NBA commissioner Adam Silver thinks that, hey, the league may becoming less predictable. And the fact the Suns and Bucks are playing in the NBA Finals unquestionably supports that idea.
“I see this as, hopefully, the end of a transition for the league,” Silver told reporters. “Not just post-COVID, but just by virtue of the teams that we saw in the conference finals, a real transition in terms of the league of the up-and-coming new stars, up-and-coming franchises, more parity throughout the league.”
The Suns haven’t appeared in the Finals since 1993; the Bucks not since 1974. But that newness goes back to previous series, as the Hawks hadn’t won a conference finals game since before moving to Atlanta for the 1968-69 season. Meanwhile, the Clippers have ever appeared in the Finals.
“Again, it wouldn’t be true to the data to make too large a point around one season, particularly one that may have been — that was — so aberrational,” Silver said. “But I at least say that it looks like a very positive sign in terms of the competition we’re seeing around the league.”
While some of the early favorites — such as the Lakers and Nets — suffered some injuries to key players, the Suns and Bucks have, too. Suns point guard Chris Paul missed time with a shoulder injury, and Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo was out two games with a hyperextended knee, before returning for Game 1 of the Finals. The Bucks have also been missing starting point guard Donte DiVincenzo (foot) since the first round.
So the Bucks and Suns may not be traditional powers, or teams that anyone would have picked to be here. But as Silver indicated, that should only be considered a good thing for the NBA.