Another thrilling NBA season is almost over, with only the NBA Finals left to play. The Golden State Warriors, entering their sixth Finals appearance in eight seasons, take on the Boston Celtics in a best-of-seven clash to determine which team gets to call themselves basketball’s champions for the following year. The rosters of both teams are packed with talented players, some of whom have enjoyed remarkable seasons on the court. It was challenging to select only three players to watch during the NBA Finals, but here they are.
Jordan Poole – Golden State Warriors
Jordan “Poole Party” Poole is only 22 years old, is at the start of his professional basketball career and has the world at his feet, but he will have a significant role to play when the Golden State Warriors and Boston Celtics take to the court. Warriors fans love the exciting, up-and-coming shooting guard but so do those who love betting on sports in Wisconsin because Poole hails from Milwaukee.
Poole played college basketball for Michigan from 2017 until 2019 before the Golden State Warriors selected him as the 28th overall pick in the 2019 NBA Draft. Some pundits criticized Poole for lack of polish when he first entered the NBA, but he has developed into a dynamic and prolific finisher at the rim.
He goes into the NBA Finals having put up his best numbers since turning pro. Poole made 3.4 rebounds, 4.0 assists, and 18.5 points per game across 76 games (51 starts). He led the league in free throws with a .925 success rate.
Poole shone in the opening two 2022 NBA playoff games against the Denver Nuggets, scoring 30 points in a 123-107 victory in Game 1 and another 29 points plus eight assists in Game 2. Form is everything going into these big games, and Poole is certainly in hot form.
Stephen Curry – Golden State Warriors
No list of players to watch would be worth anything without mentioning Stephen Curry. The eight-time NBA All-Star, three-time NBA champion, and two-time NBA Most Valuable Player is one of the greatest shooters basketball has ever seen.
However, Curry is more than a shooter because he has everything you could desire from a point guard and has a talismanic quality for his teammates. It is not a coincidence that the Warriors finished rock bottom of the league in the 2019-20 season when injuries limited Curry to only five appearances; he is that important to GSW.
During the Warriors’ charge to the Finals, Curry has been fantastic, playing all 16 games, averaging 25.9 points, 4.9 rebounds, 1.1 steals, and 6.2 assists. You stop Curry, and you severely limit the Warriors. The problem is you simply cannot stop Curry!
Jaylen Brown – Boston Celtics
Jaylen Brown was a player tipped to rise to the very top when he was at Wheeler High School and later playing college basketball for the California Golden Bears. ESPN graded Brown 96/100, leading to the Boston Celtic selecting him as the third overall pick in the 106 NBA Draft. Only Ben Simmons and Brandon Ingram went before Brown, which is not bad company to keep.
Brown’s form was dazzling in 2020-21, and it was no surprise when he became an NBA All-Star for the first time. He continued that form into this season, too, averaging 23.6 points, 6.1 rebounds, 1.1 steals, and 3.5 assists per game during the regular season.
The 25-year-old from Atlanta, Georgia, is highly intelligent off the court, leading to some people claiming Brown is too smart to play in the NBA. That intelligence follows him onto the court when his quick thinking has got the Celtics out of some tricky situations on more than one occasion. Brown has shown he can turn it on during big games, and games do not come much bigger than the NBA Finals.