Six Most Likely Candidates to Achieve Conference Finals MVPs

Jaylen Brown has the ability to break out vs. Miami, while Jimmy Butler continues to increase his numbers in the postseason.

The NBA recently introduced a new lineup of post-season hardware with two major additions that are sure to spark a lot of discussion during the upcoming Eastern and Western Conference finals.

The league added Conference Finals MVP trophies named for Magic Johnson (Western Conference) and Larry Bird (Eastern Conference), two of the key players responsible for increasing the NBA’s popularity in the 1980s.

With the Conference Finals matchups finally underway, starting with Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Finals on Tuesday, followed by the opening Wednesday of the Western Conference Finals, we take a look at the six candidates most likely to walk away with this one. new hardware. Instead of ranking the players like we do in the Kia Race to the MVP Ladder, we’ll list these potential Conference Finals MVP candidates alphabetically from each conference.

Also keep an eye out for our upcoming NBA Finals MVP Ladder, coming out in June:

Oriental Conference

Jaylen Brown, Boston Celtics

Post-season stats: 22.2 ppg, 6.5 rpg, 3.8 apg

Don’t sleep over Brown’s ability to warm up quickly. Back on January 1, the 2021 All-Star posted a career-high 50 points against the Orlando Magic, including 24 points in the fourth quarter and overtime, making him the seventh player in Celtics history to reach 50 points. Miami can’t just take on Jayson Tatum in the Eastern Conference finals, as the little forward has enough chemistry with Brown to routinely find the shooting guard for highlight reel connections. Brown racked up a total of seven steals in the Eastern Conference semifinals against the Milwaukee Bucks, and he racked up a total of 17 thefts in 11 playoffs in 2022.

Tatum, Brown connect to en-1 oops


Jimmy Butler, Miami Heat

Stats after the season: 28.7 ppg, 7.6 rpg, 5.4 apg

Interestingly, the Heat has finished with five different scoring leaders in their 11 post-season outings, but what you need to understand is the fact that Butler is a different beast in playoff mode. Do not think so? Compare the man’s regular season numbers with what he does in the playoffs. Butler increased his scoring average by 7.3 points, rebounds by 1.7 and his steals from 1.65 per game in the regular season to 2.1 in the playoffs. The six-time All-Star also increased his shooting rates from 43% on regular-season field goals to 52.5% in the postseason and his 3-point accuracy from 23.3% to 36.4%.

Jimmy Butler takes over, Heat shuts down 76ers in Game 6


Jayson Tatum, Boston Celtics

Post-season stats: 28.3 ppg, 5.6 rpg, 6.1 apg

You can expect Miami to do whatever it takes to stop Tatum, which may prove fruitless based on the 46-point performance the young star produced in Game 6 against the Milwaukee Bucks in the conference semifinals. Tatum’s point total was the second-highest point total of a Celtic in an elimination match, according to StatMuse. Tatum just cuts through defenses like warm butter. Even two-time Kia MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo noticed, and wished Tatum the best after Boston knocked Milwaukee out of the playoffs. Tatum scored 17 of his 23 points in Game 7 against the Bucks in the first half and started the game 5-for-5 from deep.


Western Conference

Stephen Curry, Golden State Warriors

Post-season stats: 26.9 ppg, 4.2 rpg, 5.6 apg

Golden State has come out victorious in 20 of the last 22 post-season series, with Curry being one of the main reasons. Curry averaged 26 points, 4.8 rebounds and 5.8 assists in the Western Conference semifinals against Memphis. Curry, an eight-time All-Star, finished the conference semifinals with his 31st career 20-plus points postseason outing, routine make all the big hits we have come to expect from the future Hall of Famer. Curry has drilled at least one three-pointer in each of Golden State’s 10 postseason games, extending his NBA playoff record of three points to 122 consecutive games, according to Elias Sports Bureau.


Luka Doncic, Dallas Mavericks

Post-season stats: 31.5 ppg, 10.1 rpg, 6.6 apg

At 23, Doncic is the second-youngest player in NBA playoff history to rack up 35 points and 10 rebounds in a Game 7, after hitting his 14th birthday.e career 30-point postseason outing in Dallas’ closeout win over the Phoenix Suns Sunday. You can expect enough from sick crossovers of the three-time All-Star against the Warriors in the conference final, like the one he did on Phoenix’s Cameron Johnson who just screams “viral content.” Even the greatest player in Mavericks franchise history, Dirk Nowitzki, made sure pay tribute to Doncic on the heels of his lights-out show in Dallas’ Game 7 annihilation of the Suns.

How will Warriors try to defend Luka?


Klay Thompson, Golden State Warriors

Post-season stats: 20.4 ppg, 4.5 rpg, 2.0 apg

The Warriors are returning to the Western Conference finals for the first time since 2019, and Thompson looks set to get back into shape as one of the league’s best players. deadliest shooters† The five-time All-Star averaged 18.5 points, 5.0 rebounds and 1.2 steals in the conference semifinals, finishing the series with his 15e career postseason outing with 30 points or more. Thompson has hit eight three-pointers four times in a game, leveling Ray Allen, Curry and Damian Lillard for the most in NBA history. Thompson’s Game 6 reputation is also legit. He averaged 28.1 points and hit 6.1 3-pointers per game the last seven times he played in a Game 6.

Michael C. Wright is a senior writer for NBA.com. You can email him herefind his archive here and follow him Twitter

The views expressed on this page do not necessarily reflect the views of the NBA, its clubs, or Turner Broadcasting.

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