In an era of superteams, two organically built groups are set to face on the NBA's brightest stage.
“Traditionally, this is how it’s supposed to work in the NBA,” Steve Kerr said ahead of Game 1. “If you look over the years, you grow a team through the Draft, you take your lumps through the playoffs, you climb up and then you get to the Finals. Our team was built somewhat the same way. … I think that’s good for the sport.”
The Celtics build their core during a four-year span -- 2014-2017 -- by drafting Marcus Smart, Jaylen Brown, and Jayson Tatum. By then, the Warriors' homegrown core of Steph Curry, Klay Thompson, and Draymond Green had already engraved their names in basketball immortality.
Tonight, they'll be making their sixth finals trip in the last eight years, looking to bring home the fourth championship trophy over the span. But in no way does their experience guarantee success.
The Warriors players have a combined 123 Finals appearances. The Celtics have none. But what Boston has is a hungry, well-put-together, and well-coached group led by Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown. How they match up against the Warriors duo of Steph and Klay might be the thing that decides this series.
And judging by our NBA 2k22 simulation, it's way too early to write the Celtics off.
The 2022 NBA Finals might come down to which team has a better superstar duo. And despite their experience, we're not so sure it's the Warriors.