Both teams dispatched of their respective conference’s most thug-loved squads. So you can make a case that each will gladly welcome a new defensive scheme to, uh, scheme against. Anticipating their adjustments, you can weave a potential scenario wherein each coach opts for a small lineup and draw out the adjusted match-ups accordingly. There are many interesting angles to the NBA Finals matchup of the Miami Heat and the San Antonio Spurs.
Tony Parker has been the NBA’s dark horse option for MVP the last few years, and for good reason. The Spurs have transitioned to a Tony Parker-centric offense for awhile and almost made it to the finals with it last year. Whereas LeBron James is the focal point of Miami’s offense, picking apart a defense and hitting open shooters or driving all the way to the rim, Parker is the Spurs engine doing the same.
Whether Dwyane Wade or Chris Bosh are healthy enough to support James the way Tim Duncan and Manu Ginobili will Parker almost doesn’t matter — the fact Bosh won’t be tangling with Indiana’s Roy Hibbert will make him feel fresh as a daisy. Tiago Splitter, for all his defense, rebounding and opportunistic scoring isn’t Hibbert or David West. Bosh will be resurgent against San Antonio.
Wade could have the biggest opportunity to shine, as James, Mario Chalmers and Norris Cole will switch off defending Parker, Wade will most likely draw Danny Green or match up with Ginobili and the Spurs second unit. Kawhi Leonard has shown himself to be a player worthy of hype (tremendous! outstanding!) but hasn’t lined up against LeBron but one time. I have a hard time believing that matchup won’t end up benefiting the Heat more than Parker and whoever ends up checking him.
The Spurs have the personnel to make the Heat’s aggressive defense pay for loading up on pick and rolls, but Wade and LeBron are two of the best off-the-ball perimeter defenders in the league and the fast break points could pile up. If Bosh performs like he’s had a Hibbert-sized weight lifted off his shoulders and all the 40% 3-point shooters come back to their average, Miami could roll in 5.
That’s right. I said it. Miami in 5.