The past 10 Finals matchups have included either LeBron James or Stephen Curry. They are the most impactful players over the past decade, and their impact is often compared. During the last 10 years, LeBron has won 4 NBA titles while Curry has captured 3.
So far this season, both superstar players have had injury troubles on their rosters at the moment and are dealing with a ton of adversity. But when looking at their all-time teammates, it is clear they have had the help they needed to become champions in the past. By placing each superstar in a 5-on-5 matchup with their best ever teammates alongside them, here is how the competitive showdown plays out.
Kyrie Irving vs. Stephen Curry
LeBron James was fortunate to play with a dominant go-to scorer like a prime Kyrie Irving. Kyrie is the best ball handler we have ever seen and also one of the guys who coaches trust with the game on the line. As shown in the 2016 Finals when he hit the game-winner over Stephen Curry, Kyrie is as effective as they come.
But Stephen Curry is always a notch above any point guard in the NBA. He won't stop Kyrie from getting his points, but his three-point shooting is a massive headache for Team LeBron. Curry doesn't need much room to operate, as an inch of space is enough to get off a shot for three points. Kyrie Irving has a big impact but Curry's is greater in this matchup.
Dwyane Wade vs. Klay Thompson
This is a matchup based on slashing vs. shooting. Dwyane Wade is one of the best slashers in NBA history, using his incredible speed and ball-handling to get to the rim. Wade's ability to finish in traffic and also run the floor will be the biggest factor in Team LeBron's offense. With LeBron running point, Wade is unstoppable.
Klay Thompson forms a nice duo with Stephen Curry, as their shooting is the biggest reason the team will be hard to stop. Much like Curry, Klay doesn't need much room or time to get going and that means Team LeBron has to expend a lot of energy on offense. This matchup is the most intriguing one, but one player stands out most in the end.
LeBron James vs. Andrew Wiggins
A big advantage to Team LeBron. James is the best small forward to have ever played the game and his size and athleticism is too much to handle for Andrew Wiggins. Wiggins is an underrated talent because people expect so much of him, but he is a solid defender and has a ton of length on his side as well.
But Wiggins is no match for The King. James is stronger, smarter, and a more complete player. His ability to run the show, get his superstar teammates easy looks, and be dominant in all facets of the game gives his team a big edge. Wiggins plays within the flow of Team Curry's offense and plays great defense, but there is no stopping The King.
Chris Bosh vs. Kevin Durant
This matchup is about two finesse offensive players. Chris Bosh is a prototypical power forward who does a lot on both ends, but his impact comes in his mid-range and three-point scoring. Bosh is a perfect go-to scorer when the big guns need a possession off because he is efficient and has a ton of moves in his arsenal.
As great as Bosh is, Kevin Durant is an entirely different animal. Durant is the most complete scorer in the NBA right now because he has no weakness. He can drive, shoot over any defender, create space, and nail his foul shots. He forms a dominant Splash Brothers trio with Curry and Klay and he is the biggest factor in Team Curry's offense.
Anthony Davis vs. Draymond Green
This is a big advantage for Team LeBron. Anthony Davis is a spectacular offensive player and his height gives him a large edge over the smaller Draymond Green. Green is one of the best defenders over the past decade and his desire to get stops might be his strongest attribute.
But Davis, the 6'10" big man with guard-like skills, will have the advantage over the 6'6" Green. Davis averages 23.9 PPG for his career which means even the former Defensive Player of the Year Award winner will have trouble contesting his shots. With Davis dominating the paint on both ends, Team LeBron has a big advantage over Team Curry.
The game starts out hot as expected. Everyone gets a piece of the action, chipping in points and creating highlight-reel plays. It seems both teams are feeling each other out because there seems to be very little attention to detail as shots go up on both ends. Much like an All-Star game, the first quarter is all about offense and not about defense just yet. The first quarter ends at 38-35 for Team LeBron.
The second quarter is much of the same although the bigs get involved. Anthony Davis has a strong quarter to end the half, and he leads all scorers with 15 points. It is clear Team Curry need to address his size in the second half, along with the duo of LeBron and Wade running the floor. The first half ends 70-60 for Team LeBron.
The third quarter is all about the Splash Brothers. Curry, Klay, and Durant drop a combined 6 threes in the quarter after Team LeBron goes cold from the field. The three stars heat up, and it needs a big effort from Kyrie Irving attacking the paint to match their offense. A hot-shooting quarter ends up giving Team Curry an advantage heading into the 4th, with the score of 93-85.
The fourth quarter is where the game gets tight, and the game slows down. Team LeBron can't rely on Wade and James running the break as much, and the Splash Brothers don't get the looks they got in the 4th quarter. Instead, it is about the half-court offense.
As great as Team Curry's stars are, half-court favors Team LeBron because of their size and athleticism. James and Davis in the pick n roll was hard to handle, while Wade and Bosh do their part on defense. Durant has a nice quarter finishing with 35 for the game, but he is forced to take a lot of shots. Meanwhile, James proves he is the best player in the world by picking his spots and finding his teammates for great looks.
Team LeBron gains an 8 point advantage but back-to-back threes by Curry and Klay trim it to 2 points. Shockingly, Team LeBron call a clever inbounds play to burn the remaining time off the clock until time expires.
Team LeBron vs. Team Curry 120-118
MVP: LeBron James (32 points, 11 rebounds, 10 assists)