NBA Finals MVP 2023 – Jokic vs Butler, Who Will Win the Bill Russell Trophy?

NBA Finals MVP 2023 – Jokic vs Butler, Who Will Win the Bill Russell Trophy?
Photo by Sam Navarro-USA TODAY Sports/Sipa USA - Photo by Icon Sport

The 2023 NBA Finals are set after the Miami Heat won the Eastern Conference Finals on Monday in seven games over the Boston Celtics. The Heat became the second No. 8 seed in NBA History to reach the largest stage in all of basketball. The top-seeded Denver Nuggets had been waiting to find out who their opponent would be after sweeping the Lakers.

One player from either team will be awarded the Bill Russell NBA Finals Most Valuable Player Award at the conclusion of the final game in the series. The accolade is given to the player who performed the best in the finals. Eleven media members vote and decide who is most deserving.

This year, Denver’s Nikola Jokic is the favorite to receive the award followed by Miami’s Jimmy Butler. Depending on the sportsbook, Jokic can be found between 1/3 (-300) and 5/18 (-360).

NBA Finals MVP Odds

  • Nikola Jokic: 1/3 (-300)
  • Jimmy Butler: 3/1 (+300)
  • Jamal Murray: 9/1 (+900)
  • Bam Adebayo: 25/1 (+2500)
  • Caleb Martin: 50/1 (+5000)
  • Michael Porter Jr: 100/1 (+10000)
  • Tyler Herro: 100/1 (+10000)

Favorites to win

Jokic, Butler and Murray are the top three favorites on sportsbooks to lift the Bill Russell Trophy.

Nikola Jokic: 1/3 (-300)

The Nuggets are heavy favorites at 5/19 (-380) to win the title which is one of the reasons why Jokic is so heavily favored. Since the Finals MVP award started in 1969, only one player from the losing team in the series (Jerry West, 1969) has won.

The 2021 and 2022 regular season MVP award winner, Jokic, made a case for himself this campaign as he averaged nearly a triple-double with 24.5 points, 11.8 rebounds (2nd in the NBA) and 9.8 assists (3rd), all while shooting 63.2% from the floor (8th).

When the playoffs arrived, the Serbian elevated his game even higher by averaging a triple-double.

Jokic 2023 playoff stats

  • Points: 29.9
  • Rebounds: 11.8
  • Assists: 10.3 (First among all players)

On the road, the 28-year-old is putting up a ridiculous 33.1 points while shooting 59.1% including a beyond-the-arc clip of 51.7%. Should the Nuggets win the series, Jokic would surely win the award unless his teammate Jamal Murray can put on an astronomical performance.

Jimmy Butler: 3/1 (+300)

The Eastern Conference Finals MVP lifted the Larry Bird Trophy after defeating the second-seeded Celtics Monday night thanks to a game-high 28-points along with seven boards, six assists and three steals. Butler has now led the Heat to two finals appearances since joining the organization in 2019 (lost in six games to the Lakers in 2020).

Butler stayed true to his word when it mattered most in game 7 on hostile ground after guaranteeing Miami would win the series. The 33-year-old seems to also shift into a different gear when it comes to the postseason.

Jimmy Butler StatsPointsReboundsAssists
Regular season22.95.95.3

Jamal Murray: 9/1 (+900)

The point guard has truly bounced back to top form after tearing his ACL in 2021. During the 2023 postseason, the Kentucky product has averaged 27.7 points per game along with 5.5 rebounds and 6.1 assists. 

Murray played arguably the best basketball of his career in the Western Conference finals as he averaged 32.5 points per contest while shooting 52.7% from the field and 40.5% from downtown.

Who has the best chance to win MVP?

Jokic has the highest chance to win MVP thanks to his team’s odds to win the series and his ability to do everything on the floor with such a high success rate. If Denver wins the series, it’ll be hard seeing anyone else claim the trophy.

The 7th-year center’s odds of 1/3 will certainly scare bettors from laying wagers on him since the value is so low and carries risk if Miami wins. If you think Denver will easily triumph and want to bet on who will win the award, Jokic is certainly the best bet.

After Miami’s historic run of knocking off the No. 1 Bucks and No. 2 Celtics, there are certainly a number of people who think the Heat will win the title. If they do, Jimmy Butler will more than likely win the award. 

He’s led the organization in points, assists and steals this postseason and shows no signs of slowing down in the finals. Anyone who is confident in the Heat winning should bet on Butler at 3/1 to win the award.

It will be hard for Murray to unseed Jokic as the favorite if Denver wins but after his historic ECF performance a sprinkle on him at 9/1 could provide extreme value. 

Point guards have won the award with inspiring showings as underdogs in the past. Tony Parker won the 2007 Finals MVP with the San Antonio Spurs after they swept the Cleveland Cavaliers despite Hall-of-Fame center Tim Duncan being the heavy favorite to win the award.

Past Finals MVPs

2022Stephen CurryGuardGolden State Warriors 
2021Giannis AntetokounmpoForwardMilwaukee Bucks 
2020LeBron JamesForwardLos Angeles Lakers
2019Kawhi LeonardForwardToronto Raptors
2018Kevin DurantForwardGolden State Warriors 
2017Kevin DurantForwardGolden State Warriors 
2016LeBron JamesForwardCleveland Cavaliers
2015Andre IguodalaForward/GuardGolden State Warriors 
2014Kawhi LeonardForwardSan Antonio Spurs 
2013LeBron JamesForwardMiami Heat 
2012LeBron JamesForwardMiami Heat 
2011Dirk NowitzkiForwardDallas Mavericks
2010Kobe BryantGuardLos Angeles Lakers 
2009Kobe BryantGuardLos Angeles Lakers 
2008Paul PierceForwardBoston Celtics 
2007Tony ParkerGuardSan Antonio Spurs 
2006Dwyane WadeGuardMiami Heat
2005Tim DuncanForward/CenterSan Antonio Spurs 
2004Chauncey BillupsGuardDetroit Pistons 
2003Tim DuncanForward/CenterSan Antonio Spurs 
2002Shaquille O’NealCenterLos Angeles Lakers
2001Shaquille O’NealCenterLos Angeles Lakers 
2000Shaquille O’NealCenterLos Angeles Lakers 

Who has won the most finals MVPs?

Michael Jordan has won the most finals MVPs in NBA History. The “GOAT” won the MVP in every championship appearance (6-0) in 1991, 1992, 1993, 1996, 1997 and 1998.

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