NBA Finals 2022: Is Jaylen Brown Favorite for Finals MVP?

ask several NBA followers to give your Finals MVP pick after Game 3 and you’ll likely hear a plethora of responses.

Some would go with Jayson Tatum, who, despite a porous shooting performance in Game 1 (3-17), had 13 assists in an away win, followed up with 28 points and six rebounds in Game 2, and then put up 26 points, nine assists and six rebounds in Boston’s 116-100 victory in Game 3.

Others would unequivocally opt for Stephen Curry. His Warriors are currently down 2-1, but Curry’s brilliance has been almost unfailing since his 21-point burst in the first quarter of Game 1. He’s had back-to-back showings of 34, 29, and 31 points for an average of 31.3. PPG

But a third Finals MVP contender is the one that very few had programmed to earn the honor of entering the case: Jaylen Brown.

In fact, Brown’s odds of winning the Bill Russell Award were 10-1 before Game 3, and it went down to just 8-1 before Game 3, despite Brown’s emergence as Boston’s leading scorer.

Nick Wright told his “First Things First” co-hosts during the “MVP Ladder” segment that he had already bet a few bucks on Brown to win the Finals MVP before Game 1.

“I’ll tell you now, I think Jaylen Brown is going to win the Finals MVP,” he said Wednesday. “I can try to get more money after this segment.”

Brown is on his way to finals history.

If his numbers hold up (22.7 PPG, 7.3 RPG, 4.3 APG), he will become the 11th player since 1980, aged 25 and under, averaging 20+ PPG, 5+ RPG, and 4+ APG in the finals. Tatum is on the same path.

Brown currently ranks second among all Finals contributors in points per game (22.7), rebounds per game (7.3), fouls per game (4.3), points in the first quarter (34), points in first half (49), fourth fourth points (13), plus/minus (+19) and use (29.5).

He is the only player to score more than 10 points in two separate first quarters so far (13 in Game 2, 17 in Game 3), while his 17 points in the first quarter in Game 3 are the most in a first quarter finals since 1996.

And after Wednesday night’s showdown, Chris Broussard agreed with Wright’s pick.

“Jaylen Brown is a legitimate star,” Broussard said Thursday. “He’s the Finals MVP now, and I thought he was going to the game for the Celtics.

“He did in Game 3 what he did this postseason: whenever his back is against the wall and they need something done, he goes forward. Rally with 10 points and two assists at the start of the fourth. And then last night , he went out and set the tone, went straight to Draymond Green. He set the tone.”

Skip Bayless also called Brown an MVP, opining that he was “a little better” than Tatum in “Undisputed”.

“Jayson Tatum is robotic. It’s ironic that Kobe Bryant took Tatum under his wing, and the guy with the Mamba mindset is Jaylen Brown. You can see it spreading all over the court 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 he had a good first half in Game 2, but in the second half, he completely disappears and goes 1-3 when they lose the third quarter. In the first two games, Jayson Tatum – in brief superstar – hit 18% of two. That’s the lowest in the clock age in the first two games combined by any player of all time.”

Brown has been adamant that the only stat he cares about is winning. But if he continues to help his team’s efforts as he has, he can win in more ways than one.


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