The 2021 NBA Finals are set to begin on Tuesday night and while many may not have predicted this matchup between the Bucks and Suns, this is going to be a very interesting series to watch. Not only are both teams very evenly matched in terms of being efficient on both offense and defense, but there was very little separation between these two teams during the regular season.
In two meetings during the regular season, the Suns won both games, but they barely escaped both games by a single point. Both of these two teams are so evenly matched with each other in terms of personnel, that this year’s NBA Finals could very well be determined by a couple points each game.
There really should not be any blowouts in any of these games, but everything in this series rides on Giannis Antetokounmpo’s health. The Bucks’ 2x MVP suffered a hyperextended left knee in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Finals and has not played since.
He has been able to do some individual on-court workouts and Milwaukee has not ruled Giannis out for Game 1 yet, but his status is very much up-in-the-air ahead of the opening game Tuesday night. As a result of Antwtokounmpo’s knee injury, he is not included on this list for Finals MVP candidates, but if he plays Game 1, he will absolutely be the favorite to win the award on the Bucks’ side of things.
Whether or not Giannis plays every game in this series, we should still expect to see plenty of close games and plenty of fireworks. Both the Suns and Bucks have capable star players that are going to shine on the NBA’s brightest stage and with a championship on the line, both of these teams are going to be giving it their all.
With this said, let’s dive in and take a look at the Top-4 Finals MVP candidates for the 2021 NBA Finals between the Milwaukee Bucks and Phoenix Suns.
Devin Booker – Phoenix Suns
It is very hard to talk about the Phoenix Suns and the success they have had this season without mentioning Devin Booker’s name. He is the driving force for them offensively and for years now, has been one of the best scorers in the entire league.
Unfortunately though, the Suns have not had a lot of success over the years for many to see what Booker is capable of doing. In his first playoffs ever, the 24-year-old shooting guard has shined and has been one of the main reasons the Suns have advanced past the Lakers, Nuggets and Clippers en route to their first NBA Finals appearance since 1993.
This postseason, Booker is averaging 27.0 points, 6.4 rebounds, 4.8 assists and is shooting 44.4% from the floor, making him the clearcut choice to be Finals MVP for the Phoenix Suns should they win the NBA Finals this year.
He will definitely draw some tough matchups against Khris Middleton and P.J. Tucker, but Booker has faced tough matchups all throughout the playoffs. The Lakers were all over Booker on switches during the first-round, the Nuggets threw double-teams at him here and there and most recently against the Clippers, Booker drew the attention of two-way star Paul George at times, but in every single series, Devin Booker has found a way to be himself and score at a high-level.
In this series against the Clippers, Booker also suffered a broken nose, yet he was still able to sustain the same level of intensity and scoring on the offensive-end of the floor. Nothing seems to be bothering him right now and when he gets in a groove offensively, there really is no stopping Devin Booker.
The young guard has the capability to go out on any given night and score 30+, sometimes even 40+ points, which is why he is absolutely one of the favorites to win the 2021 NBA Finals MVP award, that is if the Suns are able to win their first championship.
Jrue Holiday – Milwaukee Bucks
Ahead of the 2020-21 season, the Milwaukee Bucks went “all-in” on contending for a championship, which is why they gave up a ton of assets to acquire Jrue Holiday from the New Orleans Pelicans. The veteran guard has been known for years to be one of the premier two-way guards in the entire league and throughout the regular season, he was that third key option for the Bucks next to Antetokounmpo and Middleton.
Holiday put together a really solid regular season, averaging 17.7 points, 4.5 rebounds, 6.1 assists and 1.6 steals, but he really struggled early on in the playoffs. His scoring numbers were below his season average and Jrue Holiday was not shooting the ball well at all, but things have seemed to be clicking as of late.
In the Eastern Conference Finals against the Hawks, Holiday averaged 22.0 points, 5.0 rebounds, 10.0 assists and 1.7 steals while shooting 46.4% from the floor. With Giannis being out the Bucks’ last two games, the vetran point guard has really stepped up for the Bucks as a primary ball-handler, as well as an all-around playmaker.