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Who is the Finals MVP favorite? Could be Kawhi Leonard, or Tim Duncan, or Boris Diaw or…

Jun 15, 2014, 9:30 AM EDT

2014 NBA Finals - Game Four Getty Images

SAN ANTONIO — It is quite possible come Sunday night we will have a new NBA champion and later this week there will be a big parade down the River Walk.

If the Spurs do close it out Sunday night in Game 5, who is the favorite to be Finals MVP?

Depends. If things end Sunday it will go to one of a handful of Spurs, likely the one that has the best Game 5.

Here are the five candidates going into Game 5.

Kawhi Leonard. He has been spectacular in Games 3 and 4 — he has 49 points and 18 rebounds in those two games, he’s shot 17-of-25, and by the way guarded LeBron James and Dwyane Wade in those games just about as well as could be asked. He has exploded the last two games and so have the Spurs. The one knock on his candidacy is he had a quiet first two games, if he has a quiet Game 5 the trophy likely goes elsewhere. Just to be clear, he doesn’t really care if he wins it or not.

Tim Duncan. He has been just rock solid all series averaging 15.8 points on 58 percent shooting while grabbing 10.5 rebounds a game. In addition, he has been fantastic defensively protecting the paint, challenging shots without fouling. As always with Duncan, we are just taking him for granted. He won the Finals MVP in 1999, if he won it again 15 years later that would be a ridiculous record.

Tony Parker. He is the engine of the Spurs offense, averaging 18.5 points a game on 50.9 percent shooting plus dishing out 5.3 assists per game. He keeps the pace up and his buckets early has forced the defense to move to him, and with that opened up everything for everyone else. He has hit some tough, contested shots all series when the Spurs needed it. We tend to take him for granted, like Duncan, but he’s been great.

Boris Diaw. When he is in the game, the Spurs offense goes from good to “damn, nobody can stop that.” He gets the second most touches in the offense (behind Parker) and he always makes the smart play — he can shoot the three, put the ball on the floor and is a dangerous, smart passer. The Spurs offense scores a ridiculous 125 points per 100 possessions when he is on the court. Since Gregg Popovich moved him into the starting lineup the Spurs have rolled to easy wins.

• LeBron James. He’s not going to win it, nor should he, especially if the Heat are knocked out in five games. But if you had a three-slot ballot he should be in one of those slots (for the record it’s not, it’s a one-person ballot). He has simply been the best player in this series — 27.5 points a game on 60 percent shooting, shooting 61 percent from three, grabbing 7.5 rebounds and dishing out 3.5 assists a night. You can’t ask more of him, he just isn’t getting enough help.

  1. ccbloom1 - Jun 15, 2014 at 9:45 AM

    All r great!! But Timmy deserves this one. GO SPURS GO!!! GO SPURS GO!!! GO SPURS GO!!!

  2. ravenswhat - Jun 15, 2014 at 9:46 AM

    First of all, if the Heat win tonight this series suddenly gets interesting so these series is over headlines are a tad premature.

    2nd..Leonard is literally the only reason they are winning. Anyone other than him winning would be a crime.

    • kb2408 - Jun 15, 2014 at 10:30 AM

      Man, what series are YOU watching?! This thing probably should’ve been a sweep. I’ve seen nothing to suggest Miami will win tonight. If LBJ has been the best player in this series, the next 5 on that list are Spurs (Timmy, Kawhi, Boris, Tony & Manu….in that order). I would give the MVP to Kawhi if he plays well tonight but based on your logic the Spurs should’ve lost the first two games when Kawhi was tentative and averaging single digits.

    • borderline1988 - Jun 15, 2014 at 10:31 AM

      Leonard has been dominating this series. If you ask yourself, who is the one player on this Spurs team that had he not played, the Spurs would probably lose the series?
      I think there’s only 2 possible answers, being Duncan and Leonard. And to me, Leonard has made a bigger impact.

      • antistratfordian - Jun 15, 2014 at 5:36 PM

        If Leonard has been dominating this series then where was he for half the games? He was invisible.

    • antistratfordian - Jun 15, 2014 at 5:34 PM

      Leonard is not the reason they’re winning so far. I’d give more credit to Diaw and, simply, constant ball movement, then I would to Leonard.

  3. cmart0907 - Jun 15, 2014 at 10:06 AM

    I wish they can give it to the whole team. Can’t single out one person as a “MVP”. Everybody helped each other.

  4. onenineninee - Jun 15, 2014 at 11:04 AM

    Parker or Leonard. The entire team deserves it. A complete 11 man effort.

  5. JT - Jun 15, 2014 at 11:20 AM

    Man I don’t know who to give it to. It’s a coin flip

  6. bucrightoff - Jun 15, 2014 at 11:29 AM

    I like the idea of Diaw winning because I would imagine he’d be the first Finals MVP ever who has been waived in his career prior to winning the Finals. That and the fact Miami absolutely cannot matchup with him on either end of the floor.

  7. sportsfan18 - Jun 15, 2014 at 11:37 AM

    It is very close. But to me, Timmy is ahead by a nose right now…

    Since the series is not over yet, whoever plays best between Timmy and Kawhi in game 5 (should the Spurs win and finish it off) will be the MVP.

    But, if they both play basically the same, then it has to go to Timmy.

    Young guys, newcomers on the block can’t be knocking off all time greats when their play was the same as the all time great.

    In other words, a tie goes to Timmy.

    I don’t really care who wins Finals MVP.

    Timmy doesn’t too much either I bet.

    If you ask Timmy and he could honestly answer, he’d say he’d take a guaranteed win in game 5 to be champs even if it meant he had a poor game individually.

    It isn’t like Timmy is looking for his stats. He just wants to win the title.

    So, go Spurs and close it out and whoever plays the best should get it, whoever that may be…

    • gfjiii - Jun 15, 2014 at 1:16 PM

      As usual, Parker is taken for granted. If Kawai plays like games 3 and 4 give him MVP. But TP will drive this win as he normally does. Even Pop acknowledges he is the engine of this team and I think the true MVP

  8. spursfaninla - Jun 15, 2014 at 11:56 AM

    Hands downs the big hands Kawhi Leonard should win the MVP if he has a good game tonight. His first two games he had some foul trouble, however some might forget who he was guarding. He has great hands, good defense, and when he is confident he can knock down shots. I could not think of a better storyline than him winning the MVP and the finals on Father’s Day. His father was shot and killed in Compton when Leonard was a very young man. I’m sure in his quiet inner voice is dedicating this game to his father. Circumstances like this usually brings out the best in someone. Like the sudden death of Michael Jordan’s father, James R. Jordan, in July of 1993 was a direct contribution to Michael’s decision to retire in October of that year, and his triumph on Father’s Day of 1996 coerced one of the most heart-breaking emotional responses to victory we’ve ever seen. Or Iron Mike Tyson’s shocking knockout loss to James Buster Douglas a huge underdog in the 10th round. Buster Douglas’s mother had died a couple of weeks before the fight and he put one of the greatest upsets along side Muhammad Ali’s win over George Foreman. I think this type of situation can become so emotional that an good athlete becomes great. Happy Father’s Day and #gospursgo

  9. SBoy - Jun 15, 2014 at 12:10 PM

    The article is more open than the headline, but in general I find the premature coronation kind of ridiculous…

    I mean I really, really want the Heat to lose, but despite how bad they have looked, I think they warrant a little more respect… It almost makes me want to root for them to win to show people up!… Like I said… ALMOST… Go Spurs.

  10. braddavery - Jun 15, 2014 at 1:15 PM

    I think it has to be Tim Duncan. The whole team is playing fantastically, but he is the glue that holds it all together. I truly don’t believe they would be as good as they are without him. He’s the only player on the team who would make them much, much worse if he weren’t there at all. He’s the only TRULY irreplaceable Spur at this point, IMO.

  11. dloading12 - Jun 15, 2014 at 1:35 PM

    If the spurs win Mario Chalmers…

  12. amehta256 - Jun 15, 2014 at 4:25 PM

    TD should be the MVP if it ends tonight which it won’t

  13. whatacrocker - Jun 15, 2014 at 5:24 PM

    LeBron the best player in the series? Please. I guess that explains why his team is doing so well.

    • jollyjoker2 - Jun 15, 2014 at 11:01 PM

      gag…..I agree that Miami’s bench disappeared but geeze.

  14. antistratfordian - Jun 15, 2014 at 5:33 PM

    The MVP should go to Pop & Diaw (co-MVP) or LeBron, if you just want to honor one player. Individually, nobody is even close to LBJ’s production and efficiency in this series.

  15. mrhonorama - Jun 15, 2014 at 7:10 PM

    LBJ is averaging 4.5 turnovers a game. He does not deserve a spot on the ballot based on that.

  16. 1historian - Jun 15, 2014 at 8:01 PM

    Pop by a landslide

  17. jollyjoker2 - Jun 15, 2014 at 10:59 PM

    LeBron ? He just got smoked. Gimme a break. You folks just don’t get it. he got pounded.

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