Dan Devine's Inarguable Power Rankings: Who matters most in the 2015 NBA Finals?

After an 82-game march to the postseason and six weeks of buzzer-beaters, blowouts and big-time performances, we've arrived at the final sprint: the 2015 NBA Finals. The Golden State Warriors, who have dominated the league since October, face the Cleveland Cavaliers, a juggernaut deferred and twice remade now reaching a new peak, for the Larry O'Brien Trophy.

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The question facing us: Which participants in this championship bout will matter most in the series ahead?

In the interest of providing guidance to BDL's readership in a trying time, I submit to a trusting public a new installment of Dan Devine's Inarguable Power Rankings, identifying which items in a group of things are most powerful. In this episode: Dan Devine's Inarguable Who Matters Most in the 2015 NBA Finals Power Rankings.

Let's dig in and weigh in. And please remember, as always, that the list is the list.

32. Anderson Varejao and Ognjen Kuzmic (tie). Neither center has seen a second of playoff playing time, with Varejao sidelined by a torn left Achilles tendon and Kuzmic inactive due to a left ankle injury and being the sixth big man on Steve Kerr's depth chart. Neither will play in this series; a flicker of hope that the Cavs' Brazilian totem might be available was extinguished, and Kuzmic has already won his championship.

30. Brendan Haywood. The 35-year-old center's first postseason action came in a two-minute cameo late in Cleveland's Game 4 blowout of the Atlanta Hawks. He has played 30 total minutes since the All-Star break. If David Blatt needs screens set and fouls given, he'll call Kendrick Perkins' number. It never hurts to have championship experience in the mix, but if Haywood is in the game, something has gone either very wrong or very right for Cleveland.

29. Joe Harris. The 2014 second-round pick was, somewhat shockingly, in the Cavs' rotation from early November through early January. Then LeBron came back from his two-week rest/siesta (si-resta?), David Griffin traded for J.R. Smith and Iman Shumpert, and Cleveland had enough wings for Mr. Harris to take a seat. Now, the one-time starter inspires "win one for the Gipper" speeches.

"My message to the guys at halftime was our motivation in the second half is to get Joe Harris into the game," LeBron said after Game 4 against Atlanta.

The Cavs ran their lead up to 31 in the East finals-clincher. Harris played six minutes. Maybe his motivational properties matter more than I've been led to believe.

28. Justin Holiday, Brandon Rush and James Michael McAdoo (tie). These Warriors three (no Asgard) have rarely left the bench in the postseason, but if you strain your brain a bit, you can envision a couple of scenarios in which Kerr might tap them for spot minutes.

The post-concussion-diagnosis updates on Klay Thompson have been promising, and on Tuesday he was officially cleared to return for Thursday's Game 1. If things turn south, though, Kerr could — as he did four times during the regular season — start the 6-foot-6 Holiday to keep the rest of his rotation aligned. It's also possible that Rush, a 3-and-D type sparingly used since a 2012 ACL tear, or McAdoo, an athletic 6-foot-9 rookie, could get called to give LeBron a different defensive look if all else fails.

Neither scenario is likely, but if you squint hard enough, you can kind of see a path to mattering. You just might wind up with a headache.

25. Kendrick Perkins. The Warriors' penchant for jaw-jacking, the line-stepping physicality of Draymond Green and Andrew Bogut, the possibility that Cleveland might need gooning in defense of emergent hustle-pest Matthew Dellavedova ... this mix could result in Perk dispensing some Veteran Leadership via flagrantly illegal screen.

Days gone by. (Jason Miller/Getty Images)
Days gone by. (Jason Miller/Getty Images)

24. Kevin Love. It's a bummer that the former All-Star power forward won't impact this series — that's how season-ending injuries work, sadly. Decorum dictates slotting him in above those we've already listed, even if he'll just hope to avoid further celebratory injury.

23. David Lee. It's a bummer that the former All-Star power forward probably won't impact this series — that's how getting Wally Pipp'd (or wallypipped, whatever) works, sadly. Decorum dictates slotting him in above those we've already listed, even if his return to active duty will likely end if Marreese Speights is ready to return.

22. Shawn Marion and Mike Miller (tie). Cleveland signed the 37-year-old Marion last summer to lighten LeBron's defensive burden, which proved too great a task for the 16-year vet. The 35-year-old Miller headed to Ohio intent on picking up where he and buddy LeBron had left off in Florida before a "disappointingamnesty, but struggled to rediscover his shooting stroke and fell out of the rotation after the Cavs' January reboot.

Little in the recent past suggests either player can still make a difference. But would it shock you for Miller, five months removed from hitting seven of eight triples against Brooklyn, getting locked in for a pivotal quarter? Or Marion's smarts contributing to a couple of key defensive stops? I don't think it'll happen, but yeah, me neither.

20. Marreese Speights. After missing the last eight games with a strained right calf, I'll need to see Mo get up and down a little bit. Even if he seems spry, though, Speights — neither an intimidating defender nor a glass-cleaning rebounder — could be dead meat against a Cavs frontcourt that punishes opponents with strength, quickness and relentlessness, especially on the offensive glass.

If he can stand his ground and rediscover his touch, though, his pick-and-pop prowess could pose problems. Speights had a career year making opponents pay for keying on Curry or Thompson coming off screens, and while Cleveland's postseason defense has been great, the Cavs struggled with the Derrick Rose-Pau Gasol two-man game in Game 1 of the Eastern semifinals. Depending how Blatt has his personnel handling the pick-and-roll, Mo could have some opportunities to let it fly.

19. Leandro Barbosa. He's not quite "The Brazilian Blur" anymore, but if Thompson is limited, Kerr said Barbosa's among the top options to pick up his slack. If pressed into duty, the 32-year-old will have to both crank up his long-range shooting (just 5-for-16 from 3-point land in the playoffs) and meet a tough defensive challenge, whether matched against the impaired but still dangerous Kyrie Irving or giving away several inches to Iman Shumpert or J.R. Smith.

James Jones (left) thrives off turning LeBron's kickouts into assists. (AP/Tony Dejak)
James Jones (left) thrives off turning LeBron's kickouts into assists. (AP/Tony Dejak)

18. James Jones. Check out who's moving up in the world after slotting in at No. 22 last year!

Like Miller, Jones headed to Ohio because it's hard to imagine a better place for a spot-up shooter to be than next to LeBron. Like Barbosa, Jones saw more burn in his first season in Cleveland than he had in the past two years combined. Unlike either, however, he's seen his role increase this spring, playing more minutes and taking more shots in the playoffs than during the season.

Jones is making just 35.3 percent of his 3-pointers this postseason, down from 46.9 percent for the Heat last year and 40.2 percent for his playoff career, and he's a defensive liability against quicker threes and burlier fours. He battles, though, and he's still making a difference. He's made multiple 3s in six of 14 playoff games, including a huge Game 2 against the Bulls. Small-ball lineups in which he's played power forward alongside Tristan Thompson or Timofey Mozgov with three of LeBron, Kyrie, Shumpert, J.R. and Dellavedova have outscored opponents by 22 points in 152 minutes.

Most important, though, LeBron trusts him. Given Golden State's taste for downsizing, he'll likely get chances when things go small. Can he capitalize or will the Warriors' fours eat him alive?

17. Shaun Livingston. He might not have been quite what the Warriors had in mind when signing him to back up Curry, but the 6-foot-7 survivor has been a solid complementary wing — a savvy passer who is long, quick and smart enough to defend multiple positions. He has become one of the league's best post-up guards, adept at working over smaller defenders on the block — which could be useful against the 6-foot-3 Irving and 6-foot-4 Dellavedova — and he's had big games in each playoff series, headlined by an 18-point performance in Game 1 vs. Houston.

Livingston's lack of a jumper limits his utility, but his defensive versatility and skill at initiating the offense could make him important should the Cavaliers successfully get the ball out of Curry's hands and/or lean heavily on small lineups.

Festus Ezeli stepped up during the Western Conference finals. (Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports)
Festus Ezeli stepped up during the Western Conference finals. (Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports)

16. Festus Ezeli. With Speights sidelined and Andrew Bogut at times struggling with foul trouble, the 25-year-old out of Vanderbilt stepped up during the Western finals. He nearly tripled his floor time over the first two rounds, highlighted by 12 points and nine rebounds in 28 1/2 minutes in the Warriors' Game 5 win — the most he's played in more than two years, after missing the 2013-14 season following right knee surgery. He might not get that large a workload in the Finals, but I can see Kerr calling the 6-foot-11, 255-pounder's number often.

He's quick enough to survive away from the basket in defending pick-and-rolls, and he's a viable interior deterrent, blocking 6.2 percent of opponents' field-goal attempts (the same block percentage as Anthony Davis) while holding them to 44.1 percent shooting at the rim during the regular season, a near-elite mark, per SportVU player tracking data.

Both numbers have declined somewhat in the postseason, to be fair, but in his playoff minutes, he's cleared the glass well in traffic. He's grabbing 53.3 percent of contested rebounds this postseason, the fifth-best mark among those averaging five or more rebounding chances per game, per SportVU. Against a Cavaliers team that's pulling in 28.5 percent of its own misses, best in the playoffs — when Thompson and Mozgov play together, that number goes up to 32 percent, which would have led the league this season — the Warriors must limit second-chance opportunities. Having Ezeli on the floor when Bogut isn't would help.

15. Andre Iguodala. Here you go, Andre: after helping force James Harden into the worst ball-handling game in playoff history, your reward is coming in cold off the bench to check LeBron James. Fun times.

You can't expect Iguodala to stop LeBron, but it will be critical for the rangy swingman to do whatever he can to make him work and expend energy. He'll have to do the same to whichever Cav defends him, too.

Now 31, Iguodala isn't as explosive off the dribble as he once was and remains an inconsistent shooter, which could inspire Blatt to try to hide the hobbled Irving by having him guard Iggy when possible. It wouldn't be the Warriors' style to wholly ditch their stuff and hunt out-of-system mismatches, but when Iguodala gets chances, he'll have to attack with purpose and use his still-sharp playmaking gifts (4.5 assists per 36 minutes of playoff floor time, a sterling 6.38-to-1 assist-to-turnover ratio) to create for others.

Matthew Dellavedova gets after it. (Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
Matthew Dellavedova gets after it. (Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

14. Matthew Dellavedova. Ah, Delly. What can you say about the Australian guard that hasn't already been sung by choirs in Cleveland or cursed by disgruntled masses in Chicago and Atlanta?

With Irving hurt, the Cavaliers have been more effective, on balance, with Dellavedova on the floor. Cleveland has outscored opponents by 8.6 points per 100 possessions in his minutes over the past 10 games, compared to +4.1-per-100 for Irving. Among Cleveland lineups that played more than 15 minutes against Chicago and Atlanta, the three most effective all featured Dellavedova; the Cavs have held up fine with him at the point in small-ball lineups (Dellavedova-LeBron-Shumpert-J.R.-Tristan is +21 in 46 total minutes in the last two series; the same perimeter group with Mozgov in Thompson's place is +10 in 18 minutes) and their two-big starting lineup (Dellavedova-LeBron-Shumpert-Thompson-Mozgov: +25, 41 minutes).

Dellavedova is nowhere near Irving's level as an initiator, creator or finisher, but he's a bigger, sharper, more aggressive defender at the point of attack. He made life difficult on Jeff Teague in the conference finals, and it would be an upset if he doesn't wind up in some kind of tangle with Green, Bogut and/or Curry after an especially physical screen or loose-ball scramble in this series.

The Cavaliers can't have Curry's man blown past off the dribble or plastered by picks, and even a healthy Irving figured to have a tough time with that task. I expect Shumpert to check Curry often, but he'll also have his hands full tracking Klay around the court. Somebody has to do the dirty work of keeping Curry from getting clean looks. Delly seems like the man for the job.

13. Timofey Mozgov. The huge Russian has played a major role in the Cavs' rise from the bottom-third of the league in defensive rating early in the regular season to the third-stingiest defense in the playoffs. Cleveland is allowing only 92.9 points-per-100 with Mozgov in the middle this postseason, and opponents have shot just 40.7 percent at the rim with him defending, the second-best mark of any player who made it out of Round 1, behind only Bogut.

But the Warriors' offense tends to draw bigs out into deeper waters, and while Timo has been effective dropping back behind screens to wall off the paint, you can't do that against Curry, who barely needs room or time to rain down fire. Asking Mozgov to jump out 25 or 30 feet away from the basket to hedge on the pick-and-roll, though, essentially lays out a red carpet for Curry to drive.

Cleveland is more likely to stall Golden State's screen game by going small with Thompson in the middle; doing so removes its best rim protector and cedes some of the Cavs' rebounding edge. How long Blatt stays big, and how well Cleveland's interior D holds up minus Mozgov, could be critical.

12. Steve Kerr and David Blatt (tie). Players ultimately determine things, but coaches' tactical decisions — Golden State cross-matching Bogut with Tony Allen midway through the Memphis series to better pack the paint, for example, or Cleveland playing soft pick-and-roll coverages against Atlanta to make Teague a jump-shooter — can make major differences. Rotation management matters, too.

How long will Blatt stay with Irving if he's still hampered? How much help will Kerr and Ron Adams send to primary LeBron defenders? Who goes small first, and who has a trick up his sleeve to ensure that his small-ball lineup — Draymond at center for the Warriors, Thompson in the middle for Cleveland — carries the day?

Every substitution, every timeout, every play call out of a stoppage ... they could all matter. Whoever can best put his players in position to make plays figures to have the edge.

10. J.R. Smith. Since returning from his two-game suspension, Smith has been exactly what the Cavaliers have needed — an accurate high-volume spot-up shooter, feasting off feeds from James and Irving to the tune of 15.4 points per game on 45.9 percent 3-point shooting; a helpful wing rebounder who has stayed committed on defense; and a source of instant offense who can keep Cleveland afloat when LeBron and Kyrie need a breather, and maybe even win a game.

As good as he's been, though ... would you feel completely comfortable trusting J.R. — with staying locked onto Klay or Harrison Barnes off the ball, with not breaking the offense, with not, y'know, clocking a dude in the face because you're mad he's been getting chippy — in a situation this pressure-packed, with the stakes this high?

One man's trash, another man's treasure; neither would surprise me.

Iman Shumpert will once again have to work hard on and off the ball. (Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Iman Shumpert will once again have to work hard on and off the ball. (Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

9. Iman Shumpert. The 24-year-old has held the players he's guarded to just 40.9 percent shooting from the floor and 28.3 percent from 3 this postseason, per SportVU — no mean feat considering he's mostly worked against Isaiah Thomas, Derrick Rose and Kyle Korver.

His length, quickness, active hands and ability to avoid fouls have made him an ace wing defender, and his size helps him handle cross-matches in Cleveland's switch-heavy small-ball scheme. In this series, he'll have to reprise his off-ball work on Korver against the forever-in-motion Klay Thompson, and if Irving's balky legs render him extra-flammable, he'll likely move onto the league's MVP.

While attempting to stop the 2015 Western Conference All-Star team's starting backcourt, Shumpert must also remain a threatening-enough floor-spacer to keep Golden State honest (he's shooting 38.3 percent from deep on six 3s per game since moving into the starting five) while continuing to keep the ball moving and pitching in on gang-rebounding efforts. It's a lot of responsibility, but if he's up to it, he could earn an awful lot of money in restricted free agency this summer.

8. Andrew Bogut. No big man's been better at protecting the rim this spring, and as good as the Mozgov-Thompson tandem has been in vacuuming up offensive rebounds, the Bogut-Green duo has been nearly as good in finishing off possessions with defensive rebounds. He'll be a necessary backstop for Golden State's primary LeBron defenders, a critical roadblock to stall any Irving drives to the rim, and a key weapon in turning Cavalier misses into Golden State fast-breaks.

His screening for Curry and Thompson, his passing from the high and low post, and his chemistry with Green all help elevate Golden State to elite status. Like Mozgov, he could find himself marginalized by foul trouble or a move to small-ball; when he's on the floor, though, he must make drivers pay a toll in the lane, impede defenders' pursuit of the Splash Brothers, roll hard, finish lobs and make the extra pass. An in-tune Bogut gives the Warriors the edge that's made them one of the league's best defenses two years running; they'll need that to defang Cleveland.

7. Harrison Barnes. Everything I wrote about Iguodala needing to do whatever he can to hold up on LeBron and punish whichever Cavs defender catches him on switches and cross-matches goes double for Barnes, who will start the game lined up against James.

The bad news is that Barnes isn't Kawhi Leonard, which means he's not going to be able to check LeBron one-on-one. The good news, though, is that Barnes' combination of size (6-foot-8), length (6-foot-11-1/4-inch wingspan) and strength (remember, he did a pretty good job on Grizzlies mauler Zach Randolph in Round 2) could help him anchor against LeBron in the post, and maybe help turn some possessions that might overwise end in finishes at the rim into short jumpers.

Harrison Barnes and Klay Thompson try to stop LeBron James, which is hard. (Jason Miller/Getty Images)
Harrison Barnes and Klay Thompson try to stop LeBron James, which is hard. (Jason Miller/Getty Images)

Keeping LeBron away from the basket's always a goal to strive for, but it's especially desirable with the way he's shooting the ball right now — just 48-for-172 (27.9 percent) on attempts from more than 10 feet out in the playoffs, and an unsightly 12-for-68 (17.6 percent) from 3-point range. Expect Golden State to sag off LeBron when he operates in the pick-and-roll, wall off the paint and basically dare him to shoot — the game plan that Gregg Popovich often used in the San Antonio Spurs' two Finals matchups with James' Heat — and to be very careful in sending additional help to Barnes, Iguodala or Green, lest LeBron find shooters for open 3s.

Offensively, Barnes must pick up where he left off in Game 5 vs. Houston, in which he scored 24 points on 50 percent shooting, with 13 coming in the fourth quarter. He must be willing to attack when the ball finds him, whether by raising up when left alone by defenders concerned with more pressing threats, driving around unbalanced closeouts or judiciously isolating against smaller defenders like Irving or Jones.

Some of Barnes' best performances have come beneath the postseason's bright lights. Whether he can thrive on the game's biggest stage should help determine which team wins it all.

6. Klay Thompson. So much depends on Thompson's health after his Game 5 concussion. It's great news that he has completed the NBA's concussion protocol and been cleared for Game 1, but head injuries are tricky things. Even if he seems fine starting the series, who knows if he'll be 100 percent throughout?

The Warriors need Thompson, who has made more 3s this postseason than anybody but Curry, as a release-valve shooter and playmaker if Cleveland ramps up its pressure to take the ball out of Curry's hands with blitzes and traps. They need Thompson to limit Irving like he did to Memphis' Mike Conley in Round 2. They need the threat of Thompson catching fire for stretches, as he did in a record-setting performance back in January and in the second quarter of Game 5 against Houston, in which he scored 13 points in four minutes and 11 seconds.

They need Thompson to be able to play at peak effectiveness on both ends. If he can't, Cleveland's upset window opens wider.

5. Tristan Thompson. Entering this season, Thompson seemed to lack a single elite modern-NBA-big-man skill; he looked like the kind of player you'd struggle to justify paying $10 million a year, even with the salary cap set to skyrocket. Entering the Finals, he seems like an indispensable piece who can do a few things very well and one thing better than almost anybody, and whose decision to turn down $13 million a year might have been savvy. Things can change quickly.

Nobody's been able to keep Thompson off the glass this postseason. The sheer threat of him extending possessions could lead Kerr to keep more bodies back, perhaps limiting the Warriors' lethal fast-break. He's been a solid pick-and-roll screener, a furious finisher at the rim, and a quick, balanced defender capable of stuffing pick-and-rolls and holding up against guards on switches.

He's been exactly what Cleveland's needed since Love went down ... and he's about to be called upon to give even more.

Will Kyrie Irving be explosive enough to attack Stephen Curry? (David Richard-USA TODAY Sports)
Will Kyrie Irving be explosive enough to attack Stephen Curry? (David Richard-USA TODAY Sports)

Thompson must keep Cleveland on the right side of the battle of the boards, especially when Golden State's pick-and-roll plays Mozgov off the floor. He must keep Curry in front of him when picking him up on switches. He must spring LeBron and Kyrie to get them going downhill against the Warriors' D, and he must capitalize on dump-off passes when they draw help. He must provide even more of the boundless energy that seemed to demoralize the Bulls and Hawks.

He's got to be the best big man in this series for Cleveland to win, which, admittedly, seems like a very tall order. Then again, he's spent the last month exploding our expectations of what he can do. Why stop now?

4. Kyrie Irving. He won't be 100 percent in these Finals — "unless something miraculous happens," he says — thanks to the left knee and right foot issues that cost him two Eastern Conference finals games and made him a spot-up shooter in the other two. He's still valuable in that role — he's shooting 48.1 percent from 3 in the postseason — but he's not the same player who was named MVP of the 2014 All-Star Game and the 2014 FIBA World Cup, and who authored the season's two highest-scoring performances.

"Kyrie at 50 percent, 60 percent is better than [no] Kyrie at all," James said after Game 4 against Atlanta.

But is it enough to beat the Warriors?

A healthy Irving didn't have much chance of defending Curry; with two bad wheels, he's a dead man walking. If Blatt switches Shumpert onto Curry, Irving will have to deal with either Klay — whose off-ball racing seems like a miserable assignment if you're gimpy — or Barnes, who can bully Kyrie. If he can't hold up in those matchups, he might have to hit the bench until less dangerous second-unit Dubs check in.

A healthy Irving's got all the tools — the snare-drum-tight handle, the quick first step and burst to the basket, the ability to finish with either hand through contact, the pull-up and stepback jumpers — to exploit even small cracks in the Warriors' D. It's not clear, though, whether the model we'll get can distort Golden State's coverages enough to cash in for himself and others. If he can't, Cleveland becomes easier to guard and LeBron's creative burden grows even heavier.

3. Stephen Curry. Nobody's ever shot like this. Up top or from the corners, off a pass or off the dribble, pull-ups or stepbacks, open or blanketed — it doesn't matter. He's led the NBA in 3s made and attempted in each of last three years. He now owns the regular- and postseason records for cashed triples in one campaign. He's shooting 50 percent from deep on 11.3 attempts per game over his last eight games.

Curry forces you to just throw away your standard operating procedures for defending point guards and pick-and-rolls. He's a problem that nobody's solved during this MVP season, but Cleveland's got to try, and the strategy seems likely to include both heavy doses of Shumpert (and, eventually, almost certainly LeBron) and ratcheted-up traps on the pick-and-roll to force Curry to give up the ball.

If Curry can get his Tony Parker and Chris Paul on, drawing those traps out and making passes over the top to spring his teammates on 4-on-3 odd-man rushes, the Cavs might have to dial it back down, giving Chef Curry more room to cook. But if he can't — if Cleveland's pressure pushes Curry and the Warriors into turnovers, which they've coughed up on 15.7 percent of their postseason possessions, the highest rate of any playoff team — the Cavs could find themselves fast-breaking, attacking Golden State's transition D rather than its meat-grinder half-court model, and disrupting the rhythm of Warriors' offensive machine.

2. Draymond Green. OK, OK, OK — before you kill me, please consider:

• In 562 minutes with Green on the floor this postseason, the Warriors have outscored their opponents by a total of 157 points — far and away the highest mark of any postseason player, worlds better than Curry (+111 in 571 minutes) and LeBron (+104 in 570 minutes).

• In 163 minutes with Green on the bench in the playoffs, Golden State's been outscored by 36 points.

• The Warriors have been 21.5 points per 100 possessions better with Green on the court in the playoffs, with their offense going from world-beating to basement-dwelling without him and their defense slinking from suffocating to susceptible.

• Green will, at different points in this series, likely be responsible for A) directly defending LeBron; B) keying strong-side zone overloads Golden State occasionally throws at James; C) keeping the heretofore-unboxed-out Thompson off the glass; D) leading Golden State's defense at center when the game goes small; E) fueling the Warriors' fast break; and F) acting as their escape-hatch facilitator if Cleveland forces the ball out of Curry's hands. (Plus more stuff that Kerr knows about that I don't.)

That's a really big job, man.

Green became a star this season, a worthy Defensive Player of the Year and Most Improved Player candidate whose strength, toughness, intensity, instincts and playmaking have helped propel the Warriors to the top of the NBA. He makes them vicious and nasty when they need to be; he's the burst of blood in their chest that gets Oracle Arena's pulse racing. He's essential in all sorts of ways that don't show up in the box score, and in ones that do, too.

Curry was the league's Most Valuable Player this year, and deservedly so. When you factor in the defensive task ahead, though, I think Green's the Warriors' most important player in this series. The Warriors' chances of winning their first title in 40 years rest with his ability to do everything I just listed, and more.

The King stay the King. (Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
The King stay the King. (Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

1. LeBron James. He can't shoot straight. He's got somewhere between a 6.5- and eight-man team right now, depending on who's counting. He's shouldering an Iversonian offensive workload and playing nearly 41 minutes per game, a number that will rise over the course of this series.

Yes, LeBron just averaged 30.3 points, 11 rebounds, 9.3 assists and 1.5 steals per game in torching Atlanta. But given the state of the rest of the Cavs roster and the Warriors possessing levels of depth, talent and tactical excellence that compare favorably to last year's Spurs, it's hard to shake the feeling that we might be in for another short series in which even James' brilliance isn't enough.

And yet:

Last week, someone asked me, "What happens if LeBron just goes LeBron four times?"

I didn't have an answer. I wonder if the Warriors do.

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Dan Devine is an editor for Ball Don't Lie on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at devine@yahoo-inc.com or follow him on Twitter!

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