NBA Championship brings surprises

Aaron Parker and Aaron Parker

The San Antonio Spurs took down the defending Miami Heat champions on Sunday in a dominant 104-87 game five win, earning them their fifth NBA title. The win comes just a year after losing a grueling seven-game finals series to the same team.

What comes as a surprise to fans and league associates isn’t necessarily that they actually won; it is how they went about doing it. Alongside LeBron James, the Heat assembled what was commonly believed to be one of the most elite teams ever assembled and yet they still lost by an average margin of 18 points to the oldest team in the NBA.

What is perhaps even more surprising is what was exposed in the Miami makeup. Despite James averaging 28 points in the series, the Heat offense failed to break 100 points in all five games while San Antonio broke triple digits in all but one game. Furthermore, the defense of the south beach team was exposed by San Antonio in what were two of the best shooting games in NBA finals history. Tony Parker and the Spurs shot 57 percent and 59 percent in games three and four respectively, along with nine three-pointers made in each of the games.

The performance of point-forward Kawhi Leonard, without a doubt, sealed the deal for the San Antonio club. If you would have told me that Leonard would be the finals MVP two weeks ago, I would have looked at you like you were crazy. Leonard, who is outside of the Spurs top three go-to players, was only seven years old when his all-star teammate Tim Duncan won his first NBA title in 1999. He hasn’t even made an all-star game yet and the third-year athlete was able to average 17.8 points shooting 61 percent—all while being guarded by LeBron James. Winning the Finals MVP award makes him the third-youngest player to do so behind hall-of-famer Magic Johnson, who won it in 1980 and 1982.

The playing out of the series leaves a number of open-ended questions for both teams. San Antonio must now think about the possibility of Duncan’s retirement as well as Leonard’s role moving forward.

Miami management must not only prepare for Dwayne Wade’s declining health or departure, but also for James’ possible decision to make a run with another team. If he does leave, this exposing performance leaves a massive hole in talent. Though the rumor mill has been buzzing with talk of the acquisition of Carmelo Anthony, the chances are extremely slim. These next few months will be crucial for both basketball clubs.