21 September 2020

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Best Player Matchups we Could see in the NBA Finals

With the NBA season set to resume, and the NBA Finals set to conclude in October, here are my personal top realistic player matchups we could see in this fall’s NBA Finals.

AD vs. Giannis:

Milwaukee Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo, knocks down Los Angeles Lakers forward Anthony Davis as he drives to the basket during the first half of an NBA basketball game Friday, March 6, 2020, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)
Mark J. Terrill – Associated Press

This is certainly the most inticing direct player matchup we might see, as these two may have the balance in the finals hanging on who outperforms who. AD is obviously an excellent paint defender, and is a huge reason why the Lakers have success on that side of the ball. Giannis on the other hand is a force offensively on the inside, and commands so much attention from opposing defenses. If AD can slow down Giannis, it is unlikely the Bucks can beat the Lakers. But if Giannis is able to dominate inside, this is a totally different series.

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Kawhi vs. Giannis:

TORONTO, CANADA - MAY 19: Giannis Antetokounmpo #34 of the Milwaukee Bucks passes the ball during the game against Kawhi Leonard #2 of the Toronto Raptors during Game Three of the Eastern Conference Finals of the 2019 NBA Playoffs on May 19, 2019 at the Scotiabank Arena in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2019 NBAE (Photo by Ron Turenne/NBAE via Getty Images)
Ron Turenne – Getty Images

After a great matchup in last year’s ECF, where the Raptors upset the Bucks after going down 0-2, another matchups between these two stars would be incredible. Can Giannis get over the hump, and defeat the stacked Clippers, or will Kawhi be a back-to-back champion, and solidify himself as a top 3 player in the league. This matchup will come down to which of these two stars outplays the other.

Kawhi vs. Raptors:

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - NOVEMBER 11:  Kawhi Leonard #2 of the LA Clippers dribbles as he is guarded by Rondae Hollis-Jefferson #4 of the Toronto Raptors during the first half at Staples Center on November 11, 2019 in Los Angeles, California.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
Harry How – Getty Images

After a long free agency process, Leonard left the Raptors this past summer to join the Clippers, after leading Toronto to their first ever championship. Surprisingly, the Raptors haven’t fallen off, and are the 2 seed in the East. It would be a phenomenal story if we got to see the Clippers and Raptors in the Finals, and to see how his former teammates cope in that environment without him. If Kawhi performs like last year, it is likely the Raptors have a hard time winning this series.

Embiid vs. Jokic

PHILADELPHIA, PA - FEBRUARY 8: Joel Embiid #21 of the Philadelphia 76ers plays defense against the Nikola Jokic #15 of the Denver Nuggets on February 8, 2019 at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2019 NBAE (Photo by Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images)
Jesse D. Garrabrant – Getty Images

Maybe this one is unlikely, as neither team is a huge favorite to get to the Finals, but how cool would it be to have the 2 best centers in the NBA going at it for a championship. The 2 couldn’t have more different play styles, with Jokic being far less athletic and relying on his passing and shooting, while Embiid is a monster inside, and plays great defense due to his athleticism. The clash of styles and overall talent here would make for quite the matchup.

Simmons vs. Lebron:

PHILADELPHIA, PA - FEBRUARY 10: LeBron James #23 of the Los Angeles Lakers and Ben Simmons #25 of the Philadelphia 76ers in action at the Wells Fargo Center on February 10, 2019 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The 76ers defeated the Lakers 143-120. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.(Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)
Mitchell Leff – Getty Images

This matchup would be a story book one, with, in Lebron’s own words, the “Prince” taking on the King. Simmons plays very similarly to Lebron early in his career, with excellent court vision, athleticism, and defense. The Sixers and Lakers would create a very interesting series, with Simmons and Bron, as well as Embiid and AD matching up with eachother. Simmons will need to dominate for the Sixers to make it this far, and especially if they expect to compete with the Lakers.

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