The NBA Finals is finally here. Now what’s going to happen?

Lakers legend Kobe Bryant passed away earlier this year. Lakers fans are supporting his memory of the great man he was by wearing his jersey and also making tributes. Photo courtesy of

Lakers legend Kobe Bryant passed away earlier this year. Lakers fans are supporting his memory of the great man he was by wearing his jersey and also making tributes. Photo courtesy of

Jasper Gruel

In the midst of an unprecedented season for all sports, many thought we would never get to this point. Throughout a grueling year comes a moment that will change the National Basketball Association forever, this year’s NBA Finals. The matchup is The Los Angeles Lakers led by LeBron James in his 10th all-time finals appearance vs. The Miami Heat led by All-star Jimmy Butler in his first finals with a young core around him. Before Game 1, Wednesday at 9 p.m., I thought we would look at everything you need to know before the game.

The Los Angeles Lakers

The Lakers faced off against the Trailblazers in the first round. After losing game one of that series and putting up abysmal offensive numbers, many thought that this would be the year LeBron began to slow down. There is one universal truth, don’t doubt LeBron when it comes to the postseason. James is averaging 27 points, 10 rebounds, and giving out 9 assists per game, a career high for him, he is the all time leading scorer in the NBA playoffs, and I doubt he plans to stop anytime soon.

His partner in crime, Anthony Davis is leading the team in scoring with 29 points per game. Davis has been clutch this postseason having a higher player efficiency ratio than James which is hard to do considering he is an all time PER player. Davis has shown this year that he can perform in the playoffs hitting a clutch fade away 3 to win the game at triple zeros to take a commanding 2-0 lead in the Western Conference Finals. The one slight on him so far has been his rebounding which has gone down significantly in the postseason. 

However, with the talented big men allotted to this team with Javale Mcgee and wiley veteran Dwight Howard, they won’t have to worry about boards off the bench, no matter which one of them starts they have a strong group of front court players with Howard rejuvenating his career in Los Angeles this season. 

Speaking of rejuvenated players let’s talk about Rajon Rondo who is giving the Lakers 9 points and 7 assists off the bench and playing some of his best basketball. Rondo was questioned all season and just when he was about to prove the haters wrong he got a thumb injury that limited him in the bubble, he returned later and has shown to be of great importance as he has provided a playmaker outside of James, don’t be surprised to see a lot of lobs out of him in the finals as he is a former champion. 

Finally you have Kyle Kuzma who is the X-Factor for the Lakers, he’s averaging 10 points off the bench and has been a good spark for this team at times, but the problem is the consistency. Kuzmas shooting is 30% from behind the arch and it’s been all up and down, can he become the clutch player the Lakers thought he could be, I think he has a chance to redeem his lackluster playoffs.

The Heat

The Heat were underdogs in every series they were in, they were the fifth seed in the postseason which means that if they weren’t in the bubble they would have been on the road the entire time. In the bubble they were given the opportunity to have an even playing field which they fully took advantage of making their first finals appearance since 2014. 

The Heat are led by their huge free agency acquisition Jimmy Butler who has been a huge gain for this team. Butler brought a culture of grit and no nonsense attitude. His defense has been toxic to other teams, putting up 1.9 steals while giving them 20 points on the other side of the ball. Butler has been clutch and been a true leader on this team. 

Then there is the young core of Tyler Herro, Bam Adebayo, and Duncan Robinson, Tyler Herro has been ironically a hero for this team giving them that third star they needed to get past some of these tough teams out east like the Milwaukee Bucks, and when a rookie is giving you 16 points on 38% 3 point percentage, your getting a huge boost, Bam who has been a surprise this year has been huge for them being their leader in rebounds with 11 per game while also leading the team with 5 assists, his passing and rebounding is great but on the defensive side of the ball he has made many clutch plays like stopping Jayson Tatum with a game winning block in game 1 of the Eastern Conference Finals, and then Robinson who has been a human flamethrower from behind the three point line, nearly 90% of his shots are from 3 point land and is averaging 11 points per game on 45% shooting, he takes 3-8 threes per game and provides the key spacing this team needs to win the finals. 

Then there’s the X-Factors of their veterans Jae Crowder, Goran Dragic and Andre Iguodala, Jae Crowder has been shooting the ball amazing in the postseason with over 40% and his shooting next to Robinson when he comes off the bench makes up for Butlers lack of a true 3 point shot, he also brings great defense and hustle, the Andre brings championship grit being a 3 time NBA champion with the Golden State Warriors, he will be used as someone in the locker room who can show them what it takes to be a winner, and finally there’s Goran Dragic who has been the leading scorer for the Heat this playoffs with 21 points per game, his hot streak and consistent shooting will be put to the test when he goes up against Rondo and the Lakers guards, will Dragic be able to lead this team in scoring against on of the top defensive units in the NBA.

The Finals

Each team will be gunning for this title, both of these teams are the class of the NBA, cream of the crop and adding another Larry O’ Brian trophy to one of their collection is all they ever aim to do.

For the Lakers, adding another championship would mean more this season than any other season. After Kobe Bryant’s unfortunate death a lot of Lakers fans were caught in the doldrums. They had one goal in mind, win for Kobe. Not to mention it would be James’ 4th championship putting him in an even more rare company than the company he is already in. Los Angeles has been devoid of championships for a decade now– there would be a socially distant swarm of people outside of Staples Center, home of the Lakers, James would be carried wherever he went, and the Lakers would be tied for the most championships ever with 17. 

For the Heat, Pat Riley has been doing great things in the NBA ever since he got there, Butler is looking to prove that hard work always pays off, Adebayo is looking to show he’s the best center in the league, Herro is looking to prove to every team that passed on him in the draft why they were wrong. This championship would establish a winning culture in Miami seeing as it’s their 4th championship and it would show that hard work can upset even the highest of basketball deities, and a parade would break out in Miami free agents would look at it as a potential landing spot. 

The Heat and The Lakers are terrible matches for each other seeing as The Heat have a great frontcourt with Dragic, Herro, and Robinson, while the Lakers lack a true scorer in their frontcourt with Rondo being more of a passer, Kentavious Kadwell Pope being more of a spot up shooter, and Danny Green being more of a corner three defensive beast. On the other hand, we see the Heat not having anyone who can guard LeBron effectively, when the pick and roll comes he is either going to get switched onto Crowder who has shown no ability to guard him in the past or Adebayo who isn’t great defending the three point line. The benches are both good for these teams as well so what it really comes down to is who can outlast the others attack.

The Prediction

My official prediction is that the Lakers will win this championship. They have a lot more experience than the young Heat do and being reliant on young talent in the Finals is hard to do. Robinson may stop shooting as well as he has, Herro may not be that ligitmant star he has been,  we should remember that James always finds a way to win these games, don’t let his finals record of 3-6 change your view of him, I think the Lakers will win in six games. Game 1 starts on Wednesday at 9 p.m.