2024 NBA Finals

Finals MVP Ladder: 5 candidates to watch in 2024 chase

These 5 players could be the early favorites to hoist the Bill Russell Trophy as MVP of the 2024 NBA Finals.

Luka Doncic is 1 of 5 players to watch in the chase for the 2024 Finals MVP.

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Boston Celtics coach Joe Mazzulla refrains from advising players on how to deal with the outside noise and storylines leading into the 2024 NBA Finals.

  • Who’s the best?
  • How does Kyrie Irving handle his Boston return?
  • Will Jayson Tatum step up and perform on the big stage?

None of the noise will leave us anytime soon.

“Sometimes, it’s good for people to hear it,” Mazzulla explained. “Sometimes, it’s good for people to ignore it. Sometimes, it’s good for people to understand it. You have to normalize some of this stuff because it’s always gonna be there regardless of the situation you’re in.”

Discussion surrounding the potential 2024 NBA Finals MVP is no different.

So, let’s start the conversation with five likely contenders. For the fourth consecutive season, we’ll witness a first-timer walk away with the Bill Russell Finals MVP trophy.

Here are five candidates listed alphabetically in our 2024 Race to the NBA Finals MVP Ladder heading into Game 1:

Jaylen Brown, Boston Celtics

NBA playoffs stats: 25 ppg, 6.1 rpg, 2.6 apg

One half of arguably the NBA’s most talented scoring duo, Brown averaged nearly 30 points on 51.7% shooting with 2 steals per game on the way to earning Eastern Conference Finals MVP. The 27-year-old is averaging career playoff highs in scoring and shooting percentage (54.1%) and will likely split time with Jrue Holiday in guarding Luka Doncic.

Luka Doncic, Dallas Mavericks

NBA playoffs stats: 28.8 ppg, 9.6 rpg, 8.8 apg

Raucous crowds and hostile environments serve as a tinder box in stoking Doncic’s competitive fire. So, fans at Boston’s TD Garden should bark at the 25-year-old at their own risk. The Western Conference Finals MVP posted 32.4 ppg, 8.2 apg and 9.6 rpg while shooting 43.4% in the conference finals against the regular season’s No.1-rated defense.

Jrue Holiday, Boston Celtics

NBA playoffs stats: 12.7 ppg, 5.6 rpg, 4.6 apg

Holiday, the first player to average at least 18 points, seven rebounds and five assists with 50-40-100 shooting splits in a conference finals series, could be one of Boston’s X-factors in this series (along with Derrick White). Holiday won’t shut down Doncic. Nobody has done that yet. But Holiday’s championship experience should prove beneficial.

Kyrie Irving, Dallas Mavericks

NBA playoffs stats: 22.8 ppg, 3.9 rpg, 5.2 apg 

You’ll hear plenty about his return to Boston, but it’s clear Irving has gotten past those days. “Last time in Boston [in the playoffs] everyone saw me flip off the birds and kind of lose my s— a little bit,” he said. “That wasn’t a great reflection of who I am.” Now at peace, Irving brings a sense of calm into what should be a chaotic scene at TD Garden.

Jayson Tatum, Boston Celtics

NBA playoffs stats: 26 ppg, 10.4 rpg, 5.9 apg 

Dallas carries the reputation for performing in clutch time throughout the 2024 playoffs. But don’t forget Boston is 4-0 in those situations this postseason, and Tatum is a major reason for that. Tatum ranks sixth in clutch points (14) for a team that owns the NBA’s best net rating (43.9) in clutch time. This series should feature plenty of clutch action.

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Michael C. Wright is a senior writer for NBA.com. You can e-mail him here, find his archive here and follow him on X.

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