NBA Finals: Which player will lead the series in scoring?

Twitter: @GGirlSports.

June 1 is finally here, which means it’s the start of the NBA Finals. The Miami Heat stunned the Boston Celtics in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals, and The Denver Nuggets defeated the Los Angeles Lakers in four games. Nikola Jokić was the statistical leader for Denver, while Jimmy (Himmy) Butler led the Heat to the finals. With the finals starting tonight, who will lead the NBA Finals in scoring? If you are looking for the best betting odds and stats, here is information to know:

NBA Finals Scoring Leaders Odds:

Nikola Jokić: +115

 Nikola Jokić was the statistical leader in the series against the Timberwolves, the Suns, and the Lakers.  Jokić was an MVP candidate for a reason this season and makes everyone around him play better. He can attack inside, hit outside the perimeter, creates plays for his teammates, and is a staple for Denver on the daily. He is playing elite basketball and is an unstoppable force. During the NBA Finals, everyone will be looking at his matchup against big man Bam Adebayo. The question is, can Adebayo stop Jokić?

Postseason Stats: 29.9 Points, 1.1 Steals, 10.3 Assists., and 13.3 Rebounds in the 2023 NBA Playoffs. In addition, Jokić is shooting 47.4 Percent from the three, and 53.8 percent from the field this post season.

Jimmy Butler: +650

There’s no doubt in our minds that Jimmy Butler is HIM, and he is known as ‘Playoff Jimmy’ for a reason. In fact, according to Bleacher Report, Butler recently filed trademark for ‘Himmy Buckets,” in which he plans to use on clothing and more. Butler is the heart and soul of this team and put the Heat on his back even through injuries. Like Nikola Jokić, he was the leading scorer in the series against the Celtics, Knicks, and Bucks. It’s important to note, Butler is shooting 80 percent from the free-throw line. He’s an aggressive player that plays tough on both sides of the ball and will do whatever he can to help.

Postseason Stats: 28.5 Points, 2.1 Steals, 5.7 Assists, and 7 Rebounds. He’s shooting 35.6 percent from the three, and 48.3 percent from the field. 

Jamal Murray: +250

Jamal Murray suffered a torn ACL in the 2021 season, and Denver felt the effects of his absence. Much like Nikola Jokić, Murray is an integral part of this Nuggets team. Murray had monstrous games this postseason and can be clutch in certain situations. We saw him perform in the bubble, and since then, Murray has taken his game to a new level. Known to go off in the 4th quarter, Jamal Murray has established himself as an outstanding three-level scorer. He can hit beyond the arc, the mid-range, and can drive to the basket and finish. Nikola Jokić may be the “guy” in Denver, however, Jamal Murray could arguably be the best man on the court this series against Miami.

Postseason Stats: 27.7 Points, 1.7 Steals, 6.1 Assists, and 5.5 Rebounds. He’s shooting 92.5 Percent from the line, 39.8 Percent from the three, and 48 percent from the field.

Bam Adebayo: +2500

Although quiet on the offensive front in the final two games against the Celtics, Bam Adebayo has been proficient throughout the playoffs. Adebayo is an elite rim protector and is considered of the NBA’s best defensive guys. Standing at 6 foot 9, Bam is slightly undersized for a Center and is not an outside shooter. However, Adebayo is a force in the paint.  Even though Adebayo didn’t have a big offensive Game 7, he was a presence down below, and was a huge defensive player for Miami. The Biggest question heading into the NBA Finals will be his matchup against MVP Candidate Nikola Jokić.

Bam averaged 20.5 Points, 1.5 Blocks, and 4.5 Rebounds in 2 games against Denver this season, in which he was held to 42.9 percent field goal shooting. There’s no doubt Nikola Jokić will give Adebayo a hard time in the paint this series. However, I do believe Bam Adebayo will eat down low as well, considering the Nuggets will want to keep Nikola Jokić out of foul trouble.

Postseason Stats: 16.8 Points, 1 steal, 3.8 Assists, and 9.2 Rebounds. He’s shooting 79.7 percent from the free-throw line, and 49.2 percent from the field.

Michael Porter Jr.: +3000

 Michael Porter Jr. is one of my x -factors in the NBA Finals, and one of Denver’s top role players. Once riddled with Injuries, Porter Jr. is one of the most important players on this Nuggets team. Although Porter Jr. is a tremendous player, he’s been inconsistent, especially in this year’s playoffs. Standing at 6 foot 10, it’s hard to imagine who will cover Porter Jr., given Adebayo will have the matchup with Nikola Jokić. Besides Caleb Martin, the next man up to guard MPJ would be Kevin Love, who is not the best defensively. Porter Jr. had some big games against Minnesota and Phoenix; however, he will be an x factor in this next test.

If Nikola Jokić and Jamal Murray are clamped up, can Michael Porter Jr. shoot as well as he did against the Timberwolves and Lakers? It will be vital for him to attempt as many three-point shots, and hopefully make them in key situations. I don’t see him leading the team in points. However, I believe his shooting volume will increase against Miami, in which he attempted 13 threes last game against the Heat. Look for his matchup against Caleb Martin, who has a huge size disadvantage.

Postseason Stats: 14.6 Points, 1.8 Assists, and 7 Rebounds. Porter Jr. is shooting 81 percent from the free-throw line, 40.8 percent from the three, and 45.5 percent from the field.

Caleb Martin: +3500

 I saw Caleb Martin destroy the Boston Celtics in Game 7 with my own two eyes at the TD Garden in Boston. Once an undrafted player, Martin has risen to an NBA star who was the best player on the floor in Game 7. Caleb Martin showed his speed and ability to get open, especially from the three-point line against the Celtics. In fact, Martin shot 66.7 Percent from the three, and shot 4-6 against the Celtics last game. Although he only averaged 6.6 Points in April, Martin stepped up in the absence of Tyler Herro and Victor Oladipo.

In addition, Martin averaged 19.3 Points, 6.4 Rebounds, and shot 60 Percent from the field in the Eastern Conference Finals. To me, Caleb Martin is one of the biggest x-factors for Miami, and some considered him to be the Eastern Conference Finals MVP. Also, his playing time increased following teammates injuries. Can he sustain his numbers and step up, especially if Jimmy Butler is hampered by injuries? Look for the matchup with Michael Porter Jr here.

Postseason Stats: 14.1 Points and 9.2 Rebounds. He’s shooting 79.7 percent from the free-throw line, and 49.2 percent from the field.

Gabe Vincent: +6000

 Gabe Vincent is another undrafted player, who’s seen his stock rise, especially with injuries in the NBA Playoffs. Vincent found himself with increased minutes, due to the decline in play by point guard Kyle Lowry. In the Heats Game 2 win against the Celtics in the Eastern Conference Finals, Vincent finished with 29 Points, and shot nearly 80 percent from the field, and 66.7 percent from the three. If you look at those numbers, they are incredible. Not only is Gabe Vincent a force on the defensive end, but he’s also become a player that can handle high volume shooting.

Although Vincent was offensively absent in the last three games against the Knicks in the 2nd round, he showed up big in Game 5 against the Bucks. I expect Vincent to bring his defensive presence and could be that x-factor if Butler is clamped up.

Postseason Stats: 13.1 Points, 2.3 Assists, and 1.7 Rebounds. He’s shooting 89.3 percent from the free-throw line, 39 percent from the three, and 40.8 Percent from, the Field.

Max Strus: +7000

 Max Strus may have a little chip on his shoulder now that Miami beat the team who once let him go (Boston).  He can get hot at any time, and when he’s hot, there’s no stopping Strus. Although Strus was inconsistent in the Eastern Conference Finals against Boston, we saw what he could against the Chicago Bulls in the Play-In Tournament. In that single game, Strus shot 7-12 from the three, and added 31 points.

Strus had his best numbers against the New York Knicks in the second round, in which he averaged 14.7 Points Per Game. Strus is being talked about as one of the best undrafted free agents, and will have a huge test against the Nuggets, who more than likely watched film on their role players. With Strus averaging under 30 minutes in the playoffs, I don’t see him being the top scorer in this series.

Postseason Stats: 10.3 Points, 1 Assist, and 3.3 Rebounds. He’s shooting 81 percent from the free-throw line, 35.9 percent from the three, and 45.2 Percent from, the Field.

Kentavious Caldwell-Pope: +10000

 Kentavious Caldwell-Pope is not a stranger to the NBA Finals and is another x-factor in the Finals. In fact, he was an important player when the Los Angeles Lakers won the Championship in 2020 against the Heat. Not only does he have experience in the Finals, but this is also his second matchup against Jimmy Butler and Head coach Erik Spoelstra in the Finals. The addition of both him and Aaron Gordon helped shape this Nuggets team into championship contenders throughout the league.  Caldwell-Pope is known for his corner threes and thrives when he’s left open to make the shot. He is an incredible shooter and is a player that is not afraid to take shots in big moments.

We saw Caldwell-Pope have a massive Game 6 against Phoenix, and Game 1 against the Lakers. In addition to his shooting, Caldwell-Pope is arguably Denver’s best defensive guard, which will vital against a Heat team that can shoot. He’s averaging 33 minutes per game this postseason, and I like his NBA odds better than Michael Porter Jr. I truly believe KCP will be an important x-factor for this Nuggets team. Along with his defense, KCP may need to take more shots to keep up with Miami’s shooting guards.

Postseason Stats: 11.7 Points, 1.3 Steals, 1.6 Assists, and 3.2 Rebounds. He’s shooting 86.4 percent from the free-throw line, 41.1 Percent from the three, and 48.1 percent from the field.

Aaron Gordon: +100000

There’s no question Aaron Gordon is one of Denver’s best role players, and the trade with the Orlando Magic was a successful one. Although Gordon’s offensive numbers dipped slightly from the regular season to the playoffs, he’s an impactful player. It’s important to note Gordon had a career year with the Nuggets. Not only does Gordon possess tremendous size at 6 foot 8, 235 pounds, he can attack and finish at the rim. In addition, he hits outside shots and steps up when he needs to.

Considering the Nuggets are healthy, I expect his role to remain the same in the playoffs. Gordon’s had some big games against the Lakers and Phoenix. Otherwise, his performance has been underwhelming offensively. So far, Aaron Gordon is averaging 35.6 Minutes in the playoffs, and I expect him to have a tough matchup, especially if he’s matched up with Jimmy Butler.

Postseason Stats: 13 Points, 2.5 Assists, and 5.5 Rebounds. He’s shooting 70.4 percent from the free-throw line, 35.1 Percent from the three, and 49 percent from the field.

Stay tuned for more odds, stats, and predictions for the NBA Finals.

For More Betting Info & Game Predictions, Follow us at @BallislifeBets.

Sara Jane is a full-time content creator, focusing on both college basketball, the NBA, NFL, and writer of Don’t forget to follow her on Twitter/YouTube/Twitch/Instagram: @GGirlSports.

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