Who Has the Edge at Every Position in NBA Finals?
If you’re bored or turned off by the prospect of an unprecedented NBA Finals “three-match” between the Golden State Warriors and Cleveland Cavaliers, you’re missing the point.
Sure, these are largely the same casts of characters, in both name and core personnel, that have split the last two Larry O’Brien Trophies. But both teams have undergone changes since last June that go beyond cosmetic.
Where LeBron James might have been able to take breaks in the past against Harrison Barnes, he now has to stay locked and loaded at all times opposite Kevin Durant. The big guy setting screens and going goon for Golden State is no longer a leaping Australian (Andrew Bogut) but rather a ground-bound Georgian (Zaza Pachulia). The scrappy Cavs’ second unit of old has been supercharged with aging All-Stars in Kyle Korver and Deron Williams.
That’s to say nothing of a battle in the coaches’ boxes that could tilt one way or another depending on whether Mike Brown has to stand in for Steve Kerr and match wits with Tyronn Lue.
Who will be stalking the sidelines in this series remains a mystery. Who will be contesting it on the court isn’t. With another eon or so to go until the opening tip at Oracle Arena on Thursday, let’s go around the horn to break down all the major player matchups in this championship trilogy.