It is hard to believe anyone could be under the radar in an NBA Finals that features two teams that will face off for a fourth straight year.
However, there are two players who will have key effects on games that could mean wins for the Cleveland Cavaliers or the Golden State Warriors.
They may not score in double digits every night or even grab five to eight rebounds, but what these two players will do could sway the series one way or the other.
1. Golden State Warriors: Jordan Bell. During the offseason, LeBron James made an example of Bell in a pickup basketball game. But when that happened, Draymond Green, who was playing in the game as well, took the soon-to-be rookie aside and made a point after James hit a fadeaway in Bell’s face making him look silly.
“Draymond was on my team, and he was just like, ‘Look, you can’t do nothing about that. Just worry about the next play’. But he also said if LeBron is taking those types of shots, that’s what we want because we’re going to make more threes than he makes twos,” Bell told NBC Sports Bay Area.
The Warriors picked up Bell for a specific reason. He is the type of forward who can defend and rebound and match up with multiple positions on the floor. He can match up with James. He will not be able to stop him, but his energy will have an effect on James. If the Warriors can get James tired, they will have an even better chance of winning this series.
Bell, along with Kevon Looney, will be on James throughout the series. They will annoy the man as much as they can, and in the process, they will save Klay Thompson and Green a foul or two. That will be what they will try to do. We will see how long they stick with it.
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2. Cleveland Cavaliers: Larry Nance Jr. One of the Warriors’ biggest annoyances during the Western Conference finals was P.J. Tucker. The former Toronto Raptors forward was all over the glass for much of the series, and his offensive rebounding gave the Houston Rockets numerous second chances. In fact, their offensive rebounding was key to a couple of wins down the stretch. The Warriors went 2-2 in the series when they were outrebounded on the offensive end.
Larry Nance Jr. will play a similar role on the boards off the bench, especially if Kevin Love is unable to go in game one. Nance went five for five from the floor (much of which came off offensive rebounding) in Love’s absence in game six of the Eastern Conference finals and will likely get some time in the NBA Finals.
If he can get some rebounds that lead to second-chance points, the Cavaliers will have more chances at three-pointers that they must hit if they hope to win this series.