The 77th Finals in NBA history are about to start, with the nuggets and the Heat who will try to succeed the Warriors, crowned in 2022 against the Celtics. The opportunity to prepare for this series of extremes with several more or less known anecdotes, but which will certainly help to put us directly in the bath…
The 2023 Finals in 23 points…
— Already double MVP of the regular season (2021, 2022), Nikola Jokic can become the 19th player to achieve the double, in the event of the title of MVP of the Finals. He could also become the 5th international player to be named MVP of the Finals, after Hakeem Olajuwon (1994, 1995), Tony Parker (2007), Dirk Nowitzki (2011) and Giannis Antetokounmpo (2021).
– In the event of a coronation, Jimmy Butler may become the 16th player to be voted Finals MVP without being named regular season MVP.
— Respectively 41st choice of the 2014 Draft and 30th choice of the 2011 Draft, Nikola Jokic And Jimmy Butler can become the lowest-drafted Finals MVPs in history. The record belongs since 1979 to Dennis Johnson (29th choice of the 1976 Draft). Note that Moses Malone, admittedly undrafted in the NBA, was drafted in the ABA (22nd choice in the 1974 Draft), before being selected in 5th position in the 1976 Dispersal Draft.
— In case of title, the nuggets would become the second team from the ABA to be crowned champion in the NBA, after the Spurs (1999, 2003, 2005, 2007, 2014), in addition to being the 20th team in the league (out of 30) to win the title .
— In case of title, the Heat would become the first #8 seed to be crowned NBA champion (the Knicks lost to the Spurs in 1999), in addition to being the first play-in team to win the title.
– THE Heat qualified for the 2023 Finals after finishing in last place among the most prolific attacks in the regular season: 109.5 points per game. Only the Pistons (1956) and the Warriors (1964) have achieved such a feat in the past (but they did not win the title). Additionally, with a 44-38 regular season record (53.7%), Miami has the worst winning percentage by an NBA finalist since the 1981 Rockets.
— In terms of experience at the Finals stage, the number of nuggets has 10 games (Kentavious Caldwell-Pope + Jeff Green), while the squad of Heat has 70 matches (Udonis Haslem + Kevin Love + Jimmy Butler + Kyle Lowry + Tyler Herro + Duncan Robinson + Bam Adebayo).
— Regarding physical freshness in these playoffs, the nuggets played 15 matches, against 18 for the Heatwhile Denver has not played for… ten days (a record break between the conference finals and the Finals).
— At home, the nuggets point to 8 wins and 0 losses, while the Heat points to 6 wins and 2 losses. Outside, Denver points to 4 wins and 3 losses, while Miami points to 6 wins and 4 losses.
— As the “upsets” have been linked in these playoffs, the course of the nuggets is so atypical that, when we add the numbers of their faced seeds, we get a total of 27 (Wolves #8 + Suns #4 + Lakers #7 + Heat #8). Either the highest total in history on a playoff campaign, ahead of the Spurs (22) in 1999.
– This nuggets/Heat is the 43rd different poster in the history of the Finals (out of a total of 77).
— Kevin Love participates in the 5th Finals of his career, while he has only participated… five times in the playoffs (2015, 2016, 2017, 2018 and 2023, therefore).
— Respectively titled in 2016, 2019 and 2020, Kevin Love, Kyle Lowry And Kentavious Caldwell-Pope can join, at the end of these 2023 Finals, the club of multiple NBA champions in activity, which currently includes 12 members.
— Present in the Top 10 of active players who total the most playoff games without having won the title, Jimmy Butler (114) and Jeff Green (98) have the opportunity to leave behind this sad club, which also includes Al Horford (167), James Harden (160), Chris Paul (149), George Hill (144), Russell Westbrook (116), Jae Crowder ( 111), Paul George (108), Marcus Smart (108) and Jaylen Brown (105).
— See you soon 43 (he will be on June 9), Udonis Haslem can become the second oldest NBA champion in history, behind Robert Parish (43 years & 287 days) in 1997. But “UD” can also become the second player in history to be crowned NBA champion over three different decades (2000’s, 2010’s, 2020’s), after Tim Duncan (1990’s, 2000’s, 2010’s).
— See you soon 20 years old (he will have them… on June 9 as well), Nikola Jovic can become the fourth youngest NBA champion in history, behind Darko Milicic (18 years & 361 days) in 2004, Jonathan Kuminga (19-253) in 2022 and Talen Horton-Tucker (19-321) in 2020.
— Featured in the Top 10 oldest active players to never have won the title, Jeff Green (36 years & 277 days) has the opportunity to leave behind this sad club, which also includes Chris Paul (38-026), Taj Gibson (37-342), George Hill (37-028), Goran Dragic (37- 026), Garrett Temple (37-024), Al Horford (36-363), Rudy Gay (36-288), Wesley Matthews (36-230) and James Johnson (36-101).
— NCAA champion with Kansas in 2022, Christian Brown can become the 5th player to achieve the NCAA / NBA double in the space of a year, in the event of the NBA title in 2023. He would imitate Bill Russell, Magic Johnson, Billy Thompson and Henry Bibby.
— With no less than 13 different franchises to its credit, unheard of in the league, Ish Smith can set the record for the most teams in which an NBA champion has played, ahead of Tony Massenburg (12).
— Omer Yurtseven has the possibility of becoming the first Turkish player crowned NBA champion.
— Erik Spoelstra participates in the 6th Finals of his coaching career. He equals John Kundla, Gregg Popovich and Steve Kerr, while only Phil Jackson (13), Red Auerbach (11) and Pat Riley (9) do better on a bench. In the event of a 3rd title, he would be behind Jackson (11), Auerbach (9), Kundla (5), Riley (5), Popovich (5) and Kerr (4).
— Fun facts: Erik Spoelstra is opposed to the Nuggets in these Finals 2023, in other words the franchise within which his father, Jonheld the dual role of president and GM in 1989. This lasted three short months, since the former leader had ended up falling out with the management of the time in Denver.
— pat riley participated in the 19th Finals of his career (for 9 titles) as player (3), coach (9), assistant (1) or manager (6). That’s almost 25% of all Finals, while only Jerry West (30) does better in history.