As you’ve probably heard, the Miami Heat and
Sonics Oklahoma City Thunder will clash in the NBA finals. To say that
there is a lot on the line would be an understatement, and while many of the
players involved are young guns (and this probably won’t be their last finals
match-up) there are legacies on the line. Consider the following:
LeBron “King” James: is the defending MVP and has certainly been playing like it averaging 30.8 points per game and shooting over 50% from the field. Everyone knows about James’ unreal skill set and if you can’t admit that what he did in these playoffs has been “clutch” than we must not have watched the same games.
Two of the "big three" will need supermen type series to beat the talented
However, it is time for James to start working on his… guarentee. LeBron has been ringless for not two, not three, not four, but seven full NBA seasons. Last year at this time, James was coming again coming off an incredible Eastern Conference Finals against Boston where he looked like a confident killer on the court. This year his attacking style has been unstoppable, but if his team can’t overcome this young, talented Thunder team the criticism is only going to keep building. Does Lebron finally cement himself as a champion, or does he remain the most talented player to never win a ring?
Dwayne Wade: Wade has the benefit of having being a finals MVP to his name but his play has been very suspect. As many members of the media has mentioned, Wade is treated like Superman in South Beach and can do no wrong, but in actuality has been as inconsistent as I have ever seen him. While there is no doubting Wade’s supreme talent, he hasn’t won anything since 2006 when he was on a team with Shaquille O’Neal and Alonzo Mourning. If Miami wants to win this series, they’ll need Wade to be his normal, attacking, consistent himself. I’d say if he scores around 25ppg and locks down whoever he is guarding Miami has a great chance at winning this series.
Kevin Durant: Durant can solidify himself as maybe the best player in the NBA with a big series. Think about it: At 23 Durant can be a three time scoring champ, NBA champion, and NBA finals MVP (a title he will probably hold if the Thunder win). Durant will always be looked at as a great scorer and humble, likeable man, but this could elevate him to another level.
The freakishly athletic Westbrook can defend his style of play
with a strong NBA finals series.
Russell Westbrook: Westbrook, with the exception of James, has the most to gain/lose. Westbrook has often been criticized has a ball-hogging point guard who doesn’t understand the concept of getting the ball to their superstar. This is something that can be true at times, but overall Westbrook plays an important role as a shooter on this team with limited options. Who would you rather have taking all their shots? Durant and Harden can only take so many shots. If at 23 Westbrook is an NBA champion he can say “Yeah, maybe I do shoot too much, but guess what, it works. I’m an NBA champion when everyone said I should have been traded.”
There are four superstars in this series between the two teams (yes, Westbrook is a superstar). While they are all still young, legacies are on the line.