The smoke has settled after a wild NBA playoffs and only two teams remain. And not surprisingly, they are the same two teams from last year, the Miami Heat and the San Antonio Spurs. Will the Spurs exact revenge after a heart wrenching loss in last years’ Finals or will the Miami Heat complete the three peat and cement their legacy as a dynasty? Nick and Roderick go head to head and debate!
1. What’s different about these teams this time around?
Roderick: The Spurs are better than they are last year. They are a little deeper and they have a chip on their shoulder and a sour taste in their mouths. Manu Ginobili is much healthier. They added Marco Bellineli. Now on the flip side, Tony Parker is hurt. And I don’t care what the sports analysts are saying, the Spurs can not win this series without Tony Parker. While the Spurs are better they still have some big questions to answer.
The Heat are another year older and that’s not good for a lot of the bench players. From Shane Battier to Ray Allen, this team is on the older side. And Mike Miller is also not a part of this team anymore. On the flip side, Dwayne Wade is actually fully healthy and playing his best basketball in the playoffs since the big 3 came together. This is actually a huge deal and it will have big ramifications on the series.
Nick: I totally agree with you here Rod. The Spurs are deeper. Tiago Splitter is playing quality basketball and more reliable from the free throw line. Kawhi Leonard is playing great basketball and has emerged as one of the top perimeter defenders in the game. The emergence of Patty Mills has been a surprise. He has provided great 3pt shooting and a quality on ball defender. The most important difference is the health of Tony Parker. Without Parker, Spurs won’t have enough to dethrone the Heat.
On the flip side, Dwayne wade has had a great postseason . Lebron has been Lebron. A surprise key contributor has been the emergence of Rashard Lewis of late. He has been a knock down shooter from deep
2. Who has more on the line in terms of legacy: LeBron James or Tim Duncan?
Nick: This is a tough one. I still think Lebron has more to prove . Many have one back to back titles but legends 3-peat. Jordan and Kobe, the two best wing players in our era, have won 3 titles in a row. Lebron has to make his mark. He already is the best player on the planet and he will have to prove it once more this series. Tim Duncan is past his prime and has won four titles . He is widely considered as the best power forward to ever play the game. He has nothing left to prove.
Roderick: LeBron will always have more on the line than anyone he faces because any season he doesn’t win a ring will be considered a bust. A talent of his magnitude and skill set begets more responsibility and accountability to his legacy. Tim Duncan has 4 rings and is already considered the greatest of all time at his position. While a 5th ring would be a story apt story book ending to an incredible career, he doesn’t need it as much as The King does.
3. Who wins the NBA Finals?
Roderick: Everybody is picking against the Heat and it’s pissing me off. I get it, the Spurs are a better team. But that doesn’t matter. It is blasphemous that people jump to crown the Spurs like they don’t have to go through the best player on the planet LeBron James WHO PUT THEM OUT LAST YEAR. The last two years Jordan won his rings he played a better team in the Utah Jazz. But when you have a superstar all that game planning goes out of the window. Ask Gregg Popovich about what LeBron did to his game plan last year. He admitted when a superstar is focused there is nothing anybody can do. With that said and in the essence of a Skip Bayless tweet; Heat in 6.
Nick: I’m picking the Spurs in 7. I’m making this pick based on a healthy Tony Parker. If Parker isn’t healthy, the Heat will win in 6. I just don’t see the Heat beating the Spurs in 7 games if Parker is healthy. The Spurs are a better team than the Heat and they will avenge tier game 6 let down from the previous year. Tim Duncan will retire a champion.
So who do you have in the Finals? Weigh in in the comments below and be sure to catch Game 1 Thursday, June 5th at 7:30C on ABC.