LeBron James has one of the most impressive playoff resumes in NBA history, but there’s a different player in the 2020 NBA Finals who will be competing in his sixth straight Finals series.
Andre Iguodala, who spent the last five years with the Golden State Warriors, joined the Miami Heat in the middle of the season, and his veteran leadership helped lead them to an NBA Finals appearance. Iguodala faced off against James in four of those five series’, and he’ll get another crack at him this year.
LeBron James has played in nine of the last 10 NBA Finals
Death, taxes, and LeBron James making the NBA Finals every season. There’s not much you can count on in sports, but James leading his team to the championship series has been as much of a guarantee as you can find.
James has led three different franchises to NBA Finals appearances over the last 10 years. He’s played in the Finals in nine of those seasons, and the only one he missed was in 2019 when he got hurt and missed 27 games for the Lakers.
In his second season with the Lakers, James led LA to the No. 1 seed in the Western Conference. They breezed through the West without losing more than one game in any playoff series, and now they’ll face the surprising Heat in the 2020 Finals.
James’ nine NBA Finals appearances in the last 10 years is undoubtedly impressive, but his opponent on the other bench has an impressive streak of his own.
Andre Iguodala is playing in his sixth straight NBA Finals
Iguodala will never get the respect James has from the basketball community, but all the dude does is win. ‘Iggy’ went to five NBA Finals in a row with the Warriors, and he’ll play in his sixth straight in 2020 now with the Heat.
Iguodala never averaged more than 9.3 points per game in six years with the Warriors. He was never one to light up the stat sheet in any way, but his veteran leadership and one-on-one defense were crucial to Golden State’s playoff success, especially against James.
In the 2015 Finals, Iguodala won the series MVP for his defense on James and clutch scoring down the stretch. Iguodala scored 16.3 points per game on 52.1% shooting in the series. He also scored 25 points in the series-clinching win in Game 6 while holding James to 39.4% shooting.
Over his five straight NBA Finals appearances, Iguodala won three titles with the Warriors.
Iguodala can win his fourth NBA title if the Heat beat the Lakers
In the history of the NBA, only 37 players have won four or more titles in their careers. Of that group, 23 of them have been inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.
Iguodala has a chance to join that elusive club if the Heat is able to upset James and the Lakers in the 2020 NBA Finals. He’s already beat James head-to-head three times, and Iguodala can now pass him in rings with another win this year.
All stats courtesy of Basketball Reference