Heading into the 2021 NBA Finals, Chris Paul had the inside track to winning the MVP. After the Phoenix Suns took a 1-0 series lead over the Milwaukee Bucks, Paul continues to be the betting favorite at -150 odds to win the NBA Finals MVP ahead of Devin Booker and Giannis ‘Greek Freak’ Antetokounmpo.
According to DraftKings, Booker is second on the prop betting board at +400 odds, followed by Greek Freak at +600 odds to win the NBA Finals MVP.
Paul scored 32 points and dished nine assists in his first-ever appearance in the NBA Finals. Booker tallied 27 points in the Game 1 victory. Khris Middleton led the Bucks in scoring with 29 points in a losing effort in Game 1. Greek Freak, playing with a hyperextended knee, scored 20 points and wiped the glass with 17 rebounds in his NBA Finals debut.
Chris Paul -150
Devin Booker +400
Giannis ‘Greek Freak’ Antetokounmpo +600
Khris Middleton +700
Deandre Ayton +1000
Jrue Holiday +3000
Mikhal Bridges +10000
Jae Crowder +15000
Cameron Johnson +150000
Brook Lopez +150000
Cameron Payne +20000
PJ Tucker +25000
Only once in the last nine years did someone other than LeBron James, Kevin Durant, or Kawhi Leonard win the NBA Finals MVP when Andre Iguodala won it with the Golden State Warriors in 2015. Iggy is the only role player and non-starter to win the NBA Finals MVP, because typically the top star on the championship team wins the award.
NBA Finals MVP History
Michael Jordan won the NBA Finals MVP six times, or one for every championship he won with the Chicago Bulls during their dynasty in the 1990s. Jordan led the Bulls to a pair of three-peats that were interrupted by a premature retirement and his pursuit of minor league baseball.
LeBron won the NBA Finals MVP four times since 2012, including twice with the Miami Heat and solo championship victories with the Cleveland Cavs in 2016 and the Los Angeles Lakers last year inside the NBA Bubble.
Magic Johnson, Shaquille O’Neal, and Tim Duncan each won the Finals MVP three times. Magic won it three times during the Showtime Lakers era in the 1980s. Shaq won three in a row with the Lakers at the turn of the century. Duncan guided the San Antonio Spurs to a trio of titles between 1999 and 2005.
Durant and Leonard won the award twice, along other multi-winners including Willis Reed, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Kobe Bryant, Larry Bird, and Hakeem Olajuwon.
The NBA created the Finals MVP in 1969. Since its inception, a player on the losing team won the MVP only once. Jerry West is the only player in history to win the NBA Finals MVP for a runner-up team, which occurred in the first year they created the distinction when the LA Lakers lost to the Boston Celtics in the 1969 NBA Finals.