NBA Finals 2023: Who Will Win?

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The Larry O’Brien Championship Trophy is given to the winner of the NBA Finals.

The 2023 NBA postseason has been nothing short of exciting thus far. From eight-seeds beating one-seeds to star players posting historic numbers night in and night out, this year’s playoffs have been exceptionally thrilling and it’s looking like the 2023 NBA Finals will be a series you won’t want to miss.

The final four teams standing this postseason are, or were, the Denver Nuggets and the Los Angeles Lakers of the Western Conference, and the Boston Celtics and the Miami Heat of the Eastern Conference. Two of these teams will face off for the Larry O’Brien Championship Trophy beginning June 1st.

The Denver Nuggets finished on top of the Western Conference this year with a 53-29 regular season record. The best overall performer of the NBA playoffs this postseason has been two-time league MVP Nikola Jokic. The Nuggets’ star center is averaging 31 points per game on 55.9% shooting from the field, 13.5 rebounds, 10.1 assists, and is shooting 51.2% from beyond the arc. Nuggets’ Head Coach Michael Malone and his Denver squad beat the Minnesota Timberwolves 4-1 in the first round and eliminated the Phoenix Suns in six games in the second round. The Nuggets have beaten the Lakers, their Western Conference Finals opponent, and advanced to the 2023 NBA Finals, but this season was a wild ride for Los Angeles, to say the least.

The Lakers spent most of this season at the bottom of the Western Conference but ended up turning things around, making the play-in tournament, and finishing as the seven-seed. Already having exceeded expectations, LeBron James, a 20-year veteran and four-time league MVP, along with star big man Anthony Davis led this Los Angeles team all the way to the Western Conference Finals. The Lakers eliminated the two-seed Memphis Grizzlies in six games in the first round and beat the Golden State Warriors 4-2 as well in the second round. Arena was electrifying each and every night and Head Coach Darvin Ham had such admirable faith in his team all season. While the Lakers fell to the Nuggets and did not move on to the Finals, describing their 2022-23 season as entertaining would be an understatement.

Another conference finals team that experienced quite the turnaround this season would be the Miami Heat. Also spending most of the regular season at the bottom of their conference, Miami Head Coach Erik Spoelstra and team leaders Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo rallied the roster to not only make the play-in tournament and finish as the eight-seed in the Eastern Conference but go on to beat the one-seed Milwaukee Bucks in the first round and eliminate the New York Knicks in six games in the second round. “Playoff Jimmy Buckets” is averaging 31.1 points per game this postseason with a 52.7% field goal percentage, 6.6 rebounds, 5.4 assists, and is shooting 36.1% from the three-point line. The Heat will probably beat their Eastern Conference Finals opponent, the Boston Celtics, and head to the Finals, and while it’s been a “Cinderella story” for this Miami roster, the two-seed C’s have not been as lucky.

Even after finishing 57-25 in the regular season, the Boston Celtics have not had a smooth-sailing postseason whatsoever. Interim Head Coach Joe Mazzulla could not bring his team to win their first or second-round series in less than six and seven games. Boston barely beat the seven-seed Atlanta Hawks or the three-seed Philadelphia 76ers. While Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown have remained the leading scorers for the Celtics during the playoffs, the young superstar duo, as well as other Boston role players, have been painfully inconsistent. Tatum’s lack of scoring to start these high-pressure games and Brown’s inability to stay out of foul trouble at times have been considerably frustrating for the Celtics. There is little confidence in Boston to advance to the NBA Finals, but even if they did beat the Heat, who knows if this squad would be able to produce the consistency and discipline needed to succeed on the ultimate stage?

So, there were four. Then there will be two. Who will win the 2023 NBA Finals? Who will bring home a championship and have a parade inside their city?

Joel Chodoroff, a Bucks County teacher and long-time sports fan, distinctly remembers a particular NBA Finals match-up that has remained one of his favorites after all these years. In 2001, Chodoroff’s favorite player, Allen Iversen, led an underdog 76ers team up against what Chodoroff referred to as the Lakers “juggernaut” that was led by Shaq, Kobe, etc. Out of the last four teams remaining this postseason, the squads that have impressed Chodoroff the most have been the Lakers and the Heat. He did not think that the Lakers would be good enough or stay healthy enough to make a run at the playoffs. Chodoroff also felt the Heat were just as impressive as they scuffled through the regular season as well. He said bluntly, “If you look at the roster, it’s basically Jimmy Butler, Bam Adebayo, and a bunch of undrafted free agents and second-round picks.” When asked who he thought would advance to the NBA Finals, Chodoroff responded with the Nuggets and the Heat. As for who will take home the Larry O’Brien Championship Trophy, he did not have a definitive answer. Chodoroff said, “Denver is probably the better team…[but] looking at it right now, it’s tough to bet against the Heat. I would be shocked if it didn’t go to at least six [games].”

Nicholas Zoto, an avid watcher of NBA basketball, has been very surprised by the results coming out of the second round. Agreeing with Chodoroff on who has been their favorite player to watch this postseason, Zoto stated that “Jimmy deserves to be the Final’s MVP if they win.” Zoto was shocked when the Heat outplayed both the Bucks and the Knicks in the first and second rounds. He believes that “Jimmy has not even peaked yet at his potential and will keep improving whether or not they go and win or lose in the finals.” While he loves watching the Miami Heat and “Himmy Butler,” he did wish that the Lakers could’ve won the Finals. “Lebron James is the G.O.A.T., and if he wins the Finals, he should not be debated with Michael Jordan. Anthony Davis is a top three center in the league right now, and if Austin Reaves and Rui Hachimura stepped up as they had been, they could have maybe forced a Game Six or Seven against the one-seed Denver Nuggets.” Zoto believed that the Finals would be between the Heat and the Lakers and the Lakers would win in six.

The writers, Riley Chodoroff and Ryan Firmstone believe that the Finals of the 2023 NBA season will be between the Miami Heat and the Denver Nuggets. They believe the Western Conference Finals MVP, Nikola Jokic, will have at least two triple-doubles throughout the series, while Jimmy Butler will also put up a few 30-point games. Jamal Murray will have one or two 30-point games, and maybe even drop 40. Jokic may average eight to nine rebounds. Chodoroff and Firmstone believe that the Denver Nuggets will win the 2023 NBA Finals in Game Six.

Regardless of who takes home the Larry O’Brien Championship Trophy this year, the 2023 postseason has been one for the books and this year’s Finals will be a series to remember! The Nuggets, the Heat, or maybe even the Celtics…who will win?