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  • Finals Players Rankings

    What do you guys think about these rankings from
    22. OG Anunoby *Injured
    21. Jerebko
    20. Jordan Bell
    19. Cook
    18. Bogut
    17. McKinnie
    16. Livingston

    15. Powell
    14. Danny Green

    13. Cousins
    12. Serge Ibaka
    11. Kevon Looney

    10. Fred VanVleet
    Fatherhood and lack of sleep is all Fred VanVleet needed to turn into Toronto's super sub. In three games since the birth of his son, Fred Jr., the diminuitive back-up point guard has been anything but diminuitive on the floor, averaging 16.0 points per game while shooting 14-17 from beyond the arc.

    How he factors in: VanVleet will play a major role in this series. Nick Nurse never wavered in his trust of VanVleet even during his dry spell which in turn paid dividents over the final three games of the Conference Finals. While shot making is of critical importannce, equally important could be his defense on Stephen Curry. In the one matchup against the Raptors earlier this year that Curry played in, it was VanVleet who defended Curry far more than any other Raptors player.

    9. Marc Gasol
    The offseason trade for Kawhi Leonard receives most of the attention and rightfully so. But the midseason acquisition of Marc Gasol from the Memphis Grizzlies is proving to be yet another masterful stroke by Masai Ujiri. A cerebral player on both ends, it's the passing of Gasol that's truly unlocked the non-Kawhi components of Toronto's offense. As the Raptors jumped from 22nd in assist percentage prior to his debut all the way up to fourth since he's been with the team.

    How he factors in : When the Warriors are dialed in, they're truly an elite defensive team. They do go through stretches however where they let their collective guards down and that's where Gasol's passing can capitalize. He likely won't pile up numbers to the degree that Draymond Green does as a playmaking big, but his ability to hold Golden State accountable on off-the-ball defense is crucial for a Raptors team that at times can struggle to score outside of Leonard.

    8. Andre Iguodala
    There's perhaps no player that benefits more from Golden State's long layoff than the 35-year old Iguodala who missed Game 4 of the Conference Finals. By the time Game 1 tips off, Iguodala will have had 11 days off since his last game action.

    How he factors in: Iguodala's individual defense has been a big enough factor to swing one NBA Finals already as he won Finals MVP in 2015 for slowing down LeBron James. Though he's four years older, Iguodala has at times looked the most spry he ever has in this postseason. It's not hard to imagine a world in which he puts the clamps on Leonard.

    7. Kevin Durant
    Kevin Durant is not the seventh-best player in this series. Prior to going down in Game 5 against Houston, you could make a case that Durant was the best player in the world as he was averaging over 35 points per game on 50-40-90 shooting. That's never been done in the history of the game. Unequivocally, Kevin Durant was having the most efficient volume scoring postseason in NBA history.

    But he got hurt.

    How he factors in: There's a chance Durant doesn't play at all in this series in which case ranking him seventh is way too high. There's a chance he comes back and single-handedly swings the series in favour of Golden State in which case ranking him seventh is way too low. Nobody really knows. The question then becomes how many games does Durant have to play in order for him to carry more value than any of the other players over the course of an entire series?

    6. Pascal Siakam
    Did you know that Siakam passed Vince Carter on Toronto's all-time postseason scoring list in the Finals-clinching win over the Bucks? A guy on the up-and-up just scratching the surface of his potential has already tallied more total points in the playoffs than Vinsanity, himself. Wild.

    How he factors in: It's been an up and down postseason for Siakam who is learning that postseason basketball is different than in the regular season. He'll be challenged in a major way in this series, particularly if he's being guarded by all-world defensive maestro Draymond Green. If Siakam can put pressure on Green by attacking him in transition, pulling him away from the rim and keeping him from playing free safety, that can have a massive domino effect on Toronto's ability to score consistently enough to hang with Golden State.

    5. Kyle Lowry
    This feels like the postseason where Kyle Lowry has finally gotten his due as a floor general that impacts the game in so many ways not often seen in the box score. Diving for loose balls, scrounging for key rebounds, taking timely charges, slyly holding Antetokounmpo back from truly challenging Kawhi Leonard's emphatic Game 6 dunk... Lowry just does things and often times in such a subtle manner that if you're not actively looking for it, you'll miss it.

    How he factors in: You could argue that Lowry is coming off the best series of his postseason career as he averaged 19.2 points on 50.7 percent shooting including 46.5 percent from beyond the arc. On nights when it felt like the Raptors were one possession away from falling out of it, Lowry delivered time and again with big-time shots. While Siakam might ultimately emerge as Toronto's seond-leading scorer, his buckets typically come within the flow of offense or as a by-product of high energy. It's Lowry's emergence as a legitimate shot creator that changed the Raptors' trajectory. Going up against the Splash Brothers, he'll need to keep that up if Toronto is going to hang.

    4. Klay Thompson
    There's perhaps no player in the league, Stephen Curry included, that can get hot as quickly as Thompson. He's scored 60 points on 11 dribbles. He's scored 37 points in a single quarter. He needs zero daylight to get off his shot at any time and when he's feeling it, there's simply nothing you can do. If Thompson goes on one of his tears, it's enough to single-handedly steal a win his team otherwise has no business winning. In a matter of minutes, Thompson can undo everything an opponent has worked so hard to build over an entire game.

    How he factors in: Ask Oklahoma City how it feels to be on the wrong end of Mt. Thompson. His performance in Game 6 of the 2016 Conference Finals not only changed the outcome of that series, but the entire fortunes of a franchise and of the league itself. If the Raptors find themselves knocking on the door to glory, they'd be wise not to sleep on Thompson who with a few flicks of the wrist can leave an entire team looking lost and wondering what on earth just happened.

    3. Draymond Green
    This is the best Draymond Green has looked in years. He's recorded four triple-doubles this postseason and if it wasn't for Kawhi Leonard, would probably be recognized as the best defensive player in the playoffs. Green is coming off a Conference Finals in which he averaged 16.5 points, 11.8 rebounds, 8.8 assists, 2.8 blocks and 2.3 steals per game, numbers that are outrageous and yet still seem to undersell just how incredible he played in that sweep of the Trail Blazers.

    How he factors in: The Warriors have the luxury of placing either Andre Iguodala or Klay Thompson onto Kawhi Leonard which frees up Green to orchestrate Golden State's defense off the ball, hit the defensive glass and attack with reckless abandon. Toronto has looked most vulnerable whenever Pascal Siakam has been neutralized and what better player to get in the' young forward's head than Green. He's got the freedom to wreck havoc defensively and the ability to single-handedly throw a wrench into everything Toronto does offensively.

    2. Stephen Curry
    Curry just scored the most points in a sweep in NBA postseason history. The Raptors might be riding a euphoric high entering the NBA Finals, but are running into a two-time MVP that's hotter than he's ever been. "Who guards Stephen Curry" is one of the questions at the heart of this series. Do the Raptors really want Kawhi Leonard chasing him around? Or a 33-year old Kyle Lowry? Or the 6'0" Fred VanVleet? On paper, there's no obvious answer.

    How he factors in: Is this the year that Curry finally wins that elusive Finals MVP? He's had tremendous success as a scorer in the regular season against the Raptors, averaging 28.6 points per game which is the third-most ever behind only Allen Iverson and James Harden. Although the Raptors are an excellent defensive team, there isn't the type of quick-twitch, shifty lock-down defender that's given Curry fits in the past. With Durant out for at least Game 1 and perhaps the entire series, the table is set for Curry to have his most prolific Finals yet.

    1. Kawhi Leonard
    Clippers coach Doc Rivers just said that Leonard "is the most like Jordan that we've seen." Well, then.

    He leads the postseason in total minutes, points, field goals, field goal attempts, made free throws, steals and drawn fouls. He's been the most clutch player in the league. He shut down the presumptive MVP on essentially one leg. This really isn't hard... he's been the best player in the league over the last two months.

    How he factors in: LOL.

    He does everything.

    If the Raptors are celebrating an NBA title after all of the dust settles, it's because he was the best player in the series on both ends of the floor and then some.
    Pretty even matchup on paper. I'd put Gasol ahead of Iggy, and Ibaka ahead of Looney, but perhaps that's just my bias. Also when healthy OG is way higher on the list as well... but so is Durant and Cousins. Lol
    Last edited by Joey; Wed May 29, 2019, 03:50 PM.

  • #2
    It's interesting that they don't mention Siakim as a possible defender for Curry, as he's not only tall and long, but he's quick. He might well be able to give Curry considerably more trouble defensively than a lot of starting-caliber guards would.


    • #3
      I'm ranking off the assumption Durant misses 2 games

      1. Kawhi
      2. Curry
      3. Durant
      4. Lowry
      5. Green
      6. Thompson
      7. Siakam
      8. Iguodala
      9. Gasol
      10. Ibaka
      9 time first team all-RR, First Ballot Hall of Forum


      • #4
        Kyle Lowry will be the third best player this series after Kawhi and Curry.


        • #5
          Serge is better than Looney. He'll quickly prove that and prove he deserves to be ahead of him in these rankings.

          I really hope Kyle and Fred coming in guns blazing. They both need to hit big shots.


          • #6
            Very disrespectful to the Mafuzzy chef


            • #7
              Bulletin board material right there. Keep it coming.


              • #8
                My top 10 (will also assume KD misses games 1-2, and is 80% afterwards):

                1. Kawhi
                2. Steph
                3. Draymond
                4. Kyle
                5. KD
                6. Pascal
                7. Klay
                8. Andre
                9. Marc
                10. Danny


                • #9
                  planetmars wrote: View Post
                  My top 10 (will also assume KD misses games 1-2, and is 80% afterwards):

                  1. Kawhi
                  2. Steph
                  3. Draymond
                  4. Kyle
                  5. KD
                  6. Pascal
                  7. Klay
                  8. Andre
                  9. Marc
                  10. Danny
                  I think Pascal made an argument for higher ranking.