The Nuggets, who were the No. 1 seed in the Western Conference, didn’t have much of a problem getting to the Finals after sweeping the Los Angeles Lakers in the Western Conference Finals. The Heat had a longer and more difficult route, having to earn their postseason spot in the play-in tournament, and ended up defeating the Boston Celtics in seven games. There will be some major storylines as this Finals series progresses, and here are a few to watch for.
The greatest championship ever won
The Miami Heat have been on a historic run during the postseason, and they can continue to make history if they win this series. The last time a No. 8 seed was in the NBA Finals was the New York Knicks in 1999, as they became the first and only No. 8 seed to ever advance. Unfortunately for them, they didn’t win, which leaves the Heat with a chance to be the only No. 8 seed to win a championship.
Denver’s first championship
The Nuggets punched their ticket to the franchise’s first appearance in the NBA Finals and is one of 12 teams to have never won a championship. The last time the Nuggets were this close to a Finals appearance was in 2020 in the NBA bubble, where they faced the Los Angeles Lakers in the Conference Finals but lost. This year, they’re fully healthy and have the best odds to win the championship.
Nikola Jokic’s catapult in NBA rankings
Nikola Jokic has proved over the past three seasons that he may be the best player in the NBA right now, after winning back-to-back MVP awards and reaching the Finals this year. If Jokic was to win the championship this year, his ranking as a top player in NBA history would suddenly rise, and him being one of the best centers to ever play the game would be in question.
Jimmy Butler’s ranking in Miami Heat history
Dwyane Wade is by far one of the best players to put on a Miami Heat jersey, LeBron James is probably next on the list, and you can’t forget Alonzo Mourning. In just four years as a member of the Heat, Jimmy Butler has led the Heat to two NBA Finals appearances, three conference finals appearances, and made the Heat the first play-in team to make the Conference Finals and NBA Finals.
Ratings, ratings, and more ratings
This year’s NBA Finals doesn’t feature the big names you usually see on the big stage like Steph Curry or LeBron James, and some have argued that the play style of the Nuggets and Heat won’t be as exciting as others. Despite play style, these two teams have shown some of the most team-oriented basketball in the playoffs this year, which should make for an interesting showdown, even if the ratings aren’t the best.