Six NBA Stars That Led Their Team to the Finals

Battling your way through to the NBA Finals is what every NBA team and player hopes to achieve at the start of every season. It is a gruesome journey, filled with ups and downs as only two franchises can manage to play off in the Finals but only one Franchise will be crowned as the NBA Champions. In the history of the NBA Finals, only a handful of players have showcased their prowess, ability, and individual brilliance to elevate their teams to the highest level and grandest stage of all – the NBA Finals. 

Today we will highlight these exceptional individual talents who not only dominated in points, but also most rebounds won while providing the most assists to their teammates. These players almost single-handedly are at the forefront of guiding their teams to the pinnacle of basketball success. Let’s look at the extraordinary performances of Nikola Jokic, LeBron James, Jayson Tatum, Luka Doncic, Tim Duncan, and Jason Kidd and the important roles they played in guiding their teams into the Finals.

Six NBA Stars That Led Their Team to the Finals

Nikola Jokic – 2023

The six feet 11 inches center nicknamed the “Joker”, Nikola Jokic’s magic on the court spearheaded the Denver Nuggets to the NBA Finals of 2023. His ability with the ball was unmatched, and coupled with his unparalleled passing vision, dominant rebounding, and scoring prowess, Jokic epitomized the greatest players of the game. Coming from a center position his ability to orchestrate the offense while simultaneously crashing the boards and shooting at will showcased his unique skill set. He managed to garner an average of 24.5 points, 11 rebounds, and 9.8 assists in 69 games of the 22-23 season. This extraordinary performance earned him his first NBA Championship, Final MVP, and his fifth call to the all-star games.

LeBron James – 2012, 2016

Hailed as the King of the NBA, LeBron James has managed to surpass all fans’ expectations leaving a permanent mark on his performance and achievements with different franchises throughout his career. Appearing in eight consecutive finals from 2011 to 2018 and winning four NBA Championships speaks volumes about the one-of-a-kind player he truly is. In the Finals appearances in 2012 and 2015, LeBron dominated every aspect of the game in 2012, leading his teams in averaging 27.1 points, winning 7.9 rebounds, and providing 6.2 assists in 62 games. He was selected to play in his eighth All-Star games. He won his third  MVP award, his first Finals MVP award, and his first NBA championship. This was the beginning of his legacy as one of the greatest players in basketball history. In 2015, he managed 25.3 points, 7.4 rebounds and 6.8 assists in 76 games in 2015-16. He was selected to play in his twelfth All-Star games. He won his third Finals MVP award and his third NBA championship.

Jayson Tatum – 2024

Jayson Tatum emerged as a rising star for the Boston Celtics, his achievements all through the season have guided the Celtics to the NBA Finals in 2024. Tatum abilities have led his team to new heights this season managing to win 64 games, a league achievement. Known for his silky smooth scoring, tenacious rebounding, and playmaking ability, this year he has managed to average 26.9 points, 8.1 rebounds won and 4.9 assists propelling his team to the finals. Having won the Eastern Conference MVP in 2022, Tatum is on the right track to winning his first Final MVP showcasing maturity beyond his years.

Luka Doncic – 2024

Luka Doncic’s spectacular form and rise to superstardom have finally come to a climax in a historic Finals appearance for the Dallas Mavericks in 2024. Nicknamed “Luka Magic” Doncic is known for his magical moves and unmatched Eagles’ vision with scoring prowess and relentless effort of winning rebounds, Doncic’s abilities have propelled the Mavericks to new heights. This season his contributions and ability to influence games with his scoring or set up his teammates with pinpoint passes made him a nightmare for opposing defenses. He currently averaged 33.9 points, 9.8 assists, and 9.2 rebounds in 70 games this season. If the Mavericks manage to get the better of the Celtics winning the 2024 NBA Finals, Donic will surely go ahead to win the Final MVP 

Tim Duncan – 2003

Tim Duncan nicknamed the “Big Fundamental,” is widely considered one of the greatest power forwards to ever play the sport. This was showcased in his brilliant performance in leading the San Antonio Spurs to the NBA Finals in 2003. Duncan, renowned for his flawless footwork, fast dribbles, defensive prowess, and unselfish play, Duncan illustrates excellence in the power forward position. During the 2003 campaign, Duncan averaged 23.3 points, 12.9 rebounds and 3.9 assists in 81 games in 2002-03. He was selected to play in his fifth All-Star games. He won his second MVP award, his second Finals MVP award, and his second NBA championship.

Jason Kidd – 2002

Jason Kidd led the Brooklyn Nets‘ in a masterfully orchestrated charm offensive propelling them to the NBA Finals in 2002. A true maestro with the ball, Kidd’s passing vision, defensive capabilities, and unselfish play elevated him to the highest levels. Leading his team in points, rebounds, and assists, Kidd epitomized the true essence of a floor general, leaving an indelible mark on the Nets’ storied journey to the Finals. Although he didn’t win the Championship his incredible display won him a place in his fifth all-star games.

In conclusion, reaching the much coveted NBA finals is not an easy task a team must have outlier players who can court marshal their teams to win games by providing crucial points, fighting, and winning rebounds while at the same time providing crucial assists to their teammates. these six NBA legendary players have proven their contributions not only elevated their respective teams but also confirmed their legacies as some of the greatest players to grace the court. 

Between Tatum and Doncic who do you think will marshal his teammates in winning the 2024 NBA Finals?

Main Image: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

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