NC Players Key to NBA Finals Outcome


Hello NBA Finals! The NBA season has worked its way down to two teams, the Cleveland Cavs and the Golden State Warriors. These two teams in particular would not have gotten this far without players from the Old North State. For the Cavs that would mean Kyrie Irving of Duke and Brendan Haywood of North Carolina. On the Warriors we have Stephen Curry of Davidson and two Tar Heels, Harrison Barnes and James Michael McAdoo.

Cleveland Cavs

Kyrie Irving

IMPACT: Irving has been injured through much of the playoffs and it is hard to know how much support he can be for LeBron in the upcoming series. He is certainly a defensive liability while he is hurt with no good matchup available to hide him on defense. If he comes back and give full effort then he is an added dimension for the Cavs.

Brendan Haywood

IMPACT: Not much. Haywood is almost pasted on the bench at this point. He has seen action in only one game this entire playoffs. If he starts collecting minutes then things are going really good or really bad for the Cavs.

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Golden State Warriors

Stephen Curry

IMPACT: Curry is the season MVP, but not the most important player on the court in this series. That role will belong to LeBron James, and the Cavs will sink or swim based on James. Curry will be key determining the length of the series. He has not really been subjected to tough defense except the Memphis series. It took a couple of games for Curry to be Curry in that one.

I expect the same thing to happen here. The Cavs will run Iman Shumpert at him and maybe James to slow him down. He will eventually adjust, but he will need big games from concussed Klay Thompson, Draymond Green, and others to give him the time to work it out. He is the engine of the Warriors.

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  • Harrison Barnes

    IMPACT: Barnes has been working on his game all season with help from Jerry West. He offers a good secondary shooting option and his athleticism has never really been questioned. His defense has improved as well. He was part of a committee that turned over James Harden thirteen times.

    If the Cavs focus on Curry and Thompson then Barnes will need whatever open looks he can get. He will also have to spend some of his time guarding LeBron James. Fortunately Barnes will have help doing both of those things.

    James Michael McAdoo

    IMPACT: McAdoo saw four minutes of action against the Rockets. He is not likely to see much if any action in this upcoming series.