In these finals, the battle at the one-guard will be between George Hill and Steph Curry. This is the match-up in which the Cavs are perhaps the most grossly over-matched.
Although George Hill is a solid veteran, his offensive production is no match for that of Steph Curry. Averaging 9.7 points per game and three assists, his efforts will no doubt be drowned out by Curry’s 3-point shooting ability and eagle-eyed passing, which has brought him 24.8 points per game and nearly five assists. Since Hill is now playing in what was Kyrie’s role, this dip in offensive production will be important. In Games 3 and 4 of last year’s finals, the only two games in which the Cavs made it a competitive series, Kyrie scored nearly 40.
On the defensive end, Hill is an upgrade to Kyrie, as he is taller and better defensively. While this is certainly a plus, it doesn’t really mean much. If his defensive assignment is going to be to guard Curry, then all he can do is hope to slow him down. Curry is the greatest shooter of all time and his offensive talent is too much to stop. The most George hill can do is hope to make Curry create a look for his teammate or force him to make difficult shots-both things he is great at.
At the end of the day, Hill is just in a tough spot where his better defense won’t make up for Kyrie’s lost production on offense. While Hill has played surprisingly well against Curry in the past, shooting 48.4% from the field and 51% from three and recording a record of 10-4, don’t expect this to have to much impact on the foregone outcome of a short Warriors victory. This series will not be less competitive because the Warriors have gotten better. It is because the Cavs have gotten worse, mainly by switching players like Kyrie with George Hill. But, if Hill can play up to the occasion of the NBA Finals and overachieve on offense, the Cavs may be able to push the series to six games.