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Warriors vs. Cavaliers: A position by position breakdown of the Finals

Matchups?! Matchups. We dive into them.

David Richard-USA TODAY Sports

So hey there family.

How have we all been doing with this monstrous layoff between conference finals and finals finals?

Personally, I've been chomping at the bit.

And watching Game of Thrones.

Good lord?! That episode last night? Yiiiikes.

But anyways, what we have here is a little article previewing the matchups, position by position, between the Cavaliers and the Warriors.

We still have some days until actual games are played, so let's take a moment to mindlessly explore potential futures.

Point Guard

Stephen Curry vs. Kyrie Irving

The easy way out of this comparison is to say that this is a matchup of the two best ball handlers in the game. Kyrie and Steph have both proven themselves to be other-worldly handlers of the rock. Each is relatively young. Each is ethereal and metamorphic in their movements—shifting in and out of the common boundaries of physical limitations while slithering a leather orb through the surrounding atmosphere.

Kyrie has been hurt throughout the playoffs. David Blatt said today that he still has not looked like himself in practice. Which, side note, is a super weird way of saying that he is hurt. The following mini-rant is completely semantics and most likely pure gibberish on my end, but: Of course he still looks like himself. He didn't come to practice disguised, did he? He didn't show up dressed like Uncle Drew, right? No? Then he did look like himself. Perhaps a hobbled version of himself, but still... Okay, moving on.

Steph also suffered an injury scare when he went tumbling onto the court in game four versus Houston. I'm still not emotionally recovered from those terrifying few minutes when he lay prone on the ground. Stretcher came out..... AAAAAAH okay let's end this and move on before I start hitting myself in the solar plexus with a sledgehammer.

Advantage: Warriors (duh. MVP.)

Shooting Guard

Klay Thompson vs. Iman Shumpert (but, for real also J.R. Smith)

Yesterday, Klay Thompson attended an A's game. This was big news, because the last time we saw him in public, he got ninja kicked in the temple and bled from his ear. Shit shit shit.

All news points towards Klay being ready for game 1, and him being out, in public, in a loud and bright place, was a sight for sore eyes. For all Klay-related news, dig our storyStream.

Iman Shumpert and J.R. Smith arrived via trade (from the Knicks) midway through the season.

Some people's trash are other people's garbage? Or, wait, what? Some people's castoff misfits are other people's (LeBron's) home boys? How does this work?

Couldn't have said it better myself!!!@imanshumpertthe1st

A photo posted by JR Smith (@teamswish) on

Oh right, there it is.


JR can hit some bat-shit insane shots. The only other person who would even take some of those same shots is Mr. Curry. Big difference is that Curry makes'em.

Shumpert is a defensive presence to be reckoned with. Also, he does funny things with his hair sometimes.

Advantage: Warriors (if Klay is healthy and plays and doesn't get kicked in the head again, please please please)

Small Forward

Harrison Barnes vs. LeBron James

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHALOLOLOLOLOLZ Okay, for real, Harrison has had a pretty amazing postseason so far and I love him a whole, whole bunch and I think he is a legitimate player in this league and will have a nice long career. BUT, c'mon.

Advantage: Cleveland

Power Forward

Draymond Green vs. Tristan Thompson

Over at Fear the Sword, there's talk that this could very well be the matchup that decides the Finals.

It's an interesting thought to be sure. Both players are slightly undersized, scrappy, heart on their sleeves type guys. Both are about to get paid. The words "grit" and "effort" seem to have been concocted by the word-smiths in the heavens to describe their play.

Granted both players will be switching a lot. Draymond is expected to spend a bulk of his time guarding LeBron. Tristan is capable of guarding multiple positions as well.

I'm gonna go out on a limb and potentially anger some Dubs fans.

Advantage: Push. I say they grit and scrap each other to a draw.


Andrew Bogut vs. Timofey Mozgov

It's going to be a battle beneath the basket. Both are big, bruising, foreign born players with underrated offensive games. Both take up so much space around the rim that they inadvertently become rim protectors. Both are sneaky with foulings. Both have a mean streak. Both have terrific defensive tenacity.

I can't wait to watch these two dudes go at each other.

Advantage: Warriors (because Bogut is such a better passer, often initiating the offense from the top of the key)


Andre Iguodala, Leandro "WGBC" Barbosa, Shaun Livingston, Festus Ezeli & co. vs. Matthew Dellavedova, JR Smith (I know I mentioned him already, but he does come off the bench technically), Mike Miller (never, NEVER forget about playoff Mike Miller), James Jones (ditto, he and LeBron are the only players since Bill Russell-era Celtics to make FIVE STRAIGHT FINALS TRIPS), and lastly, the ghost of Kevin Love.

The Warriors have proven time and time again this year that they are deepest and most evenly-constructed team in the league.

Outside of the occasional JR Smith heat-check game, or Dellevadova diving at peoples' knees and altering careers (seriously, dude, chill with that), the Cavs do not have the same fire power at their disposal.

The Warriors are so frickin deep, I only just now realized I didn't even include David "former NBA-All Star" Lee in the list of bench players.

Advantage: Warriors (by a MILE)


Steve Kerr vs. David Blatt

Did you know this is the first time that two rookie coaches have ever met in the Finals?

Did you also know that David Blatt was potentially going to be part of Kerr's assistant coaching staff before he ultimately took the Cleveland gig?

Did you further know that calling either of these two guys "rookie coaches" is an insult to actual, honest to god rookie coaches?

I like Blatt. I think he has weathered the storm that is LEBRON COMING HOME fairly well. The media and the national scrutiny has been overwhelming at times. For example it was revealed that he doesn't call plays, LeBron does.

Also, he once compared himself to a fighter pilot, which is, uh, waaaait. Really?

As far as I can tell, being an NBA coach is a job rife with challenge and intrigue and yes, in all likelihood, is more stressful and taxing than 99.9% of other jobs out there.

But, dude, fighter pilots have to decide whether or not to kill people. While traveling at or near the speed of sound.


Also, let us never, ever forget THIS (from comedian Hannibal Buress):

If anybody ever gives me a media pass, I'm asking the furthest-out most existentially depressing questions possible.

Advantage: Warriors

--- = ---

Conclusions from all the above:

I am a biased observer, but the Warriors really do (with the exception of the small forward position) have the advantage in this series.

That being said, both teams are so creative, both offensively and defensively, that many of these matchups will be obscured and tilted five seconds in to the game. Draymond will guard LeBron. LeBron will guard Curry.

Whatever happens, we are all in for a treat.

Game one, this Thursday.

Holy shit, I am excited.

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