense, and as usual irreproachable in attitude, Looney is one of those guys who help keep the Warriors machine running. Less used by Steve Kerr in these Finals compared to the series against Dallas (28 minutes against 21), Kevon Looney pays a little for not representing a great offensive threat. Against a defense as solid as that of Boston and with a Steph Curry a little isolated in attack, inevitably it is a little more complicated to find a real role. But on the other hand, we say to ourselves that in the physical combat that this series represents, Looney can become a real X factor with a view to a possible rise of the Warriors. In any case, given how Golden State took the water on the rebound in Game 3 (47 to 31), they will need Kevon.
OK ? Disagree ? Would you rather put Marcus Smart or Derrick White in this Top 5? It’s time to react and give your opinion on this special Finals MVP ranking. While waiting for your reactions from Hexperts, we’re already giving you an appointment for Game 4 tonight at 3 a.m., which could well upset our rankings a bit.