Devin Booker, Chris Paul among favorites for Finals MVP
Devin Booker might be a long-shot to win the NBA Most Valuable Player honor behind statistically superior regular-season campaigns from Nikola Jokic, Joel Embiid and Giannis Antetokounmpo.
But NBA Finals MVP? That could be more likely if you believe the Phoenix Suns’ best regular season in franchise history translates to another long playoff run.
Phoenix’s Booker joins Milwaukee’s Antetokounmpo as the top two favorites to win the Finals MVP honor. FanDuel’s sportsbook puts the odds at +500 for Booker and +550 for Antetokounmpo.
Booker’s backcourt mate, Chris Paul, comes in third with +800 odds to win Finals MVP.
It’s unsurprising with the Suns at +250 and Bucks at +480 as the teams with the most favorable odds to win the title.
Booker averaged 27.3 points, 5.6 rebounds and 4.5 assists through 22 playoff games for Phoenix in 2021. He starred under the bright lights of his first postseason appearance.
He hit the 40-point mark in Games 3 and 4 of the Finals against the Bucks and closed with 601 points in the postseason, blasting past Rick Barry’s old record of 521 for a playoff first-timer.
But Antetokounmpo also put together a stellar postseason last year, averaging 30.2 points, 12.8 rebounds and 5.1 assists per game on 57% shooting.
He won the Finals MVP as the Bucks beat the Suns in six games, scoring more than 40 three times and hitting the 50-point mark with five blocks and 14 boards in the series-clinching Game 6.
The Suns’ Booker and Paul have strong odds to win MVP because Phoenix is assumed to have an easier path through the postseason.
The Eastern Conference is viewed as stronger than the Western Conference after it won the season series (226-224) for the first time since 2008-09.
Milwaukee will have to go through a playoff grouping that includes the No. 1 seeded Miami Heat, the red-hot Boston Celtics and the superstar duos on the Philadelphia 76ers and Brooklyn Nets.
In the Western Conference, Phoenix’s toughest opponents could include the Memphis Grizzlies, who lack much of a playoff resume, and the Golden State Warriors, who have injury questions heading into the first round.