With the 2013 NBA Finals finally here, USSDU looks at LeBron, the 2007 NBA Finals and the future.
With the 2013 NBA Finals finally here we being treated to one hell of a series between two dynasties. This matchup has some history to it, and its outcome could shape the future for several franchises.
Let's take a look at the long-term implications of the 2013 NBA Finals.
Rewind - 2007 NBA Finals
2007 marked the first time the LeBron led Cavaliers made it to the NBA Finals and it wasn't the expected result "The Chosen One" would have liked going into the series.
After battling through the Conference Finals against the Pistons -- including an NBA classic game where LeBron scored the Cavs final 25 points
in Game 5 -- they had to believe that this was their time.
Unfortunately they were facing a Spurs team that was loaded with experienced veterans (Robert Horry, Brent Barry, Bruce Bowen and Jacque Vaughn) and superstars in their prime (Tim Duncan, Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili). Couple this awesome roster with Coach Gregg Popovich and the result was a 4-0 sweep and a lesson for a young LeBron James.
The Cavs were never meant to win the title against a much more experienced and talented team, and it's easy to see why the Cavs were blitzed in a sweep given their starting line-up of Sasha Pavlovic, Drew Gooden, Daniel Gibson and Zydrunas Ilguaskas.
This time though LeBron is back in Miami black and red with his more capable friends and the Spurs won't have such an easy time of it.
Today - 2013 Finals
After the Cavaliers 4-0 loss it took LeBron James four years to make the NBA Finals again, five to win his first title (with Miami) and in between a whole heap of ill-advised TV specials, controversies, doubts and media coverage.
I'm sure the redemption story is not lost on LeBron and will only serve to keep him motivated when the Spurs try to shut him down and take control. A lot of time has passed between 2007 and now, LeBron has matured from a young star trying to make it under the intense pressure of the media spotlight to a mellow, wiser man comfortable with his game.
Instead of perennial scrubs, Drew Gooden, Sasha Pavlovich and Daniel Gibson, LeBron has a highly talented and decorated entourage in Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh, Ray Allen, Shane Battier and Chris Andersen. No longer is he required to carry a team from start to finish and this has opened up his game to new heights once thought impossible in his early days.
On the flip side of this, not much has really changed for the Spurs in terms of their go to players. Duncan, Parker and Ginobili are still the main guys for the Spurs despite being in sight of their pension discount card. While they haven't been to the NBA Finals since 2007, this team knows how to win and will be eager to cap off their careers with another title together.
The only difference for the 2013 Spurs is the veteran role players have been replaced with a bunch of smart, young ballers such as Tiago Splitter and Kahwi Leonard. The Spurs front office has done a fantastic job of finding diamonds in the rough and Coach Popovich has continued the good work by developing them into serviceable players.
With enough time off between the Conference Finals and the NBA Finals to have a luxury cruise around the Bahamas, will the long break adversely affect the Spurs? Given Pop loves to rest his stars during the regular season I don't think this will be as big a factor as everyone is making it out to be.
Game 1 produced a spectacular opening to a highly anticipated return but the rhetoric seemed to be the same. LeBron posted a massive 18-18-10 triple double but it wasn't enough against a hardened Spurs team. If LeBron doesn't get more help in Game 2 then we could be facing another 4-0 sweep. But what happens then?
Depending on how the rest of this series plays out it could determine the future of many franchises for several different reasons.
Scenario One - Miami Win
So Miami come back from 1-0 and win back to back championships as was their plan when they formed in the summer of 2010. Things will most likely stay their course with the three-peat still in play, knowing they could match the great efforts of Jordan's Bulls and Kobe/Shaq's Lakers.
If the three-peat happens they might still have realistic dreams about their infamous "not 5, not 6....." comments and continue on past the end of next season. Miami would have to do some magical accounting or the Big 3 will have to take another massive pay cut, but this is the NBA and anything is possible.
Scenario Two - San Antonio Wins
If San Antonio continues to be frugal with the ball and maintain their great play then it opens up a multitude of options that could rock the NBA.
LeBron James, Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade can all become restricted free agents at the end of the 2013/14 NBA season and while it seems unlikely that Wade or even Bosh will look elsewhere, there have been rumblings that LeBron could leave.
If they only manage one title in three or four years then LeBron may return to Cleveland to team up with Kyrie Irving (they aren't really complimentary players), head to LA and resurrect the Lakers if Kobe retires or he could head to Brooklyn and team up with his friend Jay-Z (even though he isn't a part owner anymore).
Alternatively, Miami might see the writing on the wall and may trade LeBron or Bosh for a bevy of draft picks and young players. With the new CBA the way it is even Miami will have to start thinking about life after the Big 3 era.
One things for sure, this Finals series will shape the NBA to come.
What do you think will happen both in the 2013 NBA Finals and beyond?
Post your thoughts in the comments below!
Mark Pybus (@Number031)