Blogtable: Who is your early NBA Finals MVP pick (after 2 games)?
Each week, we ask our stable of scribes across the globe to weigh in on the most important NBA topics of the day.
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Who’s the early Finals MVP (after just two games)?
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Steve Aschburner: Kevin Durant and it’s not even close. If Golden State wins the series, he’s the front runner for the Bill Russell trophy … though it might require an asterisk to match the one that will be affixed to his championship ring, given the shortcut he took to get here. Could be that’s motivating Durant now, asserting himself and leading the way for the Warriors since that’s the only way he can make a difference from their 73-victory season and no-title postseason a year ago.
Fran Blinebury: The Difference from 2016 — Kevin Durant.
Shaun Powell: That would be Kevin Durant, who unlike everyone else in this series has yet to have a bad stretch. You can see it in the eyes, the body language, the swagger and the shot, the guy is locked in. KD is looking to certify his decision to leave OKC, and is hoping to devour this opportunity as he would a, ahem, cupcake.
John Schuhmann: It’s Kevin Durant, by a wide margin. He’s the series’ leading scorer at 35.5 points per game and is the Warriors’ leading rebounder at 11.0 per. Among players who have taken at least 10 shots in the series, he has the highest effective field goal percentage (63.5 percent). He has 14 assists and only three turnovers. And his defense on LeBron James, along with his rim protection, has been critical in slowing down what was a historically good offense through the first three rounds of the playoffs.
Sekou Smith: Steph Curry is doing everything needed to repair his Finals reputation after two tough trips to the biggest stage. But Kevin Durant’s impact on this series has been undeniable. He’s been the difference for the Warriors. He’s playing at the highest level on both ends of the floor and doing so without disrupting the flow of anyone else, which isn’t always as easy to do for an elite scorer. Durant is going at the Cavaliers’ best defenders (LeBron James, Iman Shumpert, Richard Jefferson and whoever else they throw in his path) and having his way with them. We’re only two games in and a lot can change before this series is over. But KD is in the lead right now.
Ian Thomsen: Kevin Durant is dominating on both sides of the ball. He’s obviously the MVP so far. He’s also earning a lot of praise — indicating that more people are beginning to understand why he was drawn to the Warriors last summer. Who wouldn’t want to play to the level of his first two games? It’s like watching everyone’s basketball dream come true.
Lang Whitaker: Kevin Durant. Which isn’t to say other players haven’t been good — Stephen Curry and LeBron James have both been exceptional in Games 1 and 2. But to me, KD has been a complete player: explosive, dynamic, efficient, and probably Golden State’s best player on both ends of the floor. In The 2016 Finals, the Cavs seemed content to let Golden State’s power forward (Harrison Barnes) try and beat them. This year? That power forward spot has been transformed by adding KD.
MORE BLOGTABLE: What must Cavs do to win Game 3? | Warriors’ offense or defense more impressive?