Ask a lot NBA followers to give their Final MVP picks after Game 3 and you’ll probably hear tons of answers.
Some will go for Jayson Tatum, who, despite a poor shooting performance in Game 1 (3-for-17), provided 13 assists in the away win, followed by 28 points and six boards in Game 2, and then put up 26 points, nine assists, and six rebounds in Boston’s 116-100 Game 3 win.
Others will definitely vote for Stephen Curry. His Warriors are currently trailing 2-1, but Curry’s scoring brilliance has hardly gone wrong since his 21-point boom in the first quarter of Game 1. He showed 34, 29 and 31 points respectively for a fine 31.3 PPG average.
But the third Finals MVP candidate is one of the very few slated to earn the honor leading up to the affair: Jaylen Brown.
In fact, Brown’s chances of earning the Bill Russell Award are 10-to-1 heading into the series, and have moved to just 8-to-1 ahead of Game 3, despite Brown’s emergence as Boston’s top scorer.
Nick Wright told the “First Things First” cohost during the “MVP Ladder” segment that he had given Brown a few bucks to win the Final MVP before Game 1.
“I’m going to tell you now, I think Jaylen Brown will win the Final MVP,” he said Wednesday. “I might try to earn more money after this segment.”
Brown is on his way to Finals history.
If the numbers hold steady (22.7 PPG, 7.3 RPG, 4.3 APG), he will be the 11th player since 1980 aged 25 or under the average of 20+ PPG, 5+ RPG and 4+ APG in the Finals. Tatum is on the same track.
Brown currently ranks second among all Finals contributors in points per game (22.7), rebounds per game (7.3), fouls drawn per game (4.3), first quarter points (34), inning points first (49), fourth quarter points (13), plus/minus (+19) and usage (29.5).
He is the only player to score more than 10 points in the first two separate quarters so far (13 in Game 2, 17 in Game 3), while his 17 points in the first quarter of Game 3 is the most in the first quarter of the Finals since 1996.
And after Wednesday night’s fight, Chris Broussard agreed with Wright’s choice.
“Jaylen Brown is a legit star,” Broussard said Thursday. “He’s the Finals MVP now, and I think he’ll be playing for the Celtics.
“He did in Game 3 what he’s been doing post-season: Whenever their backs are against the wall, and they need something, he steps up. Game 1, you’re down 12 after a terrible third quarter – he triggers a fourth-quarter rally with 10 points and two assists early in the quarter. And then last night, he came out and set the tone, went straight for Draymond Green. He set the tone.”
Skip Bayless named Brown as his MVP as well, even arguing that he was “slightly better” than Tatum in “Undisputed.”
“Jayson Tatum is a robot. It’s ironic that Kobe Bryant took Tatum under his wing, and the man with the Mamba mentality is Jaylen Brown. You could see it spilling all over the pitch last night.”
“I don’t think anyone could have dealt with Jaylen Brown last night,” Bayless added. Tatum started 3-of-17 in Game 1, and then had a pretty good first half in Game 2, but in the second, he completely disappeared, and went 1-for-3 as they lost in the third quarter. the first two games, Jayson Tatum—the soon to be superstar—shoots 18% of the two. That’s the lowest shot clock era in the first two games combined by any player ever.”
Brown insisted that the only status he cared about was winning. But if he continues to help his team’s efforts like he used to, he can win in more ways than one.
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NBA Finals 2022: Is Jaylen Brown the frontrunner for Finals MVP?
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