In terms of worldwide recognition pertaining to the NBA, the first names that come to mind are Nike and the Jordan Brand. Since the days of Michael Jordan dominating the world and LeBron James eventually entering the NBA with the largest expectations of all time, no shoe and clothing brand has come close to being as popular as Nike and Jordan over the past few decades. Of course, the current ambassadors for both companies are incredibly talented and the faces of the league at this moment in time.
For Team Nike, LeBron James is obviously the face and has been since he was a young man in the league. The King, without any faults or flaws off the court, is arguably the greatest brand ambassador in NBA history. No wonder he has been reported to be worth a trillion dollars, an alarmingly great achievement. Other stars on Team Nike include 4-time scoring champion Kevin Durant, two-time MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo, 2016 NBA champion Kyrie Irving, and 7-time All-Star Paul George. Clearly, Nike knows how to pick its ambassadors, and this lineup would form an excellent team on a basketball court.
Meanwhile, the Jordan brand is clearly named after the greatest player of all time, Michael Jordan. But current ambassadors are trying to figure out their own legacies, as Luka Doncic and Zion Williamson are the biggest names with the biggest futures. Luka and Zion are the two players expected to take the torch from LeBron James as the face of the league over the next few years, and some other names accompany them. Future Hall of Famer Chris Paul is also included, along with All-Stars Jayson Tatum and Bradley Beal. This is another superteam that would be exciting to watch on the court.
Who would win a best-of-7 series between Team Nike and Team Jordan? Assuming these 5 players on each side compete against each other, an interesting debate could ensue as to which side will gain the edge. It won’t be easy for either side to win, but there could only be one winner. Here is how this exciting series would play out.
Kyrie Irving vs. Chris Paul
This matchup is hotly contested and one of the most unstable back-and-forth situations in the series. Irving will have zero problems scoring on Chris Paul, a player who is an elite defender but won’t be able to shut down the talented offensive star. Irving holds career averages of 23.1 PPG and possesses the best ball-handling abilities that we have ever seen, along with natural clutch scoring instincts.
Chris Paul is not the scorer that Irving is, but he is a more efficient shooter and playmaker. Paul will play an entirely different role from Irving and will be tasked with feeding his star teammates in their favorite spots. However, when Paul is open, it is an automatic bucket. These stars go about impacting the game in different ways, but their overall impact is almost equal.
Paul George vs. Bradley Beal
George and Beal bring a ton of scoring and athleticism to the table as players who love attacking the rim and also forcing the action from the perimeter. George is one of the best two-way players in the league, standing at 6’8” and averaging 20.4 PPG over his future Hall of Fame career. George is also one of the best defenders on Team Nike and will focus his efforts on containing the opposing stars and running on the break.
For Team Jordan, Beal is a nice talent at 6’4” with incredible scoring skills. The shooting guard can create his own offense anytime he wants and is also capable of spotting up for shots. He has no weakness on offense and will put a ton of pressure on George all series long. However, Beal is not the defender that George is and will concede buckets against him without a doubt.
Kevin Durant vs. Luka Doncic
One of the most highly anticipated matchups is between Kevin Durant and Luka Doncic. Both players are recognized as two of the most talented players in their generation, and the two stars will bring their elite offensive skillsets to the series. Durant and Luka are two different players, but their impact will come in a major way. The former will be his usual self when he attacks the basket, spots up for shots, and breaks defenders’ ankles. No doubt, Kevin Durant is the biggest threat for Team Jordan to worry about.
Luka Doncic will be one of the go-to scorers and playmakers for his team and will relish the opportunity to face a one-of-a-kind athlete in Kevin Durant. Luka will try, for the most part, to get Kyrie Irving to defend him in the post and dominate with his fadeaway or low-post skills. Luka will also try to go after Durant on both ends of the floor, creating a memorable series matchup.
LeBron James vs. Jayson Tatum
In another highly anticipated matchup, LeBron James and Jayson Tatum will go to battle as two of the most dominant forwards in the NBA today. LeBron is the most talented forward with rare guard-like skills in a power forward’s body, while he also plays with raw passion and aggression. Not to mention, The King is the smartest player in the series and will make his superstar teammates even better on the court. In many ways, LeBron will have the biggest impact in the series.
Meanwhile, during the entire series, Tatum will try to outscore LeBron, and his three-point shot will force James to venture to the perimeter very often. A great scorer, Tatum will make things very uncomfortable for The King, who will not be as efficient as he normally is. Tatum will also form a nice duo with Zion Williamson, and his floor-spacing as a power forward will be a primary reason his team will be a force when the game gets tight.
Giannis Antetokounmpo vs. Zion Williamson
Giannis Antetokounmpo is easily one of the best power forwards of his time, but he will start at center, and he will manage to put up video game numbers in this series. Giannis will make Zion very uncomfortable on defense because his athleticism and clever dribble moves will force the big man to focus on defense for most of the series. Antetokounmpo is also extremely unselfish and will make his teammates better, along with benefitting from the play of LeBron James, among others.
Zion Williamson is not the player that Giannis is just yet, but he is always a threat. Williamson will showcase once again why he is one of the most dominant big men in the game today and will have to use his body to handle The Greek Freak. His partnership with Jayson Tatum will also be difficult to handle because they can go inside and outside. No doubt, this matchup will be very entertaining.
Team Nike Advantages
Team Nike is streamlined to allow its stars to be comfortable in their positions for the majority of the time. In terms of balance, Team Nike is perfect in terms of pace and space. Kyrie is one of the best ball-handlers we have ever seen and can take any of the opposing guards off the dribble. Similarly, Durant and Giannis are masters in one-on-one situations, while they can rely on Paul George to go one-on-one as well. Team Nike’s lineup is great on the break with go-to scorers, which will put a ton of pressure on Team Jordan to be uncomfortable on defense.
Team Nike also has LeBron James. Chris Paul is a master playmaker and will impact the game with his passing, but LeBron James will be the perfect counterweight as a bigger and more impactful superstar than the point guard. LeBron is the best player on his team, and when surrounded by superstar offensive players, he will have an enormous impact on the series. With LeBron controlling the tempo and drawing plays for his clutch scorers, Team Nike has a perfect balance.
Team Jordan Advantages
Team Jordan has Hall of Fame talent on the floor, but their main advantage comes in their shooting ability. All five players can nail outside jumpers and do not sacrifice the lack of spacing that Giannis (and sometimes James) tend to have. This type of shooting ability is something Team Nike does not have as much because Giannis cannot shoot like Zion while the rest of the lineup has offensive inclinations.
With a veteran playmaker in Chris Paul and a talented passer in Luka Doncic on the floor, the game opens up for the athletic Jayson Tatum and Zion Williamson and the sharpshooting of Bradley Beal. CP3 is a master playmaker who will feed the scorers in their spots and is the most efficient shooter in the series. Team Jordan also has Zion to counter the size of Giannis, which would be a great thing because The Greek Freak can be difficult to stop at times.
Who Wins In A Best-of-7 Series?
A Best-Of-7 Series is determined by which team has the most talented players but also by which team makes the most adjustments over the span of 7 games. In this case, the series will only last 5 games.
In this series, the main superstars will dictate the outcome. Team Nike has the best duo on the floor because LeBron James and Kevin Durant are an unstoppable duo on offense. James and Durant will be the main forces early on in the series, as Team Nike grabs a 2-0 series lead. None of Team Jordan’s wing players will be able to handle the scoring, with the threats of Team Nike’s stars always looming.
Game 1 ends 105-96 thanks to James and Durant combining for 50 points. They simply dictate the game entirely and get free reign on offense as they shoot 47% from the field, including 35% from three and 80% from the free-throw line. Team Jordan does not have the firepower that James and Durant brought and has to make adjustments for Game 2. Unfortunately, that does not happen because Team Nike finds other stars to chip in. Giannis has a monster game with 27 points and 15 rebounds, and George and Irving combine to nail 7 three-pointers. Game 2 is another blowout, as James and Durant combine for 51 points. The score ends 114-100.
As great teams with great players do, Team Jordan finally makes adjustments. Luka Doncic and Chris Paul start dominating the pace, something they let LeBron James get away with in Games 1 and 2. With the playmakers pulling the strings and his clutch stars showing up, Team Jordan comes back to earn a critical victory. Zion does a fantastic job bothering Giannis just enough while Beal proves he is a clutch player by nailing a go-ahead three-pointer with 6 seconds left to give his side a 5-point lead and eventually the victory. But that celebration would be very short-lived.
In Game 4, it was Team Nike’s time to hit the big shot. The game is tight most of the time, and Kyrie Irving cannot nail a perimeter jumper to win the game in regulation. But the overtime game comes down with Paul George going one-on-one with Bradley Beal before he finds Kyrie Irving, who nails a patented stepback jumper to win the game with 0.4 seconds remaining. That shot will prove to be critical because Team Nike put forth a near-perfect performance in Game 5, despite a monster 40-point performance by Jayson Tatum. Game 4 ends with LeBron earning a triple-double (24 points, 11 rebounds, 11 assists) and Kevin Durant scoring 34 points. Giannis also chips in a double-double with 19 points and 18 rebounds.
Game 5 starts out as a tight one in the first quarter, with Team Nike fighting with their backs against the wall with Tatum scoring 13 in the period. The 2nd quarter sees Team Nike hold a 6-point lead thanks to a terrific shooting performance by Paul George (4 three-pointers) and a monster quarter by Giannis (10 points, 4 rebounds, 3 assists). But in the second half, Team Nike played a perfect game. They shoot 50% from the field, including 40% from three, and Giannis wins the matchup against Zion. Kevin Durant is the star offensively, matching Tatum with his own 40-point performance. He benefits from the greatness of his teammates and has excellent efficiency to lead his side to a Game 5 victory.
Final Result: Team Nike vs. Team Jordan 4-1
Finals MVP: Kevin Durant
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