While the Celtics winning would be a repeat of both recent history and what seems like ancient history, the focus here is the Finals MVP award. The same strength which makes the Celtics tough to beat over the course of a series, that unselfish play that leads to Ws is much more pronounced in 2010 than in 2008. Rondo has entered into the conversation with best PGs in the game and runs the offense so that whoever is hot gets the ball more often than not, barring predictability. There are so many guys with the hot hand in Beantown it is rare for any of them except Rondo to have the ball in their hands enough over the course of a series to take home Finals MVP.
But let us take a look who might have a chance to take it home in Boston in order of reverse probability (within reason):
- Kevin Garnett: KG could still get hot after a subpar first two games, if he gets aggressive with Gasol on the offensive end and shoves that darn lanky European around enough he could be instrumental in winning the games. His defense would need a big boost too, because the only helpside blocks I've seen recently have been goal-tends. Of the potential Beantown winners, the Big Ticket comes in last in terms of likelihood.
- Paul Pierce: This might ruffle some feathers, but PP has demonstrated some worrying trends of late; a simple refusal to take risks against big-bodied defenders. He was great against Orlando and Miami, but mediocre against Cleveland and so far this series. The reason? Powerful SF defenders. James and Artest are two defenders you would not want to be battling over 7 games. The Lakers are a different from 08, and if that open baseline jumpshot Pierce missed is any indication, 34 is just out of his rhythm. They do say matchups are all important right?
- Ray Allen: Game 1 had me upset, because I had him tipped as a difference maker in the series; Kobe would be either run ragged chasing him, or Fisher would pose a severe mismatch which Ray 'Jesus' Allen could exploit. Then the refs went crazy and Ray Ray never really found his rhythm. But lo and behold, Jesus rose again three days later to perform a miracle. 7 straight made 3-pointers? No worries for arguably the best jump shooter in the history of the L. As the series progresses, if Ray stays out of foul trouble and the Lakers respect Boston's other big guns, Jesus could be crowned king of the Finals.
- Rajon Rondo: I have always believed in this guy, he is my second favourite player all-time behind Jordan, and easily my favourite playing right now. I've had his jersey since late 08, and I could sense he was going to explode sooner or later. While he got the Celtics through the regular season with aplomb, he has shown himself capable of stepping up in the post-season, and has done this two years straight now. If anyone on the Cs was to win it, it would have to be Rondo, providing Boston comes away with the series. He is clearly their most valuable player in this series, and while he gets caught up in his own wake on occasion he is always a contributor. Top that off with a matchup to die for in Derek Fisher and he would be a lock against almost any other team.
So while I love Rondo to pieces and certainly wouldn't be surprised if the Celtics won and Rondo was awarded MVP given the history of the award, I wouldn't be upset if Kobe achieved another of Jerry West's accomplishments. I mean come on, the dude was so cold to Chris Rock courtside he had to get treated for frostbite. He's earned it.