There were only 28 seconds left in Game 6 of the 2013 NBA Finals between the San Antonio Spurs and Miami Heat. The Spurs led by 5, and the game looked just about wrapped up. The Spurs were going to win the championship. Alas, it was not in the cards. The Heat got a couple more points, and a typical last second Ray Allen three pointer from the corner sent the game to overtime. There was no coming back for the Spurs after that. The Heat went on to win both Games 6 and 7 as well as their second championship in two years. The 2014 Finals were a much different story. The story was that of a great team versus great talent. Of great coaching versus elite coaching.
Tim Duncan and Gregg Popovich won their fifth championship together, and speculation on both player and coach's careers arose with confetti still in the air. Popovich has always said that he'd retire when Duncan does, and Tim Duncan has a player option for the 2014-2015 season. He has until June 24th to notify the Spurs that he intends to pick up that option, so we'll know more in the next few days. While Duncan has remained noncommittal on the subject, the greatest coach in the league indicated that he'd still like to continue coaching next year.
Gregg Popovich is hands down the best coach currently coaching in the NBA, and is a coach that many CoachUp basketball coaches model their styles after. His five championships in 15 years with the Spurs didn't come easy. That's an incredible stat to have in today's NBA where players and coaches jump around from team to team every year. For Popovich to continue coaching in the league next year would be a win for all basketball fans.
Assuming that the greatest power forward of all time and one of the best coaches return to the Spurs next year, the team is in great shape to make another run. Danny Green has clearly grown as a player and is a legitimate 3 point threat. NBA Finals MVP Kawhi Leonard is only 22 and is a star in the making. For several bursts throughout the Finals, Kawhi was outplaying his counterpart on the Heat, the best player in the world. Have you heard Kawhi's new nickname? Kingslayer.
Which takes us to what LeBron's plans for the 2014-2015 season are. He has an option for next season. Chances are that he picks it up, but that's less certain than you might think. Rumors of a Carmelo Anthony and LeBron pairing are swirling about, and every team in the league would sign LeBron if they had the chance. He has options. LeBron might be taking a hard look at this season with the Heat; a season in which an aging Dwyane Wade played 54 games and Chris Bosh was unreliable at best. Not exactly the "Big 3" LeBron envisioned when he predicted winning more than seven championships with the Heat.
The 2014 NBA Finals were a redemption story for the San Antonio Spurs. If at the start of the Finals anyone had told you the Spurs would beat the Heat in five games, you wouldn't have believed them. Not only did they win in five games, they did so emphatically by routing the Heat in each of their four wins. Expectations for the Heat may have been too great due to the weakness of the Eastern Conference and the strength of the Western Conference. With the quality of this year's draft class and multiple key players who could potentially be moving to different teams, who knows what next year's Finals could look like?