The Miami Heat and San Antonio Spurs are all set to square off in an NBA Finals matchup that, somehow, already feels historically significant.
We're dealing with two teams here, but there's also a sense that two eras are about to go to war. LeBron James is a transcendent superstar at the peak of his powers, and a third straight ring would immediately put him on the short list of the game's greatest players—with plenty of career still to go, by the way.
Tim Duncan is already among the NBA's best, and he's looking to put a capstone on one of the most remarkable runs of sustained success in professional sports history.
Considering everything at stake, the 2014 Finals have a great chance to rank as one of the most compelling series ever.
For context, let's check out the 15 best Finals series we've seen to this point.
First of all, 15 may seem like a lot, especially since we've only seen 66 Finals since the championship round was created in 1947. But more than half of the NBA gets into the playoffs, so there's something of a precedent for inclusiveness in the league's belief system.
In ranking these series, a Game 7 certainly helps because, obviously, it adds to the drama. And though we're not focusing on individual performances so much as the overall quality of the series itself, it certainly won't hurt if a particular one-on-one clash, breakout effort or signature moment lends significance to the bigger picture.
Ultimately, we're out to find the best NBA Finals there have ever been.
And it's a good thing we're getting our ducks in a row now, because there's a strong possibility the 2014 edition will reshuffle things considerably.
All statistics courtesy of Basketball-Reference.com.