Experienced sports gamblers know it takes more than one player to win a championship. There are several players on both the Warriors and Cavs who could have a big impact on the series.
The Golden State Warriors are going to have their hands full in trying to stop Lebron James, and the task is probably going to ultimately be a committee. However, Draymond Green will likely get most of the reps at trying to defend the King, and if you saw what it did to DeMarre Carroll’s offensive production last series, it’s safe to say that Green might not have as much success on offense as he has been having in the first three rounds. Green is the Warriors third leading scorer in the playoffs at around 14 points per game, but if his offense suffers because of the energy needed to check Lebron, Harrison Barnes might be the perfect fill in for the Dubs’ third scoring option.
Barnes is averaging just over 11 points per game in the playoffs, and while is was relatively quiet for most of the Western Conference Finals, Game 5 was his breakout party. Barnes took 20 shots in Game 5 and scored 20 points while doing it on 50% shooting, which was by far his best game of the playoffs. His aggression in Game 5 was a big reason the Dubs got over the hump, and if he is as aggressive in this series, with likely a weaker defender on him, I’m taking the over with most of his prop bets. The former 7th overall pick might use the Finals to show off his unique scoring ability.
While JR Smith has gotten most of the press after coming over from the Knicks midseason, it is Iman Shumpert who has had as much, or even more of an impact. We think of Shumpert as more of a defender, and this would be true. However, with his tough defensive assignments so far in the playoffs (he’ll likely be matched up against Stephen Curry or Klay Thompson) his offense has been sporadic at best. However, even though he will have to guard one of the Warriors best players in this series, I see him still being able to make shots and potentially be a value in certain prop NBA Odds.
When Shumpert is on the court, the Cavs’ offensive rating is an incredible 114.7 in the playoffs, opposed to 105 when he is resting. This severely outpaces what his on/off splits are on defense for the Cavs, and a big reason for this has been his passing and offensive rebounding. Shumpert has grabbed at least two offensive rebounds in five postseason games, and while that may not seem like a lot, he is only a guard. In fact his rebounding in general has been huge for this team, and especially in rebounding and assist props, Shumpert might be a great NBA Picks for the over in the Finals. He has had at least seven rebounds in five of the Cavs last six games dating back to the Bulls series, and he has also dished out at least four assists twice in the last series. He may not have it in the scoring column every night, but betting the over in certain instances with Shumpert might prove quite possible.