April 14, 2024

How the Warriors use their center position is one of the many ways they’re able to outmatch other teams in the NBA. No other team has the ability to go small like they do. When they run Draymond at the five and he’s hitting his shots, they’re impossible to cover.

In the Western Conference Finals, the Rockets were able to match the Warrior’s small lineups with Clint Capela. They found success using Capela in the pick and roll, leading to open lobs at the rim or a lane for either James Harden or Chris Paul to drive. For the Cavs, they should try utilizing Kevin Love and Tristan Thompson in a similar fashion. While neither is the same athletically as Capela, Tristan is always a lob threat around the rim and Love brings his shooting abilities to the equation. This strategy isn’t a guaranteed success by any means, but with how talented the Warriors are you have to try and find any way to possibly attack their defense.

Defensively, the Cavs best shot is to help off Draymond and Kevon Looney and pray neither will hit their shots. It’s impossible to cover everyone on the Warriors adequately and not get roasted by Kevin Durant, Steph Curry or Klay Thompson. The Rockets were able to do this successfully in the Western Conference Finals. Andre Iguodala being hurt helps tremendously because his two biggest replacements, Looney and Jordan Bell, are both liabilities on offense.¬† Still, as we saw with the final outcome last round, even doing this successfully isn’t enough if Steph, Klay or Durant get hot.

For who should start, Love has to be the starting center. As disgusting as this sounds, Jeff Green will be our go-to defender for Kevin Durant. We’ve seen the offense struggle all year with both Tristan and Jeff Green on the floor together and their offensive efficiency numbers back that up. Unless LeBron steps up to guard Kevin Durant, which I don’t think the team or LeBron himself want, there isn’t a possible lineup where Tristan and Love could start together.

As far as Kevin Love being in concussion protocol, there’s absolutely no way the Cavs can win a single game without Kevin Love. He has to play if they want to win anything. If Love’s out for Game 1, the Cavs might as well save LeBron for Game 2 and play their bench the entire game.

The talent level disparity between these two teams is even greater than last year. The Cavs will need the greatest performances out of every single player on their team to even have a chance. If the Warriors play at the levels we’ve seen them reach before, that may not even be enough.

Image: ESPN




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