6 Best Players In NBA Finals History: Kobe, LeBron, And More

Author: Jomathews


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The NBA has existed for more than 75 years. The history of basketball is bestowed with some of the most talented athletes in history. The style of play has varied over several generations. In recent decades, shooters have dominated the sport, but it was not so long ago that the center controlled the game. It's been a show of tough defense, pinpoint shooting from deep, deft slashers, and overall supreme athleticism. 

It's hard to determine the best players in NBA finals throughout history since there are many differences in play styles and skill levels, talent, and coaching. It is possible to argue that players like Wilt Chamberlain, Michael Jordan, Kevin Durant, and Magic Johnson are great examples. However, the reasons for their greatness differ. For us to determine who was the greatest, it is essential to look at stats, accolades, the era at the time, and which players had strengths and weaknesses. 

 

1. Wilt Chamberlain

 

Even though Wilt began his career when defenders were smaller and the NBA did not have as many amazing athletes as it does today, he was nonetheless so amazing that he deserves to be considered among the most remarkable. During the seasons that Wilt spent as an NBA professional, his point totals in this span are considered among the best in NBA history

His most impressive scoring performance came in 1962 when he scored an NBA record 100 points in a game. He was also the only player to average 25 or more rebounds per game than Bill Russell, all while averaging 46.1 minutes per game, more than anyone else in NBA history. The one season in his 15-year career where Chamberlain did not make an All-Star team was 1969, when he was limited to 13 regular-season games due to an injury. However, after returning, his team won the NBA finals despite his absence.

2. Michael Jordan

For daring to suggest Jordan isn't one of the best players in NBA finals of all time, well, that just doesn't seem right. Jordan, the most famous player of all time? Undoubtedly. A legend? Absolutely. How does someone become a competitive maniac at the expense of ever having a normal human relationship? It is legendary that he sought excellence in all facets of his life, resulting in several championships, a dozen MVP awards, many All-Star appearances in each of the full seasons of his career, and the reputation of possibly being the best player in basketball history. His career scoring average of 29.9 points per game ranks him as the NBA's best. During his most productive years, he played alongside exceptionally talented contemporaries and was coached by Phil Jackson, who was a renowned strategist.  

3. LeBron James

Without a doubt, most fans believe James is among the best players in NBA finals. It is not humanly possible to do what James does. Even though he's much larger than most NFL players, he has the mobility of an NBA point guard. The fact that Sports Illustrated called him a Prodigy (as a teenager) only added to the intense pressure, but the goal he has attained has actually exceeded the lofty expectations set forth for him. 

Despite the impressive talents of earlier players, they did not have to deal with 21st-century media 24/7, a task that LeBron has accomplished effortlessly. James has averaged 26.9 points, 6.9 rebounds, and 7.4 steals per game since the publication of this list. He was doing so against high-achieving teams. At just 22 years old, some people overlooked the fact that, despite the Cleveland Cavaliers being outmatched by the Houston Rockets, he took them to the 2007 NBA finals almost single-handedly. In addition to that, he's won two championships with the Miami Heat. Over time, his game has improved to overcome the flaws criticized in the past because he pulls off feats that I have never seen before. It can't get any better than that, can it?

4. Magic Johnson

Johnson was one of the most charismatic players to play in the NBA, contributing greatly to the rise in league popularity in the 1980s. However, the fun-loving player was much more than just a charismatic figure. Johnson, who is 6'10" tall, bested the league's all-time assists-per-game average (10.9) and had an outstanding all-around game. Rookie in the 1980 NBA finals, he substituted for the injured Abdul-Jabbar to win the title for his team. It is impressive and noteworthy that he has battled HIV for over twenty years, helped de-stigmatize AIDS through his high-profile advocacy work, and started a second career as an entrepreneur who spearheads revitalization efforts in poverty-stricken areas. Yes, Magic Johnson is certainly one of the best players in NBA finals.

5. Stephen Curry

Stephen's exclusion from the MVP award this year could come to an end, and it's ridiculous to begin with. It was no longer possible to doubt Stephen's playoff prowess in 2022. In the postseason, the three-time champion should be commended for his outstanding performances over the years. During the final four games against Denver, he averaged 33 points per game, and against Dallas, he averaged 7.2 assists on 42% shooting from three-point range. If you subtract his shooting struggles against Memphis, he would have a legitimate claim to the top spot.

The longevity of Stephen's productivity and ability may have passed. Nevertheless, the 2022 version of Stephen is still in complete control of the game. It is the lowest turnover rate he has ever had during a postseason, and he is shooting 56.9% on drives to the rim. He seems to have adapted effortlessly to his 30s. His head coach and teammates are in sync with him as a talented quarterback and a phenomenal offensive player. The latest Golden State dynasty has seen Stephen curtail his recklessness. The possibility of him winning a title this month is very real.

6. Jimmy Butler

Even though Jimmy should have received the Larry Bird Trophy for the Eastern Conference finals MVP, he will receive the least coveted trophy of all in this list of the best players in NBA finals. A year later, in 2021, he put on another stunning playoff performance, leading an outmatched team to the championship. He scored more than 30 points six times against Boston in Games 2, 5, and 8. Is anyone willing to take a shot at Jimmy leading Miami back to the conference finals in 2023?

Whether his last-second three on Sunday night made the top spot, Miami's star deserves to be ranked No. 1. It is hard to swallow Jimmy's decision to shoot from three after further examination, even though we understand the impulse to live with whatever attempt he makes in the final seconds. During this series, Jimmy shot 6-for-22 from three, giving him a dismal 22.9% for the year. The number deteriorates even more if we sort by threes above the break. Jimmy is one of the most skilled players in the NBA at getting to the basket.

Conclusion

It is no secret that the NBA is filled with stars. Fans have discussed who are the best players in NBA finals since the beginning of the league. We can always debate who is the greatest by looking at Bill Russell, LeBron James, Stephen Curry, Michael Jordan, and the list goes on. Judging who is the greatest athlete of all time is very subjective. For example, players who are centers will be better rebounders than players who are point guards. This also can go the other way as well. Point guards will be better passers and average higher assists per game than a center. Rather than try to pick the best player of all time, it's better to pick the best player at their position.


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