NBA Finals: Position By Position Preview

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Feb 26, 2015; Cleveland, OH, USA; Cleveland Cavaliers guard Kyrie Irving (2) dribbles against Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry (30) in the fourth quarter at Quicken Loans Arena. Mandatory Credit: David Richard-USA TODAY Sports

Point Guard- Kyrie Irving VS Stephen Curry

If Irving was fully healthy, we would be salivating over this match-up. Kyrie’s amazing handles and ability to finish at the rim, although Curry is no slouch in that respect either. Curry’s ability to hit shots from everywhere, especially from deep, although Irving is no slouch from deep either. Unfortunately, Irving’s injury clouds everything. Assume in everything you read here that we just don’t know. The rest could have Irving close to 90% or he could step on a foot and need to sit a game or two. We have no idea, and neither does he or the Cavs.

When Irving is at his best, very few can stay in front of him with the ball. He can start and stop, contort his body and leave defenders, big and small, feeling foolish. Irving’s numbers have dropped in the Playoffs due to his injuries but he was a constant scorer and showed great development as a distributor as the season went on.

Irving isn’t just a to the basket point guard. Irving led the Cavs in the regular season in 3 point shooting at 42%. He attempted 5 a game, behind only J.R. Smith and Kevin Love. Somewhat surprisingly, Irving’s backup, Matthew Dellavedova, was 2nd on the team at 41% but only attempted 2.5 a game. Irving’s ability to hit shots from anywhere is what opens up his driving. Teams can’t sit back and allow him to bomb from deep, because he will and it will be over.

Curry is a similar player. He is a better shooter, 44% from deep, but not as good of a driver/finisher as Irving. His ability to shoot, create open lanes and be decisive quickly, all create a ton of problems for defenses. Curry, the league’s MVP, attempted over 8 three pointers per game this season, yet he also averaged almost 8 assists, 4.3 rebound and 2 steals per game. An all around player. His 3.1 turnovers per game are not surprising as much as he handles the ball.

Defensively neither is known as a standout but Curry’s steals are impressive in a vacuum. Curry will likely get Irving often but could cede to the bigger Thompson if things aren’t going well or to keep him fresh for the offensive end. The Cavs will have to get creative with Irving on defense, possibly even moving him on to the much bigger Harrison Barnes to keep Curry from going nuclear.

Curry, who struggled with ankle issues early in his career, is healthy. His post-season numbers are all very similar besides a few more shot attempts and a whopping 11 attempts from deep a game. He is hitting on all cylinders while Irving only hopes to get close to normal.

Advantage- Warriors – Even if Irving was healthy, the slight edge would be to the MVP. Not fully healthy, the edge is clear.

Next: Shump Vs Klay