5 big takeaways in the wake of the 2019 NBA Finals

Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images
Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images /
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Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images
Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images /

4. Injuries marred the 2019 NBA Finals

With that being said, while the Raptors should have zero asterisks by their championship, and while almost every single game made for fantastic television, there’s no question the 2019 NBA Finals were marred by injuries. The contests were back-and-forth, but it was hard to ignore how much of a bummer it was to be missing KD and Klay — especially from Game 5 onward.

Durant struggling to return from a calf injury was one thing, but watching him rupture his Achilles after 12 minutes of action in his return in Game 5 — a game in which the Warriors needed every single one of his 11 points — was absolutely devastating.

While narratives circulated about his resolve to return when his team needed him most, KD did just that — at great risk to himself and his livelihood as he approached free agency this summer — and was repaid with the worst-case scenario.

As if that injury (and the knowledge he’ll likely miss the entire 2019-20 campaign) wasn’t depressing enough, Klay Thompson tore his ACL in the middle of a monster 30-point performance in Game 6, which could sideline him until next February or March. Losing those two superstars in a span of four days overshadowed a moment that should’ve belonged to the Raptors.

In KD’s case, one of the greatest players of all time must now try to return from one of the most difficult injuries to recover from at age 30. He won’t be back until he’s 32. That’s a terribly daunting task, and this injury only validates KD’s decision to join the Warriors and win titles while he could. You never know what can happen.

For Klay, who missed Game 3 due to injury and returned triumphantly in Game 4 to play his heart out over the next three games, the Warriors and the NBA world at large were deprived of a vintage performance in the final game at Oracle Arena, and the potential for a riveting Game 7.

Every game in this series was entertaining and thrilling in some way, but looking back on this series, what will stand out most — outside of the city of Toronto — will be the way these Finals went out on an anticlimactic, devastating note. It was still fantastic basketball, but losing two of the game’s brightest stars to such crushing injuries is something we’ve never seen on this stage, and it will mar our lasting impression of the series, the 2019-20 season and possibly even what comes after that.