Sport What the NBA Finals means for three superstars' legacies

02:50  14 june  2018
02:50  14 june  2018 Source:   yardbarker.com

Andre Iguodala injury update: Warriors forward (knee) questionable for Game 3 vs. Cavs

  Andre Iguodala injury update: Warriors forward (knee) questionable for Game 3 vs. Cavs Iguodala, the 2015 Finals MVP, averaged 7.9 points and 4.9 rebounds in 13 playoff games before his injury. Tipoff for Game 3 of the NBA Finals is set for 9 p.m. ET at Quicken Loans Arena.

in detail another day). With that in mind, lets take a look at what the outcome of this year’s NBA Finals means for three all-time greats and their respective legacies .

This year’s NBA Finals gives us a rare match-up of the same two teams for the third consecutive year. Getting a title and getting off of this list would be huge for his legacy . So what would winning a Finals MVP mean for Irving?

Even with the fourth consecutive installment of the Warriors v. Cavs Finals matchup, this year’s postseason was still riveting and incredibly memorable. The Cavaliers had to win two Game 7s just to reach the Finals and the Warriors were pushed to a Game 7 for the first time by a Western Conference foe during their four year reign of terror.

The Raptors proved to be exactly who we thought they were, the Celtics, even without Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward were just a game away from the Finals and the 76ers proved that The Process has put them in a great place, though there is still plenty room to grow.

Even with the anticlimactic finish to the season, the dynamic movement in how we’re going to view the legacy of some of the best players to suit up in the Finals is still wildly fascinating. Since we already thought about potential legacy shifts before the postseason began, let’s take a look at how this season has changed the legacy for three of the game’s biggest stars.

NBA Finals 2018: Andre Iguodala back for Game 3

  NBA Finals 2018: Andre Iguodala back for Game 3 Iguodala missed the team's last six games with a left lateral leg contusion. Golden State already leads the series 2-0.Andre Iguodala (left lateral leg contusion/bone bruise) is available to play in tonight's Game 3 at Cleveland.— Warriors PR (@WarriorsPR) June 7, 2018 © (Getty Images) Andre Iguodala Iguodala, 34, averaged 6.0 points, 3.3 assists and 3.8 rebounds per game during the regular season. He allows the Warriors to play with a smaller, more versatile lineup.

Kobe Bryant finally made clear what he alluded to in a couple less direct forays into the subject during the 2018 NBA Finals : Legacies are built on championship rings alone, and if B/R: LeBron has three rings. He’s been to more Finals than any player in modern times. But he’s 3-6 after this series.

NBA Finals : LeBron James and Steph Curry legacies at stake in Game 7. Photos: NBA Finals : What Game 7 means to LeBron James and Steph Curry. Curry has already set an NBA finals record with 28 three -pointers for the series.

Stephen Curry

a close up of a person holding a wine glass: A third title for the Warriors has all but cemented Steph Curry's immortality in the Bay Area. © Ezra Shaw/Getty Images A third title for the Warriors has all but cemented Steph Curry's immortality in the Bay Area.

With the last game of the season now several days in the rearview mirror, I keep going back to a single moment following Game 3. Curry was coming off the single greatest shooting performance from beyond the arc in a Finals game when he set the record for nine made three-pointers in Game 2. In Cleveland in Game 3, he missed his first nine three-point attempts, finishing 1-10 from deep for the night.

His one off night effectively removed him from the Finals MVP conversation with Kevin Durant playing so well, which led to an incredibly sombering moment as he walked to the locker room after the Warriors Game 3 win.

NBA Finals 2018: LeBron James sets two more records

  NBA Finals 2018: LeBron James sets two more records LeBron James has seemingly set a record every night during the 2018 NBA playoffs.With the 33-year-old's 10th rebound in Game 3 Wednesday, James tallied the 10th triple double of his career in the NBA Finals, which is the most all-time.

LeBron James has made the NBA Finals every year since he took his talents to South Beach. We also need to consider what this title means for the legacies of both franchises. Each ofMiami's "Big Three " can opt out of their contracts and June's series will decide whether LeBron, Dwayne Wade

James has evolved what it means to be an NBA superstar . We all remember: "Not one, not two, not three " Over the past two seasons, superstars and even James was heavily criticized by the media and fans alike for seeking support in his quest to cement his legacy atop the basketball world.

Curry is in a space where he knows that he’s likely going to retire as the greatest 3-point shooter in NBA history with three titles (and counting?), a multiple-time All-Star and the one person responsible for a league-wide philosophical look at what gravity can mean when a guy’s range extends beyond 30 feet. There will be an entire generation of ballplayers who model their game, not after Curry, but what Curry has made us believe is possible. He has changed the NBA in ways no other player in the game’s history has before him, and yet he’s walking away from a fourth-consecutive Finals appearance without a Finals MVP trophy.

Curry’s legacy is already set in stone. He’s a first-ballot Hall of Famer if he retires tonight, but you can tell he wanted that Finals MVP in the worst way, and he knew he lost it to KD on that night. Andre Iguodala was in his ear trying to keep him positive, but that kind of hurt only happens to once-in-a-lifetime players. Chances are, he’ll have at least one more opportunity to end the season with the Bill Russell NBA Finals Most Valuable Player Award, something that will mean more to him and the fans in the Bay more than it’ll mean to the rest of us, who have already cemented him as the best shooter ever.

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They tend to lose in blowouts, as they have three times to the Cleveland Cavaliers in these NBA Finals . They need to lock back in, because the all-time superstar who left them in shambles two games in a row has done the same to a more experienced Every NBA Finals carries legacy weight.

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Kevin Durant

Kevin Durant standing in front of a crowd © Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

KD averaged just a shade under 29 points, 11 rebounds and eight assists during the four-game sweep. He gave the Warriors exactly what they needed, when they needed it. Even after the first two games in which Steph Curry was ostensibly the favorite to walk away with the Finals MVP award, Durant was quietly dismantling the Cavaliers with some of the most efficient basketball we’ve seen in his career — which is wild from one of the most efficient scorers of all time.

The turning point in the series, much like it was for Curry, was Game 3, where Durant exploded for 43 points, 13 rebounds and seven assists, Finals totals that no player has ever reached, and he became only the fifth player in Finals history with at least 40 points, 10 boards and five assists (joining LeBron, Jordan, Magic, Havlicek and Cliff Hagan). On top of all the wild numbers, Durant nailed the 3-pointer in the final minute of the game to put Game 3 on ice, and, in a sense, wrap up the series. He was a quiet assassin all series and a closer when his team needed him the most.

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The poor Spurs didn’t even make it through a 24-hour news cycle. So let’s belatedly celebrate them with a column that never uses the word “ legacy .” In the last three games of the 2014 NBA Finals , Kawhi went head-to-head against the world’s best basketball player AND OUTFREAKINGPLAYED HIM.

Durant has tried to downplay the significance of the Finals in terms of what it would mean to his legacy . Regardless of how this series turns out, James will walk away a champion having won an NBA title three times previously.

What these last two years have done for Kevin Durant is elevated the conversation around where he belongs on the arbitrary list of small forwards — and many have him moving into the top three with LeBron James and Larry Bird. While some feel Durant has a ways to go to catch Bird’s career, others feel that his ability to score whenever and however he wants is enough to place him right behind James.

Regardless of where he lands on anyone’s list today, Durant is building a career that will place him among one of the 10 greatest players in the game’s history. He has the individual achievements (ROY, MVP, FMVP, All Team selections, scoring titles, and All-Star selections); now it’s just a matter of how much more he’s going to add to his list of accomplishments and how high he shoots up on some of the all-time numbers.

What may be the most impressive part of these last two seasons is how he’s become one of the NBA’s best defenders. We saw hints of who Durant could become on the defensive side of the ball dating back to the 2010 postseason when he gave Kobe Bryant some trouble in Oklahoma City’s first-round loss to the Lakers. If Durant continues to become a disruptive force on the defensive end of the floor while continuing to score at an unreal clip, top five all time might not be out of the question.

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  Steve Kerr contract extension top priority for Warriors after NBA Finals win Warriors coach Steve Kerr has one year left on his contract, and an extension is a top priority for Golden State.Kerr guided to the Warriors to a successful NBA title defense as they won their third championship in four years on Friday, sweeping the Cavaliers in the Finals.

The now three -time NBA champ spoke the truth. This is the thing about the NBA and legacies and greatness: In this series, LeBron was about as dominant as any basketball player can be, and he never came close to controlling his team’s fate.

Despite not winning the NBA Finals MVP, star guard Stephen Curry still will take his place in NBA history as part of a very select group. The Warriors superstar finished Game 4 with 37 points on 12-of-27 shooting to go along with an impressive stat line that included six rebounds, four assists, three

LeBron James

a man looking at the camera © Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

Could a single man do more for a franchise than LeBron James has done for the Cleveland Cavaliers over the last four seasons? Let’s run back what we’ve witnessed:

  • Four Finals runs against a Warriors team that will go down as one of the greatest assembled teams of all time.
  • One Finals win against that Warriors team, bringing his Cavaliers back from a 3-1 series deficit.
  • The first to ever average a triple-double in a Finals series.
  • He found a way to lead all players in scoring, rebounding and assists in another series.

With each passing season, James adds a few more votaries who believe that he is, or will go down as, the greatest to ever lace up a pair of sneakers. Even in losses, he’s still gaining on Michael Jordan, which is a feat impressive in itself. The teams he continues to drag to the Finals should have no business playing June basketball, and the fact that the Cavaliers were competitive in two and should have won Game 1 off the strength of James’ ability to get what he wanted, when he wanted, is going to make it real easy for the rest of us to look back fondly on what he accomplished.

Another Finals loss is another Finals loss, though, and we’re going to remember his teams struggling against elite teams in the same way we’re going to remember his individual brilliance. Basketball is unique in the sense that it’s a team sport, but there isn’t a team sport where a single man can dramatically alter a moment, a game, a series or an era. Like no one else before him, save for maybe Jerry West, James’ career lies directly at the intersection of solitary resplendence and collective floundering. How one grapples with this depends on how much value you place on efficient greatness versus the value placed on how seasons end.

NBA free agency rumors: Shaquille O'Neal says LeBron James doesn’t need to chase championships .
James can opt out of the final year of his contract with the Cavaliers and become a free agent this summer. O’Neal said it would be difficult for James to compete with the Warriors, regardless of where he plays.Cleveland has lost to the Warriors in back-to back NBA Finals.“Golden State turning themselves into a dynasty is making it hard for other teams to compete,” O’Neal said to ESPN. “You have three superstars on one team that actually play the right way. Even with LeBron (on a roster), if you don't play the right way, it doesn't matter.

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