A Look Ahead At The 2020 NBA Finals

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Lebron James is the star player on the Lakers and expected Finals MVP this year

Davis Cuffe, Sports Editor

After a completely off-the-wall NBA playoffs and end of season, only two teams remain. The Miami Heat will represent the Eastern Conference in the NBA finals and will face off against the Los Angeles Lakers who will represent the Western Conference. While this series will be full of exciting moments and plays, here are some storylines to pay attention to throughout the games.

Who produces as the Lakers’ third scoring option?

Coming into the 2019-2020 season this was a huge question mark for this Lakers team. With Lebron James and Anthony Davis both on the roster, the top two scoring options were clear. But in a league of ¨Big Threes¨ and dynamic trios, fans looked for an answer. Throughout the majority of the season, this question had somewhat of an answer as Kyle Kuzma averaged around 12 points per game which was third on the team. But in the playoffs the Lakers ran a bit of a third option by committee, playing Kuzma, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, and Danny Green all about twenty-five minutes per game. Each averaged about nine points per game throughout the playoffs. While Lebron and Anthony Davis are two phenomenal scoring options, since 2015 the team that won the NBA Finals had three or more players averaging fifteen or more points per game. Something to note, the Miami Heat have four players averaging over fifteen points per game, and seven players averaging over eleven points per game.

How do the Heat guard Lebron and Anthony Davis? 

While Miami has multiple elite defenders, no one has been able to stop the duo of Anthony Davis and Lebron James. If you combine the duos playoff stats the two averaged 55.5 PPG, 19.6 RPG, 12.5 APG, all on almost 55% field goal percentage. This is a duo who absolutely rolled over superstar teams on the way to the finals, first Damian Lilliard of the Trailblazers, then James Harden and Russel Westbrook of the Rockets, and finally Jamal Murray and Nikola Jokic of the Nuggets. In the last fifteen games, the Lakers have played they have lost only three games, that’s an 80% win percentage, which is almost as impressive as this duos field goal percentage. While the Heat have a player at both Lebron and Davis´s positions that are both formidable defenders the Lakers have seen almost every defensive front in the books on the way to this year’s finals. From Houstons, switch everything man to man defense, to Denver’s zone. How the Heat handles this duo is still a mystery but with an elite defensive coach in Erik Spoelstra, they surely have something cooked up. 

Who stands out for the Heat? 

Throughout the playoffs, the Heat haven’t had one or two defining stars but have been lead by a variety of players. Some games the team will rely upon All-Star starter, Jimmy Butler, other games the team relies upon star rookie, and fan favorite, Tyler Herro. Unlike many finals teams in the past Miami is unique in that they don´t have one bonified superstar but a collection of stars. For as long as we can remember each team has had a superstar leading the team. That is no disrespect to Jimmy Butler or Bam Adebayo but I think if you ask any NBA fan outside of Miami they’ll tell you that Jimmy Butler is not a superstar. With the Lakers having two superstars, it may be difficult for this ¨collection of stars¨, to win this series. If the Heat were to win though, that could make choosing finals MVP quite a debate. 

My NBA Finals Predictions: 

NBA Finals Winner: Los Angeles Lakers, this team has been dominant and the experience of veterans like Lebron James, Rajon Rondo, and Danny Green, the Lakers should have no problem with this young Miami Heat team. I think the Lakers complete a 4-0 sweep.

NBA Finals MVP: Lebron James, while I expect Anthony Davis to outscore Lebron throughout the Finals I think Lebron fills the stat sheet every night. Not too long ago we saw Charles Barkeley call out Lebron for having a bad game on a night Lebron had a triple-double. With Lebron as the clear leader of this team, it´d be hard not to name him Finals MVP if the Lakers were to win.

Miami Heat Standout: Jimmy Butler, with this Heat team being so young, Jimmy´s experience will offer as a valuable asset in this finals series. I also expect Spoelstra to try to get Jimmy going early and have the younger guys surrounding Jimmy follow his lead. 

While this series may not be as close as Heat fans wish, there will still be plenty of top tier NBA basketball on every other night. Be sure to tune in and watch the NBA 2020 Finals!