3. Who will be the X-Factor for the Cavs?
CK: This is a tough one, as there are at least a few players on this squad who I could go with. Honestly, it’s a hard choice for me between Tristan Thompson, J.R. Smith, Iman Shumpert, and Matthew Dellavedova. Out of those four, I have to go with Dellavedova. Tristan is hitting a stride, and J.R. and Iman have shown that they are more than capable of playing whatever roles are asked. However, Dellavedova is one of those players that was thought to be irrelevant, and has quickly turned into the NBA’s equivalent to Aaron Craft. He will never be the best player on the court, but when he is out there he will do whatever it takes to play up to the level of everyone around him. That grit and determination is infectious, and will push those around him to work that much harder.
MA: Kyrie, or Kyrie’s health, rather. As displayed in the Celtics series and Bulls series, Kyrie Irving is a huge role player on this team. When the offense runs through him rather than LeBron, the team seems to have a much better flow. Kyrie is an up-and-coming PG who can only benefit from this series. If he’s healthy and gets minutes, Uncle Drew could steal the series.
JL: If Mike Miller stays true to his past couple seasons, Miller will come in clutch for the Cavaliers in the Finals. It’s hard to know if the Cavaliers will play Miller, he may continue to ride the bench and provide encouragement to the younger players from the bench. Haywood and Perkins were added to provide a postseason mentor for the younger players like Irving and Thompson. Shane Battier and Mike Miller provided fantastic spurts off the bench for the Miami Heat for their championships. Look for the Cavaliers to possibly plug Miller into the lineup.
CS: Iman Shumpert. Unless Kyrie makes a miraculous recovery and is able to play at 100% in the series, then it will be Shump guarding Curry most of the series. If Shumpert can shutdown Curry, then this will be a quick series.
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