With the 2022 NBA Finals tied 2-2 headed back to San Francisco for Game 5 on Monday, it's a good time to check in on the always fun Finals MVP race. If the Golden State Warriors win, Stephen Curry's a lock. As we'll discuss, he's got a strong case, so far, to win the award even should the Warriors lose the series. On the Boston Celtics‘ side, it's a tight call right now between Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown.
After that, I'm not going to bother with consideration for anyone else. One of these three guys is going to win Finals MVP. Through four games, here's how I see the rankings breaking down.
1. Stephen Curry
Curry is the favorite because Golden State, on paper at least, is in better position to win the championship as things currently stand, having taken back home-court advantage in what has become a three-game series.
Should the Warriors fall short, there is precedent for a player from the losing team winning Finals MVP. Jerry West received the honor in 1969 when his Lakers lost in seven games to the Celtics. In more recent times, if ever a player from a losing team was going to win Finals MVP, it would've, and probably should've been LeBron James in 2015, when he averaged 35.8 points, 13.3 rebounds and 8.8 assists in Cleveland's loss to Golden State.
We know who actually won Finals MVP in that 2015 series: Andre Iguodala. It remains hotly debated, with Iguodala himself recently saying he deserved the award over Stephen Curry, who, despite having some tough games by his standards, averaged 26-6-5 and created so much of the space in which Iguodala, and others, thrived.
This year, Curry, whose lack of a Finals MVP on an otherwise Mt. Rushmore worthy resume has been hot-taked to death, is leaving zero doubt. Again, if the Warriors win this series, he's got the hardware in bag. Nobody else has a chance. The question is: Should Curry win the award even if the Warriors lose the series?
Understand, there's a long way to go. If Curry lays an egg or two over the final stretch of this series, he's not going to win. He will have to continue on his current torrid pace through the end. That's how it should be. For a losing player to win MVP, the gap has to be so wide that it's overwhelming.