Kevin Durant will return to the Warriors' lineup for Game 5 of the NBA Finals on Monday night, in what could prove to be Golden State's last stand. Facing a three-games-to-one series deficit, the Dubs would have to defeat the Raptors three times in a row to pull off the improbable.
While those are long odds the Warriors face, getting Durant back should be a boon to their chances, and that's been reflected in the betting odds for Finals MVP.
On Sunday, before word of Durant's potential return was made known, he was 100-to-1 at Caesars Palace to be named Finals MVP for the third year in a row.
As of Monday afternoon, when Durant's return was made all but certain, those odds jumped significantly.
It makes sense, right? The depleted Warriors have looked like the inferior team throughout the first four games of the best-of-seven series, with the Raptors having won 13 of the 16 quarters so far. If the Warriors were to complete the series comeback and win their third consecutive championship, that would likely mean Durant played a critical role in those three victories.
Whether or not that would be enough to win Finals MVP -- in only three games -- remains to be seen, but there's a long way to go between now and then.
First, Durant needs to help the Warriors win Game 5 on Monday night. One step at a time. But if they can do the improbable, the accolades will follow.