First Time for Everything: Multiple Hoosiers in the NBA Finals for the First Time in IU History

IU News Multiple Hoosiers in NBA Finals First Time
Credit: Sam Navarro-USA TODAY Sports

This week, the NBA Finals will commence in an unprecedented scenario for the Indiana Hoosiers as three of their former players – Thomas Bryant, Cody Zeller, and Victor Oladipo – prepare to compete on behalf of the Denver Nuggets and the Miami Heat​. This marks a notable moment in Hoosiers history, as it’s the first time multiple former IU players have reached the Finals in the same year.

Which Hoosiers Are Going To Play in the Finals?

While Bryant and Oladipo are unlikely to contribute on the court due to their respective circumstances, Zeller, the late-season addition for the Heat, is the sole Hoosier expected to play a part in this championship pursuit.

Bryant, who was traded from the Los Angeles Lakers to Denver prior to the trade deadline, has not played in the playoffs thus far.

Oladipo, meanwhile, is sidelined following a torn patellar tendon in his left knee, sustained in late April.

Zeller, the former Indiana center who has served as a backup big man for the Heat, is set to be the lone Hoosier on the court. His performances in the Eastern Conference Finals, albeit in limited minutes, have been consistent with his regular season outputs, with averages of 2.6 points and 2.7 rebounds per game.

Win-Win for Hoosiers

A win for either team would mean a return of an IU player to an NBA championship roster, an occurrence last seen in 2019 with OG Anunoby of the Toronto Raptors, who, despite not seeing court time during the finals, was a part of the victorious roster. The first game of the Finals is set to tip off Thursday at 8 p.m. Eastern in Denver.

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