The finals are all about stars and the Warriors and Raptors would not have gotten here without the fantastic play of both Steph Curry and Kawhi Leonard but who else will need to step up for their team to win ?
Norman Powell, Marc Gasol, Fred Van Vleet and Ibaka have all had their moments throughout these playoffs but who is the most important for their success. There is no doubt that each will have to play well to knock off the juggernaut that the Warriors are but Van Vleet’s success from deep will be big if they have any chance.
The feel good story of the Eastern Conference finals was his success after the birth of his son. After the birth of his son he has shot 14-17 from three and found his stroke after struggling to find his stroke, going just 2-11 the first three games against the Bucks compared to 14-17 games 4-6.
During the three game stretch Van Vleet hit shots off the dribble, off screens and maybe most importantly was knocking open looks. Powell, Gasol, Green and guys off the bench will absolutely need to hit open looks off of drives from Kyle Lowry and Kawhi Leonard to open it for them or take advantage when they collapse on Lowry or Leonard.
The Raptors had found a ton of success when they went to the lineup with Gasol, Siakam, Van Vleet, Leonard and Gasol and the switch from Green to Van Vleet when Green comes out to start the game is all the difference. Also, the times in which the Warriors go to their bench and are without either Klay or Curry on the floor the Raptors will have to take advantage, and they will need to find offense when Kawhi is off the floor.
Golden State Warriors:
The most important role player on the Warriors was easy to think of. It is the veteran Andre Iguodala no doubt. He will be tasked with defending the best player of the 2019 postseason so far, Kawhi Leonard. Iguodala got it done and won it for the Warriors in game two of the conference finals when he robbed Lillard of a chance to be the hero for Portland once again literally.
The 2015 finals MVP won the award due in large part to the defense he played on Lebron. Lebron had been without Love and Irving so Iguodala’s job was all that more important. He won the award even though he had been the second leading scorer on Golden State to Curry by ten points.
Iguodala has gained the reputation of being a great defender and if he can limit Leonard and force the ball out of his hands it is hard to see this series lasting long. The veteran is coming off an injury in the conference finals which may slow him down but it was a minor injury so he should be fine.
Shaun Livingston and Quinn Cook will also play a big role. They will need to keep the ship afloat and whenever Curry, Klay and Cousins are off the floor. Scoring will have to come from somewhere off the bench and those two have stepped up and will need to continue to do so,