The NBA Finals are finally here, and it’s just a matter of time before we know who’s going be the next Champion. Will it be the almighty Golden State Warriors? Or will the Toronto Raptors spoil their three-peat?
Every NBA Finals has something that make them unique, but truth to be told, this one hasn’t even started and it’s already one for the ages for all the distinctive features we’ve found while gathering information about it.
So, if you’re a casual NBA fan or a die-hard hoops enthusiast, you’re going to be thrilled to know why you’re just about to witness history in the making, as we let you know about the 10 reasons why the NBA Finals are bound to be one of a kind.
10. First G-League Coach To Make It To The Finals
For all of those wondering why the Toronto Raptors handed Nick Nurse the keys of the car after firing former Coach of the Year Dwane Casey, Nurse actually won a couple of Championships in the NBA G-League back in 2011, and 2013. Now, he’s the first head coach in the history of the G-League to also make it to the NBA Finals.
9. G-League Alumni Record
On that same note, the NBA Finals feature a record for the most G-League alumni ever in basketball’s ultimate stage, with 16 players. Brown, Lloyd, Wright, Siakam, VanVleet, Green, McCaw, Powell, Lin, Boucher (Raptors), and Bell, Cook, Jones, Livingston, Looney and McKinnie (Warriors).
8. Without LeBron James
For the first time in the past 9 seasons, this will be the first time LeBron James misses the NBA Finals, as he wasn’t unable to even make it to the playoffs during his first year with the Los Angeles Lakers. Making it to the Finals for 8 straight seasons with two different franchises says a lot about James’ dominance.
7. 7 Straight Small Forwards As Finals MVPs
For the last 7 seasons, small forwards have completely dominated the Finals MVP award. Throughout that span, only LeBron James, Kawhi Leonard, Andre Iguodala, and Kevin Durant have won the accolade. Can Stephen Curry, Draymond Green, Klay Thompson, Marc Gasol, Kyle Lowry or Pascal Siakam break this streak?
6. No Top 10 Picks
The Toronto Raptors are the first team over the past 50 seasons to make it to the NBA Finals without a single top-10 pick on its roster. That says a lot about their player development, their great scouting, and obviously, Masai Ujiri’s risk-taking policy that brought them Kawhi Leonard on that controversial trade.
5. It’s All About Shaq
As a matter of fact, Shaquille O’Neal holds one of the most bizarre records in the NBA. Over the last 36 Finals, he’s had at least one teammate or former teammate to make it to the NBA Finals, now that Danny Green and the Toronto Raptors beat the Milwaukee Bucks. Green and Shaq shared the court back in 2009 when they were both playing for the Cavaliers.
4. Patrick McCaw’s Presence
If you think making it to the NBA Finals is difficult, Patrick McCaw may think otherwise. Even if he hasn’t been able to play a big role and his signing with the Raptors was kind of controversial, McCaw can brag about making it to the NBA Finals for every single year he’s been in the league. He’s won them every time as well, will the streak live on one more year?
3. Kawhi Leonard, The Three-peat Buster
5 years ago, a young Kawhi Leonard led the San Antonio Spurs with his top-notch defense over LeBron James and bust their chances of winning a three-peat. Now, there’s no Dwyane Wade or Chris Bosh, but he’ll have the tough task to ruining Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Draymond Green, and Kevin Durant’s run at another three-peat.
2. International Spurs
Now that they led the Toronto Raptors to the NBA Finals, Danny Green and Kawhi Leonard are the first couple of players to ever make it to this stage with teams from two different countries. They celebrated already in the US, so now they have the chance to take the party up north, but it won’t be easy.
1. Finals GOATS
With Stephen Curry making it to yet another NBA Finals, the last 20 Finals have featured him, Klay Thompson, Tim Duncan, Kobe Bryant, and Dwyane Wade. So, if you want to talk about elite players and dominating in the playoffs, there’s just a handful of guys you could mention lately.