NBA Roundtable

NBA Finals Thoughts: Supporting Cast

In 2008 NBA Finals, 2008 NBA Playoffs on June 5, 2008 at 5:52 pm

Let’s start of my pointing to who we’re exactly talking about; we’re talking about every player in the rotation outside of either sides’ top trio of players. So no Kobe, Gasol, Odom or Pierce, KG, Allen. We’re talking about the two starters and the 3-4 bench players that each team will use.

Los Angeles has had a great advantage over every team they’ve faced in the playoffs because of their bench. They’re in the top 10 in scoring, rebounds, assists, FG%. Their second unit – Farmar, Sasha, Walton, Turiaf – does a brilliant job of keeping the score level while Kobe and co. get a breather and from time to time they lead the Lakers to lead (or bring them back into to the game like in Game Five against San Antonio in the second quarter). Add in Fisher and Radmanovic and you have a formidable cast. It’s their scoring threats that really stands out, of the 6 players mentioned 5 of them are capable of going for double digit points at any time – Fisher, Radmanovic, Farmar, Vujacic and Walton – the sixth is Ronny Turiaf who’s a capable offensive player himself. No team in the league can match this depth of scoring, nobody. The other worrying thing about their scoring ability? They can all create shots for themselves.

The Celtics are an inconsistent bunch but capable of great things. They have arguably the most capable player out of the two teams in Rajon Rondo and the best bench player in James Posey. While Rondo is an excellent player on his best day, he’s also been wildly inconsistent in the playoffs. James Posey has been the Celtics most consistent bench player but he took a sabatical from Game Three of the Cleveland series until midway through the Pistons battle. Posey can put in 10 games of brilliant bench play or get lost for 10 games, he had some short spells of being MIA for Boston this season too. It’s been regular in the past for James at Miami, Memphis, Houston and Denver. With the Finals on hand, his championship pedigree and competitive spirit I can’t imagine him being a worry for Boston in this round.

Let’s move on and look at the total cast of Boston’s characters – Rondo, Perkins, Posey, PJ Brown, House/Cassell, (Powe/BBD). Doc has switched to an 8 man rotation in pivotal games during the playoffs from a lack of confidence in his young big men so he might go 8 deep for the whole Finals, if not I expect we’ll see Powe get first crack of the whip. Eddie should play backup point guard and I expect he will. So how many of these guys are 10 point threats, well only three – Rondo, House, Posey – Perkins is like Ronny scoring wise so I won’t include him, ditto for PJ Brown. Powe could if he got enough minutes but he hasn’t even managed 10 minutes in one game over the previous 10 Celtics games. Let’s look at a different way, how many Boston players can create a shot for themselves? One. Rajon Rondo. The odd time Posey will roll back the clock but he’s basically a spot up shooter.
The Lakers have a large scoring advantage in the supporting cast. What does this mean? The Big Three are going to have to substantially outscore the Lakers’ top trio to make up the difference.

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