As the NBA announced earlier during the postseason, for the first time this year, there will be some additional hardware handed out at the conclusion of each Conference Finals series.
Along with the new Bob Cousy Eastern Conference Finals championship trophy and Oscar Robertson Western Conference Finals championship trophy, the NBA will also present Conference Finals MVP awards for the first time in league history.
The Western Conference Finals MVP trophy is named after Lakers legend Magic Johnson, while the Eastern Conference Finals MVP trophy is named after Celtics legend Larry Bird.
With the Heat forcing a Game 7 behind a historic performance from Jimmy Butler, our staff has made their picks for the first-ever Larry Bird Conference Finals MVP award.
You can also find the current betting odds for the Larry Bird Conference Finals MVP award, courtesy of FanDuel Sportsbook.
Who should win the Larry Bird Eastern Conference Finals MVP?
Scott Rafferty (@crabdribbles): If the Heat win, it has to be Jimmy Butler. He was quiet in Games 3-5, but he led the Heat to victory in Game 1 with 41 points, nine rebounds, five assists and four steals. He then put together a masterpiece in Game 6 to the tune of 47 points, nine rebounds, eight assists and four steals.
The last player to have multiple 40-point, four-steal games in a single series? Michael Jordan.
If the Celtics win, I lean toward Jayson Tatum — Boston goes as he does, and he has a lot on his plate — but I wouldn’t count out Jaylen Brown entirely. Sure, he’s had some turnover issues, but he’s averaging 24.2 points per game on impressive efficiency in this series, and he’s been pretty consistent overall. A big Game 7 to punch Boston’s ticket to the Finals could tip the scales in his favor.
Jordan Greer (@jordangreer42): Jaylen Brown, Al Horford, Marcus Smart and Robert Williams have enjoyed terrific stretches during the Eastern Conference Finals. Brown’s scoring has stood out, as he is averaging 24.2 points per game while shooting 48.1 percent from the field and 42.9 percent from beyond the arc.
With that said, I have to agree with Scott on this one. Jayson Tatum is the right choice for the Celtics through six games. A shoulder issue seems to have impacted his shooting touch, but he has been so effective in other areas that a drop in efficiency shouldn’t hurt his case.
From a Heat perspective, there really isn’t a good argument for anyone other than Jimmy Butler. He certainly had a few rough outings against the Celtics, but his performances in Games 1 and 6 were spectacular.
Kyle Irving (@KyleIrv_): It’s hard to disagree with Jordan or Scott here. While Brown has had some moments that warrant Conference Finals MVP consideration (like his second-half performance in Game 5), if the Celtics win, it has to be Jayson Tatum who takes home the award. One quiet showing in Game 3 aside, Tatum has done everything you’d expect of an All-NBA First Team member.
If the Heat win, it’s a no-brainer that Jimmy Butler would win Conference Finals MVP. What he just did in Game 6 is the stuff of all-time greats, scoring 47 points on the road in an elimination game.
If Miami closes this series out, it’s a safe bet that Butler will have another major performance that locks him in for the first-ever Larry Bird Conference Finals MVP trophy.
Eastern Conference Finals MVP betting odds
Tatum is the betting favorite to win the first-ever Larry Bird Eastern Conference Finals MVP trophy.
Butler has the second-best odds behind Tatum, followed by Boston’s Jaylen Brown and Miami’s Bam Adebayo.
– original source here