Draymond Green of the Golden State Warriors enjoyed watching the Miami Heat defeat the Boston Celtics in seven games of the 2023 Eastern Conference Finals, and the four-time All-Star admitted that he would have picked Caleb Martin over Jimmy Butler for East Finals MVP.
“Caleb Martin averaged 19 [points] on 60% shooting and 49% from three,” the eight-time All-Defensive member said. “I’m never mad at Jimmy Butler winning the Conference Finals MVP because Jimmy Butler is Jimmy Butler and quite frankly none of this goes without Jimmy Butler, like the Miami Heat none of that works without Jimmy.
“Jimmy actually finished with 28-6-7, had a much better game today than he’s had the past three. And Jimmy is their guy. We know that. Never taking anything away from Jimmy. Congrats to him on the award. … If I had a vote, I personally was voting for Caleb Martin for MVP.”
According to some NBA betting sites, the Denver Nuggets are the odds-on favorite to win the championship. Denver center Nikola Jokic is also the favorite to win Finals MVP. Check out which sportsbooks are showing Butler with second-shortest odds.
“I think he was extremely consistent across the board. I think he was really good across the board,” Draymond Green added. “Jimmy actually probably would have preferred Caleb Martin to get the MVP. That’s just how Jimmy is like. Jimmy don’t want to play in All-Star Games, he just don’t get off on all that stuff.
“He don’t. That’s just not the type of stuff that it just doesn’t get Jimmy off. Jimmy wants to win and all of that and play well obviously great, but he don’t get off on all that stuff.”
Warriors forward Draymond Green believes Caleb Martin should have won the East Finals MVP award over Jimmy Butler
In seven appearances and two starts against the Celtics in the ECF, Martin averaged 19.3 points, 6.4 rebounds, 1.7 assists, and 35.6 minutes per game. The fourth-year wing also shot 60.2% from the field, 48.9% beyond the arc, and 87.5% at the foul line.
In Game 7, the Heat shot 14-of-28 (50%) beyond the arc, whereas Boston finished 9-of-42 (21.4%) from deep. Martin shot 4-of-6 (66.7%) from 3-point range. The 6-foot-5 undrafted forward scored 25 points in Game 2 and a playoff career-high 26 points in Game 7. So, Draymond Green has a point.
Meanwhile, Jimmy Butler averaged 24.7 points, 7.6 boards, 6.1 assists, 2.6 steals, and 39.6 minutes per game against Boston. The 12-year veteran shot 42% from the floor, 34.8% from deep, and 83.3% at the free throw line. In Game 1, the six-time All-Star scored a series-high 35 points at TD Garden.
After their clutch performances, only one vote separated Jimmy Butler and Caleb Martin for Eastern Conference Finals MVP 👀 pic.twitter.com/SOwSSFYK8s
— NBA on ESPN (@ESPNNBA) May 30, 2023
Butler and Martin were the most-worthy candidates to win East Finals MVP. Butler was a bigger factor offensively, but Martin was a more accurate shooter against the Celtics. Regardless, the Miami Heat made their first NBA Finals appearance since 2020.
Miami became only the third team in league history to reach the Finals after having a negative point differential in the regular season, joining the 1956-57 St. Louis Hawks and 1958-59 Minneapolis Lakers.
Additionally, Draymond Green believes the Denver Nuggets will be the ultimate test for Miami. Entering Game 1 of the 2023 NBA Finals this Thursday, the Heat are 9-point road underdogs against the Nuggets.