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Most Important NBA Finals Role Players

Posted by Jay Sanin on 6/5/2016 4:30:50 AM

As the first game of the 2016 NBA Finals showed, role players will play a vital role in the series between the Cleveland Cavaliers and Golden State Warriors. But as the series wears on, new heroes will continue to emerge, including these players, the most important role players of the 2016 NBA Finals on both squads, as each side looks to achieve their own bit of history in the process.

Golden State Role Players

For the Golden State Warriors, their bench is what puts the odds in their favor in this series. That starts with Shaun Livingston, who proved in the first game of the Finals that he is more dangerous than most give him credit for. Livingston has a deadly mid-range jump shot, which he is able to shoot without issue due to his height and length being so much more than the guards tasked with defending him.

Andre Iguodala also falls into this role for the Warriors. With Golden State possessing superior talent and shooting ability in this series, it's a player like Iguodala that really puts them over the top. Iguodala won the Finals MVP award last year in this same matchup due to his ability to lock down LeBron James, a task which he has been assigned yet again this year. His defense will determine how this series goes for the most part.

Cleveland Role Players

When it comes to the Cleveland Cavaliers, their most important role player is JR Smith. Smith, whose job on this Cavaliers team is to simply shoot three point shots, needs to make them in vast quantities in order to give his team a chance against the deadly shooting touches of Klay Thompson and Steph Curry. When Smith is off, the Cavaliers offense falls apart more often than not, as they are then forced to rely too heavily on LeBron James, Kevin Love, and Kyrie Irving.

Channing Frye is important to the Cavaliers for a similar reason. Frye is another great three point shooter, who is able to impact the game in more ways than Smith is. Frye is also important to Cleveland for defensive reasons. While he is far from a lockdown defender, he is a better defender than Kevin Love is, which makes him a better option to play for the team during crunch time since he is just as good at shooting from the perimeter with the added dimension of defense working in his favor.

NBA Finals Game 2 Bet

Knowing that this game is a must win game for the Cavaliers, it could be worth wagering on the Cavaliers in this spot, as they managed to win game two in Golden State in this exact same spot last year. However, you can't rule out the Warriors going up by two games at home, in front of a crowd hoping for their team to make history this season.

NBA Finals Game 3 Bet

If Golden State goes up by two games, expect Cleveland to answer here, but if the series is tied at one game each heading into this game, it could be a legendary performance from Steph Curry and the Warriors.

NBA Finals Game 4 Bet

Assuming that the Warriors are not in a position to sweep when this game rolls around, it will be a huge test of the resiliency of one of these two teams, who will be down two games to one when this game happens. A loss for that team in this spot more or less ends their title hopes, while a win would even the series at two. Expect this series to be level heading into game five.

NBA Finals Game 5 Bet

The team that wins game five of a series when the series is level at two games each goes onto win the series over 80% of the time. With the Warriors being at home in this crucial fixture, expect them to win it in a tight game.

NBA Finals Game 6 Bet

If Cleveland is still in this series, that means they will have a chance to force a game seven in this game at home. It would be tough to expect them not to given how well they have played at home in this year's playoffs.

NBA Finals Game 7 Bet

It doesn't take an odds calculator to know that the Golden State Warriors are historically good at home. If this series goes to a seventh game, you would expect them to win it and finish off the greatest season in the history of the NBA.


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