2023 NBA Finals: 4 Big questions that will determine the Finals winner

Denver Nuggets trio (Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports)
Denver Nuggets trio (Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports) /
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Four big questions that will likely end up determining the NBA Finals winner between the Miami Heat and Denver Nuggets. 

With a highly anticipated NBA Finals matchup between the Miami Heat and Denver Nuggets set to get underway, there are many questions that will end up determining this year’s winner. Ahead of Game 1, we explore four of the biggest.

Will Bam Adebayo Be Able To Contain Nikola Jokic?

This will be a very important matchup for Erik Spoelstra to keep his eyes on. Compared to the Nuggets, the Heat are undersized and if Jokic gets Adebayo in foul trouble, it could affect their ability to protect the paint as the Heat depend on Adebayo to keep opposing teams from attacking and getting in the lane.

The Heat did play with several undersized lineups that happened to be successful in the ECF but the Nuggets have a cerebral coach in Mike Malone who excels at adjusting on the fly and keeping his players focused during critical moments.

It’s imperative that Adebayo avoids spending large amounts of time on the bench and if the numbers say anything about this matchup it’s that it’s been one-sided. According to NBA.com Jokic is averaging 23.8 points, 13.5 rebounds, and 9.5 assists per game against Adebayo in their last four games against each other.

Jokic is making 63 percent of his shots when Adebayo is the primary defender so Spoelstra may want to experiment with a rotating zone or maybe even a box-and-one and just hope the Heat defenders will be able to close out on the Nuggets shooters before they can get a decent shot off.

Even though Adebayo is a great defender and a member of the NBA All-Defense Team, he is in for a battle trying to guard the 2-time MVP. Jokic is going to dominate in these NBA Finals just like he dominated Anthony Davis, Karl Anthony Towns, Rudy Gobert, and Deandre Ayton.

Now, Jokic enters the Finals going into a series where the player that’s guarding him will be inferior at protecting the paint than Davis.