Get your popcorn ready. The wait is over. The 2017 NBA Finals begin tonight at 9 PM ET on ABC
Whether you’re a proponent of parity in sports and can’t stomach this NBA Finals matchup or you love the rebirth of the rivalry era – you’ll be watching tonight. Let’s not kid ourselves, Golden State vs Cleveland in Game 1 of the 2017 NBA Finals this evening is must-see-television. While a lot will be going on and so many storyline’s will be forming, keep an eye out for these three factors:
Which Klay Thompson Will We See
The last two Finals appearances haven’t been too pleasant for Klay Thompson. In comparison to his regular season output, his Finals performances have been lackluster at best. This annual offensive “sabbatical” he goes on has left many NBA fans scratching their heads.
In 2015, Thompson went from averaging 21.7 points on 46% FG and 43% 3P in the regular season to 15.8 points on 40% FG and 30% 3P in the Finals. Last year he stepped it up a bit. His regular season average of 22.1 points on 47% FG and 42% 3P only dipped to 19.6 points on 42% FG and 35% 3P in the Finals.
With the addition of Kevin Durant, it will be interesting to see which direction Thompson’s production will go. According to basketball-reference.com, Thompson is averaging a measly 14.4 points on 38% FG and 36% 3P thus far in this year’s playoffs. Golden State will need a lot more out of him if they want to avenge their historic Finals defeat.
Can Draymond Keep His Composure
When discussing the 2016 NBA Finals, the biggest “what if” scenario involves Draymond Green’s Game 5 suspension. Many believe if he never sat out Game 5, the Warriors would have closed out the series in as many games. Whether you share those sentiments or not, Green’s impact on Golden State is without question.
Serving as the vocal leader and heart of Golden State, Green cannot allow emotions to get the best of him. As much as he can contribute stat-wise, Green’s biggest role is intangible – agitator. Not enough can be said for how effective his trash talk can be.
If Green can bridle his emotions and not cross that thin line between effective and excessive, Golden State will be in a great position to win their second title in three years.
Will Kevin Love Stay Hot
With LeBron James and Kyrie Irving, you have a pretty clear idea of what to expect. With Kevin Love, a lot is left to be seen in regards to his production in the Finals. However, unlike Klay Thompson, Love is showing signs of progression.
In the first installment of this “three-peat”, Love was unavailable due to injury. Last year Love was healthy but ineffective, averaging a meager 8.5 points on 36% FG and 26% 3P. Although his production was lackluster, perhaps the Finals experience has done something for his game.
This season Love put together his best season as a Cavalier. He posted numbers of 19 points and 11.1 rebounds on 42% FG and 37% 3P. He’s carried that momentum into the playoffs where he’s averaging 17.2 points and 10.4 rebounds on 45% FG and 47% 3P. If he can continue the hot shooting and rebounding, Cleveland may be looking at a second straight title.