Jun. 03, 2017
Cavaliers v. Warriors III: 3 X Factors No One is Talking About
After the formalities of the regular season and after the formalities of the conference playoffs, we are left with two behemoths on a collision course for our own entertainment. June 1st will be the 18th time they have squared off since Lebron has returned to Cleveland yet something is different this year. We are bound to witness the first trilogy in the history of the NBA, Lebron James (and James Jones) are the only non-Celtic players to advance to 7 straight NBA Finals, and what has played a key role in these matchups in the past is virtually non-existent. Injuries. We are witnessing greatness from 7 future Hall of Famers. Even with the star power in this year's Finals, role players can change the outcome of a whole series.
1. Patrick McCaw/Ian Clarke: They both play the same role by giving Klay Thompson and Stephen Curry their rest with 15-20 minutes per game. Mike Brown will try to use McCaw's length & Clarke's off-the-ball ability to catch the Cavaliers' defense off guard. Clarke has had more experience these playoffs with the starting lineup as opposed to the bench. It will be interesting to see which platoon Clarke will play with in this series.
2. Deron Williams: No, he's not an All-Star point guard trying to lead his team to the promise land anymore. He has accepted a role within the Cavs' organization in which he feels comfortable. He provides the ability to facilitate the offense with Kyrie on the bench, and hit three's when open. Yet, that's not the most important tool he provides. His length at the guard position puts a knife in the chest of the Warriors' bench production, Shaun Livingston's isolation in the post.
3. David West: West could get his first ring if he can produce 5 assists in 10-15 minutes like he did against the Spurs twice. Unlike the Cavaliers, they do not have a facilitating point guard off the bench. David West happens to be the "point" forward with the best passing ability, off the bench. I guess Kevin Durant isn't the only ring chaser on the Warriors.