NBA Finals 2015: New Wave Basketball Metrics on Display

Posted on 03 June 2015

NBA Finals 2015 Cavs vs. Warriers


The Cleveland Cavaliers and Golden State Warriors are set to play for the Larry O’Brien Trophy. LeBron James is in his fifth consecutive Finals while reigning as the League’s Most Valuable Player. Stephen Curry looks to lead the Warriors to their first title in 40 years. Both teams love to shoot the three ball and give all the statistical nerds who preach metrics plenty of fodder to persuade more executives in the league to go in this direction.


Golden State makes its name through their glamorous offense with the ‘Splash Brothers’ of Curry and Klay Thompson; however, their defense is smothering. Assistant Coach Alvin Gentry (who has just recently taken the head job in New Orleans) has done a great job leading this defense that utilizes Thompson as its perimeter defender, along with good athletes Harrison Barnes and Andre Iguodala on the wings. Andrew Bogut has been healthy during the postseason and is an above average defender when on the court, and though undersized, Draymond Green competes as hard as anyone on the glass. Both Bogut and Green have to be solid in keeping Tristin Thompson off the offensive glass.


As for Golden State’s offense, it’s an aerial assault of three-point shooting. Curry is so good he doesn’t even need space and, giving him open shots is not playing with fire, it’s lighting a match in a gas station – it’s going to be disastrous. Green can make his three-pointers as well stretch a defense. And, that doesn’t even mention Klay Thompson and Harrison Barnes who hit threes with ease. If Golden State is hot and stays hot from behind the arc, it’s going to be very difficult for Cleveland.


The Cavaliers will rely heavily on Timofey Mosgov to carry the offensive burden. Got ya. Obviously, it’s going to be the LeBron James show all series long, especially with Kyrie Irving being questionable with his health. J.R. Smith can make three-pointers and will need to be making them consistently this series to keep Cleveland competitive from behind the line. Iman Shumpert can also make threes; however, he and Smith have shown from their Knick days that they can go cold which spells trouble for Cleveland. Tristin Thompson’s offensive glass prowess is an ‘X’ Factor in this series.


Shumpert is a good defender and look for him to carry much of the burden of chasing Curry. As good a defender as is LeBron James, he will have a significant challenge in Curry running off screens to get open shots. Matthew Dellavedova can be an irritant on defense (as shown in the Chicago series), so look for him to pester Curry as well. In the end, however, Cleveland doesn’t have enough, and LeBron will again be a Finals loser.


Golden State in Six Games.

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