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7 Interesting Subplots In The 2016 NBA Finals

Behind those familiar headlines are less-reported storylines, which will impact and bring color to the series
by John Paulo Aguilera | Jun 2, 2016
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The 2016 NBA Finals will be all about Stephen Curry and the Golden State Warriors defending their title, and capping off a helluva record-setting season.

For the Cleveland Cavaliers, it's all about bringing the city its first NBA championship, and making a statement with a healthy Big Three of LeBron James, Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love.

But behind those familiar headlines are less-reported subplots, which, like the basic questions on who gets the unenviable task of guarding James and shadowing Curry or which team makes more three-pointers, will impact and bring color to the series. We're talking about these things:


The dance-off

The basketball world will bear witness to perhaps the best ball-handlers in championship series history. While it's expected that Curry and Irving will hardly check each other (that's JR Smith and Klay Thompson's job, respectively), their brief matchups will be fun to watch as there's a good possibility that anyone of them takes a tumble trying to guard the other.


Double T doubling the E (effort)

Will this be the series Tristan Thompson earns his five-year, $82 million contract? It'd better be, or else all that leverage he got from LeBron (they share the same agent) prior the season will be for naught. He has to take advantage of the absence of a Bismack Biyombo out there.


Bench Mob

A few years ago, the Chicago Bulls reintroduced the term which puts prime on their reserves' efficiency. This time, Golden State has Harrison Barnes (or Andre Iguodala, whoever head coach Steve Kerr starts), Mo Speights, Shaun Livingston, Festus Ezeli and Leandro Barbosa, collectively, to carry over its strong bench play into the Finals.

Unless, the emerging second string of Channing Frye, Richard Jefferson, Iman Shumpert and Matthew Dellavedova has something to say about that...

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Good JR or bad JR?

Klay came up big in the Warriors' gritty conference finals against the Oklahoma City Thunder. Cleveland has a player like him of their own in J-Swish, only Smith is a little erratic. One moment he's setting records with his ultra-streaky shooting, the next, he's chucking shots up like Dion Waiters and Michael Beasley.

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Battle of the (unlikely) bigs

Cavs center Timofey Mozgov was a revelation in last year's finals, but saw his minutes fluctuate with the advent of the Dubs' small-ball lineup of death. Gone are the days when you can dump the ball inside and let your big man operate; the theme of this series for the revolutionized pivot will be the defense and passing of Andrew Bogut versus the length and shooting of Frye.


Draymond Green, the soccer player

Will the league continue to turn a blind eye on the DPOY runner-up's wayward, leg-flailing ways, until Green himself shifts to association football? Or does the Cavaliers have to let loose its own mercenary (Delly) to even things up?


Tyronn who?

Despite winning it all in the 2001 NBA Finals, then-Los Angeles Lakers backup point guard is probably still haunted by the iconic image of Allen Iverson stepping over him. Now is Tyronn Lue's chance to reshape how people will remember him in the playoffs, aside from proving himself worthy of being at the helm of such a talented team.

 

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