The NBA Finals are the second biggest stage in the world of basketball, and no doubt, the biggest stage for the most popular basketball players. For every player that has played in the Finals, they are a legend and a legend at the biggest stage. No matter the result, the Finals is always the stage where legends are born and legends are celebrated. The NBA finals is the stage where legends are made.
The NBA Finals have been dominated by the Cleveland Cavaliers ever since LeBron James joined them in the summer of 2014. The two-time defending champions have won four straight NBA titles, and they’re back at it again. As we get ready for Game 1 of the 2016 NBA Finals on Sunday night, let’s take a look back at the best NBA Finals debuts ever.
The NBA Finals is often referred to as the greatest sporting competition on earth. There is no other league where a team can deliver such a high level of intensity throughout the entire season, so in the end the best team wins. That said, it is not always easy to predict who will win at the end of the series, but we can certainly pick out some players that did their best.. Read more about most points in nba finals series and let us know what you think.
With the conclusion of the NBA Finals, we now have a new champion: the Milwaukee Bucks. Giannis Antetokounmpo was instrumental in the Bucks’ first NBA title in 50 years. Giannis Antetokounmpo was rightfully awarded Finals MVP for his outstanding efforts throughout the series. Giannis produced one of the best Finals performances of all time, particularly in Game 6. But where does his effort stand among the best NBA Finals debuts of all time? Let’s have a look at what we’ve got.
Mentions of Merit
Kobe Bryant – Kobe Bryant – Kobe Bryant – Kobe Bryan (Los Angeles Lakers vs. Indiana Pacers 4-2)
Kobe’s stats: 15.6 points per game, 4.6 rebounds per game, 4.2 assists per game, 1.0 steals per game, 1.4 blocks per game
Kobe’s stats: 15.6 points per game, 4.6 rebounds per game, 4.2 assists per game, 1.0 steals per game, 1.4 blocks per game
2007 – LeBron James (Cleveland Cavaliers vs. San Antonio Spurs 0-4)
LeBron’s stats: 22.0 points per game, 7.0 rebounds per game, 6.8 assists per game, 1.0 steals per game, and 0.5 blocks per game
There isn’t enough appreciation for LeBron James and what he accomplished in 2007. Taking a poor Cleveland Cavaliers club all the way to the NBA Finals will go down in NBA history as one of his finest achievements. However, if we’re just talking about the NBA Finals, LeBron isn’t even in the top ten. Against the San Antonio Spurs, he averaged 22 points, 7 rebounds, and 7 assists, all of which are excellent statistics. The Spurs, on the other hand, were able to keep LeBron quiet at the time and swept the Cleveland Cavaliers in four games.
Steph Curry (#10) – 2015 (Golden State Warriors vs. Cleveland Cavaliers 4-2)
Curry’s stats: 26.0 points per game, 5.2 rebounds per game, 6.3 assists per game, 1.8 steals per game, and 0.2 blocks per game
Steph Curry’s first NBA Finals appearance came after a breakthrough season as a superstar. As the Golden State Warriors revolutionized the NBA, he was named MVP for the 2014-15 season. Steph was no different in the Finals. Curry was outstanding throughout the series against a very motivated LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers. He was leading the Warriors in scoring and putting the hammer down. Curry had a 26-point, 5-rebound, and 6-assist average. His performance was critical, and he didn’t shy away from the game’s biggest moments. Despite the fact that Andre Iguodala was awarded the Finals MVP for his defensive effort against LeBron James, Curry made a strong argument for himself.
Hakeem Olajuwon (Hakeem Olajuwon) (Hakeem Olajuwon) (Houston Rockets vs. Boston Celtics 2-4)
Hakeem’s stats: 24.7 points per game, 11.8 points per game, 1.8 points per game, 1.8 points per game, 2.3 points per game, 3.2 points per game
Michael Jordan’s draft class included Hakeem Olajuwon, who was the outstanding athlete. Without knowing their future plans, the safest option is to select the 7’0 star with the first overall choice. And within two years, Olajuwon would fulfill the promise he had shown in his early years. Olajuwon was a superstar in action as he led the Houston Rockets to the NBA Finals. He had a game-by-game average of 24 points, 11 rebounds, and three blocks. Despite this, the Rockets fell to a Celtics club that was an absolute juggernaut in six games. Make no mistake: the Rockets lost despite Hakeem rather than because of him.
Kevin Durant (8th) – 2012 (Oklahoma City Thunder vs. Miami Heat 2-4)
Durant’s stats: 30.6 points per game, 6.0 rebounds per game, 2.2 assists per game, 1.4 steals per game, and 1.0 block per game.
KD is often chastised for winning his only two NBA titles with a 73-9 Warriors club. People forget, though, how amazing his first Finals performance in 2012 was. Kevin Durant was the centerpiece of an Oklahoma City Thunder squad that had a youthful Russell Westbrook and James Harden as franchise pillars. They were also up against a motivated Miami Heat squad that had been humiliated in the previous year’s finals. Despite playing LeBron James and Dwyane Wade in their peak years (LeBron more so than Wade), Durant was a monster for Oklahoma City, particularly in their Game 1 victory against Miami. Durant averaged 30 points, 6 rebounds, and 2 assists per game in the series. KD’s efforts would have earned him an NBA championship if he had faced a different opponent.
Larry Bird (Larry Bird) (Larry Bird) (Larry Bird (Boston Celtics vs. Houston Rockets 4-2)
15.3 points per game, 15.3 points per game, 7.0 points per game, 2.3 points per game, 0.5 points per game)
For the Boston Celtics, Larry Bird was a game-changer. They immediately became one of the Eastern Conference’s top challengers after drafting him in 1978. They did, however, create a three-headed monster in 1981. The Celtics became the team to beat in the NBA after selecting Kevin McHale (who didn’t play much in the Finals) and adding Robert Parish. No one could throughout that season. The Boston Celtics annihilated the Houston Rockets in six games, thanks in large part to Larry Bird. Throughout the series, Bird averaged 15 points, 15 rebounds, and 7 assists. While his scoring statistics aren’t very impressive, it’s the rest of his game that has earned him a spot on our list. While he went on to have great Finals series, it was his first that served as his calling card in the NBA.
Tim Duncan (Tim Duncan) (Tim Duncan) (Tim Duncan) (T (San Antonio Spurs vs. New York Knicks 4-1)
Duncan’s stats: 27.4 points per game, 14.0 rebounds per game, 2.4 assists per game, 1.0 steals per game, 2.2 blocks per game)
When it comes to all-time greats debates, Tim Duncan is often overlooked. Because he wasn’t the most well-known player in the league, his outstanding achievements sometimes went unnoticed. Duncan, on the other hand, made one of the most memorable NBA Finals debuts ever. Duncan averaged 27 points, 14 rebounds, and 2 blocks per game in his first Finals with the San Antonio Spurs. Gregg Popovich used him as a crucial cog in his first NBA championship. Duncan’s NBA Finals were so groundbreaking that he overtook David Robinson in the rankings as a result of his outstanding efforts.
Shaquille O’Neal (5th) – 1995 (Orlando Magic vs. Houston Rockets 0-4)
Shaq’s stats: 28.0 points per game, 12.5 rebounds per game, 6.3 assists per game, 0.3 steals per game, 2.5 blocks per game
Despite being swept in his first NBA Finals, Shaquille O’Neal is able to make this list, demonstrating how dominating he was. The greatest player on a youthful and eager Orlando Magic team that was ripping through the Eastern Conference was known as ‘The Diesel.’ As the NBA Finals approached, Shaq, Penny Hardaway, Nick Anderson, and Horace Grant formed an all-around powerful triumvirate. They were no match for Hakeem and the Rockets, however. Hakeem was able to keep O’Neal quiet throughout the series, according to fans. Shaq, on the other hand, averaged 28 points, 12 rebounds, 6 assists, and 2 blocks a game. And if Hakeem was keeping Shaq quiet, we certainly got to witness the boisterous Shaq when he was with the Lakers.
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, fourth place, 1971 (Milwaukee Bucks vs. Baltimore Bullets 4-0)
Kareem’s stats are as follows: 27.0 points per game, 18.5 points per rebound, and 2.5 points per assist.
In his career, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (then Lou Alcindor) would have a greater NBA Finals series. However, his appearance in the Finals was surrounded by a lot of anticipation. Kareem was widely regarded as the best college player of all time, and his NBA debut was eagerly anticipated. He came agonizingly close to leading the Milwaukee Bucks to the NBA Finals in his debut season, only to be beaten by the New York Knicks. But the next season, when Jabbar led the Bucks to the NBA Finals, he was unstoppable. He and the Bucks swept the Baltimore Bullets 4-0, averaging 27 points and 18 rebounds per game. Kareem had already led a team to a championship in just his second season. His first participation in the Finals was also his last appearance with the Bucks, as he ultimately departed Milwaukee for Los Angeles.
2021: Giannis Antetokounmpo (Milwaukee Bucks vs. Phoenix Suns 4-2)
Giannis’ stats: 35.2 points per game, 13.2 rebounds per game, 5.0 assists per game, 1.2 steals per game, and 1.8 blocks per game.
It would be easy to discount Giannis Antetokounmpo’s ranking on this list as a result of his recent success in Milwaukee. After all, it’s only been 24 hours since Antetokounmpo and the Bucks defeated the Phoenix Suns in the NBA Finals. But the fact is that Giannis put on one of the greatest NBA Finals performances of all time. After a shaky start to the season, Giannis stepped improved his attacking game. As a result of his accomplishments, the rest of his colleagues were inspired to emulate him. Giannis averaged 35 points, 13 rebounds, and 5 assists a game, as well as a block and a steal per contest. And his 50-point, 15-rebound, and 5-block effort in Game 6 will go down as one of the best single-game closeout performances in NBA Finals history. So, despite its newness, his place on our list is well-deserved.
Magic Johnson, No. 2 – 1980 (Los Angeles Lakers vs. Philadelphia 76ers 4-2)
Magic’s stats are 21.5 points per game, 11.2 points per game, 8.7 points per game, 2.7 points per game, and 0.3 points per game.
The fact that Magic Johnson was a rookie in the 1980 NBA Finals distinguishes his performance. He had just started playing at the beginning of the previous season. Magic was the greatest player in the Finals for a Lakers team that included Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, which made it even more remarkable. Johnson was a danger on both sides of the court, averaging 21 points, 11 rebounds, and 8 assists per game, as well as two steals. Magic dominated the show and gave us our first hint that we were seeing the birth of the greatest point guard in NBA history. Johnson would go on to win many titles in the future, but his first appearance in the Finals is perhaps his best ever on the NBA’s grandest stage. Johnson bucked the expectations that had been placed on him as a rookie and put on a performance to remember.
Michael Jordan (Michael Jordan) (Michael Jordan) ( (Chicago Bulls vs. Los Angeles Lakers 4-1)
Jordan’s stats: 31.2 points per game, 6.6 rebounds per game, 11.4 assists per game, 2.8 steals per game, and 1.4 blocks per game.
Michael Jordan had to wait almost seven years to make his NBA Finals debut. It seemed that he would be unable to defeat Larry Bird and the Celtics, as well as Isiah Thompson and the ‘Bad Boy’ Pistons. But, after sweeping the Pistons 4-0 in the Eastern Conference Finals, we finally got to witness what MJ was capable of. His debut game was a disappointment, as he and the Bulls were defeated by Magic Johnson and the Lakers. However, Jordan’s defeat only served to fuel his motivation for the remainder of the series. He finished the season with a 31-point per-game average and 11 assists. Jordan was a key player for the Bulls, helping them win the series in five games. Jordan demonstrated why he was going to be a fixture in the title picture moving forward in his first NBA Finals. For the most of the 1990s, he and the Bulls accomplished precisely that.
To mark the start of the NBA Finals, we asked our writers to score all of the first-round games from this season and rank them in order of what they thought were the best. Here are the results:. Read more about most points in nba finals game and let us know what you think.
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