1. Which team has the better bench?
Chris Kozimer: Without a doubt, the better bench is the Cavaliers. The main reason that I say this is because they have had to rely much more heavily on their bench this postseason, due to injuries. After Kevin Love went out, Tristan Thompson was asked to play an increased role, and has absolutely flourished. When Kyrie was forced to miss a majority of the series against the Hawks, Matthew Dellavedova made up for it by showing that hustle can matter more than skill. It seems like every time we’ve faced adversity this postseason, bench players keep stepping up and playing above their perceived abilities.
Max Alter: Warriors. This one’s a pretty close one. The Cavs and Warriors both have three or so guys that are really gonna get significant playing time off the bench. This turns into a debate where we decide whether Delly, Shump, and James Jones are better than Iguodala, Shaun Livingston, and Andrew Bogut (pending Marreese Speights’ return). While Delly has been picking up slack that Kyrie hasn’t been able to while Kyrie has been hurt, Shaun Livingston is a much more experienced and developed NBA guard. That’s the bench matchup that really is the deciding factor. Iguodala would be a starter virtually anywhere else in the country and the Warriors have David Lee on the bench playing a Shawn Marion type role. Maybe if Kevin Love were back and we had TT on the bench, it’d be different, but I’ll go with the Warriors bench as of now.
Jacob Linkous: In all honesty, the Warriors bench, one of which featured many appraised players this season, has been switched immensely since the start of the playoffs. The Warriors ended the season with Iggy playing in the starting line up and now Harrison Barnes has overtaken Iggy and now Iggy serves as the best bench piece for the Warriors. David Lee, one of their biggest keys to success only played 19 seconds in their last game and it seems that the bench is just aging at a fast pace. The Warriors will have trouble keeping up with the Cavaliers if they are forced to reach deep into their bench. On the other side, the Cavaliers have a very old bench, but the experience that the bench brings overweighs their aging bodies. The Cavaliers have progressively added minutes to James Jones since the injury of Kevin Love. Perkins has also come off the bench a few times, although there are younger pieces off the bench including Delly and J.R.. Some of the pieces added in July and August are not seeing the floor recently such as Mike Miller and Shawn Marion. However, the biggest question mark for the Cavaliers bench was the point guard position and with the absence of Kyrie Irving we have seen that Dellavedova can produce off the bench and in the starting role.
Chris Sladoje: Both teams have really cut down their bench usage in the playoffs, but I have to give this one to the Warriors. Andre Iguodala, Shaun Livingston, and Leandro Barbosa have gotten a majority of the bench minutes this postseason. I think those three guys beat out the Cavs and their bench of JR Smith, Matthew Dellavedova, and James Jones. This would be a different story if Kevin Love were healthy, which would force Tristan Thompson to come off the bench. As it stands, Golden State just goes deeper. Would you rather have David Lee and Marreese Speights getting garbage time minutes or Mike Miller and Kendrick Perkins.
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