I’m willing to bet my left leg that this will be the fourth year in a row we will see Lebron James and the “no-longer-baby-faced assassin” Stephen Curry face off in the NBA Finals. The irony here is that although it’s no surprise who will end up in the Finals, this still should turn out to be one of the most exciting seasons yet for the league! Why? After the 2018 NBA Finals, we will be looking at the dawn of a new era in the NBA. Here are 3 things to expect after the 2018 NBA Finals.
1. Lebron James’ Legacy will be Decided
Three and Five. 3 and 5. 3-5. No matter which way you put it, if you win 3 times and lose 5 you’re a loser. However, Lebron James’ case is a rare one.
James was unfortunate enough to have to compete against the best talent the NBA has ever seen. He had to face a legendary San Antonio Spurs in 2007 with Larry Hughes by his side. Larry Hughes. Yeah, Lebron choked in 2011 against the overachieving Mavericks (who also swept Kobe Bryant’s 2011 Lakers) but he was only 26 and didn’t understand what it took to win the big games. Oh, and let’s not forget that he got matched up against the most dominant dynasty of the decade in the Golden State Warriors for the past three years. That said, this will either be the year we see King James exert his will in a display of brute effort and pure excellence in pursuit of an elusive fourth title. Or we may see the last shimmer of hope for one of the all-time greats to cement his legacy.
2. Kevin Durant will Become the Best Basketball Player in The World
Winning this year’s Finals, Kevin Durant closed the gap between him and Lebron as greatest player in the world. Durant, a 6’10” scoring maestro, is a four time NBA leading scorer (2009-2012, 2014) who just won his first (of many?) championship(s) with the Golden State Warriors. Durant is currently widely regarded as the second best player in the league behind (you guessed it) Lebron James.
So, if Durant can manage to win two or three more championships and a handful of scoring titles throughout the course of his career (very plausible goals) he would have to be in the conversation of greats. Keep in mind, at 29 years old Durant has plenty of time. Winning next year’s Finals, Kevin Durant will inch one step closer to being considered the best player in the league. We could be witnessing a passing of the torch.
3. 2018 Free Agency Could Be Craziest Year Yet
This year was the best offseason of all time.
Kyrie gets traded to the Celtics. Lebron is reunited with Dwyane Wade on a rejuvenated Cavaliers powerhouse of a team. The Rockets now have a top 3 backcourt in the league. Russell Westbrook should have all the help he needs with Carmelo Anthony and Paul George. Kawhi Leonard is a likely MVP winner and will be back healthy on a Spurs team you can never count out of the picture. The dominance of the Golden State Warriors over the past 3 years has sent the NBA into a frenetic arms race. Superstars are scrambling to team up in an effort to knock off The Warriors and it’s amazing to see.
However, as crazy as this year’s offseason has been, next year has the potential to top that. Next year’s free agency is stacked with big name stars hungry to win a championship. Lebron James, Kevin Durant, Paul George, and Demarcus Cousins are only a few of the names on the list of players who have the option to resign with their respective teams or test the free agency market. If teams actually compete with the Warriors this year, we should see more re-signings. If the Warriors dominate (again) we could see players just chasing the money as teams await the end of the Golden State dynasty.
With so much going on in the NBA, this is leading up to be one of the most anticipated seasons in a very long time. We are witnessing a legend nearing the end of his prime and a new generation of talent hungry to take his place. The results of the NBA Finals this year will set the precursor for the next several years and October 17th marks the beginning!