2013 NBA Playoff Brackets: Power Ranking Best Possible Finals Matchups

Richard Langford@@noontide34Correspondent IApril 19, 2013

MIAMI, FL - JUNE 19:  Kevin Durant #35 of the Oklahoma City Thnder defends in the second half against LeBron James #6 of the Miami Heat in Game Four of the 2012 NBA Finals on June 19, 2012 at American Airlines Arena in Miami, Florida. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

The 2013 NBA playoffs feature a host of great potential matchups for the NBA Finals. 

For starters, we have a rematch of last year's Finals looming with the Heat and Thunder sitting as the top teams in their respective conferences, and it's hard to pack more star power onto a court than those two will bring. 

This is just one of several possible great matchups looming in these playoffs. Here is my Finals wishlist. 

*The complete bracket can be found at NBA.com

*All stats via Team Rankings


No. 3: Miami Heat vs. San Antonio Spurs

The aging Spurs have a long road ahead if they are going to make the Finals, but if they do, they provide a great matchup for the Heat. 

What I love about this matchup is the Heat's pressure defense against the excellent ball movement of the Spurs.

The Heat are great at pressuring the ball-handler and cutting off the passing lanes. They are third in the NBA in turnovers forced per possession, and they are third in points off of turnovers (h/t SportingCharts.com). 

The Heat offense is good enough without giving them freebies. 

Well, the Spurs' well-balanced offense leads the league in assists per possession, and it is second in assist-to-turnover ratio. 

As I mentioned, I'm not sure the Spurs can make it this far, but what a treat this matchup will be if they do. 



No. 2: New York Knicks vs. Denver Nuggets 

Okay, so this one is a bit of a long shot, but it's not unfathomable, and if it does happen, it will be great.

The Nuggets shipped Carmelo Anthony to New York after Anthony, as SI.com's Ian Thomsen says, "Anthony insisted on being moved to the New York market." 

Nuggets coach George Karl never spent any time lamenting the loss, and he's has not been shy in offering criticism of Anthony. 

Amazingly, this trade has worked out well for both teams, and this Finals matchup would certainly validate that. 

Anthony has been outstanding, and he's given the Knicks the star they've craved since Patrick Ewing left. 

Meanwhile, the Nuggets have completely remade themselves. In fact, Ty Lawson is the only Denver player remaining from Anthony's time in Denver.

The rest of the core of this team is largely a result of players connected to what the Nuggets received for Anthony. 

So this series would not only have the backdrop of 'Melo going the team he no longer wanted to play for, but a compete team without a truly dominant player against a team dominated by a superstar.


No. 1: Miami Heat vs. Oklahoma City Thunder

Kevin Durant vs. LeBron James, with a second Finals installment in this rivalry, the battle between these two tremendous superstars would be quickly climbing the ranks of the all-time best. 

LeBron James just finished a regular season for the ages. It is nearly impossible to argue that his 26.8 points, 7.3 assists and eight rebounds per game doesn't merit MVP honors. 

This amazing season has left Kevin Durant playing second fiddle despite his incredible year. 

However, Durant could erase that second-fiddle status by outplaying LeBron in the Finals. 

Of course, this matchup is about far more than these two players. As we mentioned above, Dwyane Wade's health could be a concern for the Heat, but let's assume he is healthy and we have two complete teams. 

If the Thunder want to force a different outcome than last year, they will have to have a more fluid offense. Too often, the Thunder offense is bogged down in the face of the Heat's pressure defense. 

However, with the three-point shooting of Kevin Martin and the improved mid-range jump shot of Serge Ibaka, the Thunder are better suited to space the floor. 

This matchup would feature the game's two best players and the regular season's two best teams. What's not to like about that?