Curry or LeBron: Nick Wright on how the 1969 Jerry West Finals MVP precedent could affect this year’s race

Video Details

With Game 3 of the 2018 NBA Finals on the horizon, Nick Wright targets the odds for Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant and LeBron James to win the Finals MVP, detailing how the 1969 precedent where Jerry West won the award (despite his Los Angeles Lakers losing to the Boston Celtics) could affect this year's race. Who is your pick for Finals MVP?

- Steph Curry's minus 400. KD's plus 250. LeBron's plus 850. Just for some context of what that means-- if you bet $400 on Steph to win, you win a $100. If you bet $400 on KD to win, you win $1,000. So when they say he's 10 times more likely than KD, if you bet $400 on LeBron to win, you win $3,400-- so 34 times more likely than LeBron.

Vegas odds say Steph has all but locked this up. And assuming the Warriors win this series, I think Vegas is correct. Narratives are important. Steph has been the victim of this, by the way. The narrative in 2015 was Steph was not very good.

What if I told you in 2015 Steph averaged in the finals more points per game than he averaged in the regular season when he was season MVP? What if I told you last year Steph Curry averaged 27, 8, and 9 and 1/2 in the NBA Finals and was not even considered for MVP? He's only had one bad NBA Finals. That was the 2016 year where he had a bad final three games.

The league knows this. The media knows this. And I think they believe it's Steph's turn. You can make an argument that LeBron, as long as this thing isn't a sweep, that he's so clearly the most valuable guy playing-- that he should get real consideration. But he barely got consideration in 2015 when he carried that team to six games. So at this point, I would be shocked if Steph is not the Finals MVP.

- Well, Steph too-- you have to realize that there hadn't been a lot of great performances in two games by the Warriors if you look at it. Who else could it be? And especially if you look at just the fourth quarter, you would be like, oh OK, I could see this.

Him having an NBA record nine threes-- because that right there is the headliner-- and them being up 2-0. Vegas has already have concluded they're going to win. So you have to pick someone off the winner. And if you look at the two games, Steph's the only guy. So I could understand why, but I meant game number 3 is also critical not only how the series and how long the series but how that narrative is carved out. Because if KD explodes in game number 3 or if LeBron leads them-- if he goes 40 and a triple-double and gets it to 2 to 1-- I guarantee you the odds in Vegas before they play only two games will shift drastically.

- Well, the LeBron thing is interesting. Because Vegas says right now it is considerably more likely for LeBron to win MVP than for the Cavs to win the series. So what they're saying is LeBron could win it in a losing effort.

I just will believe that when I see it. I think you could have made an argument for LeBron in 2015. You could have made an argument for LeBron, by the way, in 2014. Last year it was tough because KD was so good even though LeBron did have slightly better numbers than Durant.

But LeBron's averaging 49 and 11 in these finals. Steph has been awesome-- is averaging 31, 7, and 9. So the numbers are not going to be comparable. It is the precedent of you've only given it to a guy on the winning team every year since the first year it was awarded when they gave it to Jerry West.