The NBA Finals weren't supposed to look like this. They were supposed to open in downtown Los Angeles with Staples Center bathed in its favorite colors—purple and gold—and a crowd of 18,997 supporters hyped for the Lakers' return to basketball's biggest stage for the first time in a decade.
Instead, the Finals will tip from one of the forgettable arenas at ESPN's Wide World of Sports campus down in Lake Buena Vista, Florida with only a few hundred people on hand to witness it as we begin to put a cap on the most unique season in NBA history. These playoffs have been unpredictable, kind of like 2020 itself, and if you saw the Heat taking on the Lakers for the right to hoist the Larry O'Brien Trophy then I hope you cashed in a big ticket at your favorite sportsbook. Because the odds of these two meeting in the Finals were longer than Bam Adebayo's wingspan when the postseason tipped off in August.
That's just one wrinkle among the many surrounding these Finals. There are always a million storylines whenever you're talking about the NBA's signature event, but we whittled 'em down to the eight we felt were worth your while before Game 1 tips tonight at 9 p.m. ET on ABC. We touched on the obvious ones, and not-so-obvious ones, and of course threw in a prediction I'm sure many of you share. So read up and get ready for LeBron James and Jimmy Butler to do battle in a series we hope goes seven, but probably is over well before October 13, the last possible date of the 2019-20 NBA season.