Ranking Each Player in the 2017 NBA Finals
It’s finally that time of the year again. The NBA Finals are coming!
Cleveland Cavaliers are set to take on the Golden State Warriors for a third consecutive season with the two teams splitting their previous pair of matchups. Only this year, circumstances are a little different. The Warriors are the favourites, the Cavaliers are the reigning champions, and a certain free agent acquisition will enter into the fold.
This two teams are in a league of their own as they both have dominated the NBA the past three seasons. Only one of the two squads can win the grudge match, but until we reach Game 1, lets take a look at both rosters and rank each player on both sides!
Bottom Third – Here for the Ride
30. Edy Tavares (CLE)
29. Kevon Looney (GSW)
28. Damian Jones (GSW)
27. Kay Felder (CLE)
26. Dahntay Jones (CLE)
25. James Jones (CLE)
24. Derrick Williams (CLE)
23. James Michael McAdoo (GSW)
22. Matt Barnes (GSW)
21. Richard Jefferson (CLE)
Middle Third – The Supporting Cast
20. David West (GSW)
19. Patrick McCaw (GSW)
18. Channing Frye (CLE)
17. Ian Clark (GSW)
16. Zaza Pachulia (GSW)
15. Deron Williams (CLE)
14. Kyle Korver (CLE)
13. J.R. Smith (CLE)
12. JaVale McGee (GSW)
11. Iman Shumpert (CLE)
Top Third – The Stars of the Show
10. Shaun Livingston (GSW)
- Shaun Livingston is the definition of versatility, a term well accustomed to the Golden State Warriors roster. At 6’7”, Livingston is a point guard and a mismatch nightmare coming off the bench. He provides depth, composure, and can help the Warriors on both sides of the court. He is also shooting 61.3% from the field and is averaging six-rebounds per 36-minutes in these playoffs.
9. Tristan Thompson (CLE)
- Not someone who will score much or shoot three-pointers like most of the Cavaliers supporting cast is known to do, Tristan Thompson has been a steady presence in the Cleveland starting line-up for quite sometime. He doesn’t often get the credit he deserves, but Thompson has quietly been a very productive rim protector for the Cavs while being an absolute beast on the glass, especially on the offensive side. The Cavs can really shoot the ball and if Thompson can continue grabbing the offensive boards, the Cavaliers will be able to take advantage of defensive breakdowns.
8. Andre Iguodala (GSW)
- The former Finals Most Valuable Player knows the Cavaliers well and will be one of the players responsible for taking care of the best player on the opposing side. Not the same player as he once was, Iguodala has still been quite possibly the best bench player in the NBA. While battling father time, Iguodala can still defend, he’s a great play-maker for the second unit, and if left open, he can hit a few threes as well. Of course the leadership and mental edge that he provides for the Warriors is invaluable.
7. Kevin Love (CLE)
- One of the Cavaliers ‘Big 3’, it seems like Kevin Love has finally found his niche in Ohio. He isn’t the player he was in Minnesota nor should he be, Love now understands his role and is flourishing. Nevertheless Love is still a threat. He can shoot from the perimeter and play with his back to the basket. Defensively, he is still a bit of a liability, but he can put a lot of pressure on the Warriors with what he does on the offensive side of the floor. Oh, and watch out for his football style passes a la Tom Brady.
6. Klay Thompson (GSW)
- Boy, do the Warriors need Klay Thompson to rebound from a disappointing series against the San Antonio Spurs. The second half of ‘The Splash Brothers’ is a deadly shooter and just as good on the defensive end of the floor. Known as one of the premier two-way players in the league, Thompson can become the x-factor in the Finals if he performs up to expectations and if he does, how much of a chance do the Cavs have against this star-studded Warriors team?
5. Draymond Green (GSW)
- The odds-on favourite for NBA Defensive Player of the Year, the anchor of a very elite Warriors defense, the point-forward, the trash-talker and the guy who’s not afraid to kick anyone in his way, Draymond Green really does bring a lot to the table. Green will be the face LeBron James will see the most on the offensive side of the floor. He is a player who will dig in defensively, but he is so valuable to the Warriors on offense even if he doesn’t score like the other three Warriors stars can. This is tough-minded Michigan State alum is the vocal and emotional leader of this great Warriors team.
4. Kyrie Irving (CLE)
- The biggest shot of the 2016 NBA Finals was made by this man. Kyrie Irving is the Robin to James’ Batman and he is incredibly hard to stop, especially when his shot is falling. Irving can create his own shot like not many people in the NBA can. His handles can only be rivalled by only one man and he just happens to be in this series as well. If you are a believer in the clutch gene, this is your guy. Irving will need to rise to the occasion and simply play out of his mind in an effort to help his team match the Golden State offensive fire power.
3. Stephen Curry (GSW)
- The two-time league Most Valuable Player of the Year, Steph Curry has never really had a Finals performance that has matched his play during the regular season. Now, Curry is healthy and has been simply unstoppable. This year’s NBA Finals has three of the best basketball players in the world and Curry is definitely in that conversation. He can shoot from anywhere, create his own shot, attack the paint, while – as the point guard – keep the rest of the team engaged. This is will be Curry’s chance to show that no stage is too bright for the league’s best shooter.
2. Kevin Durant (GSW)
- The Warriors and Cavaliers have played twice during the regular season and the best player in both games has been Kevin Durant. If you are LeBron James, your task will be to not only defend Durant, who is a freak of nature with his length and athleticism, but to be defended by the likes of Green and Iguodala. Durant can really put the Warriors over the edge. Durant is a pure scorer, quite possibly one of the best natural scorers in NBA history. Keeping him in bay will undoubtedly be a massive challenge which the Cavaliers will need to overcome.
1. LeBron James (CLE)
- The Warriors may be the best team in the NBA, but it is still James who is the league’s best player, as he continues to work his way towards the title of greatest of all time. There is not many things James cannot do. He is a facilitator who can score 30-points, he can defend either man-to-man or off the ball, he can get on the glass, and has shown that he can even shoot from the outside. This series may be LeBron’s greatest challenge yet, but if there is any player in NBA history who can overcome the odds – it’s LeBron.