MIA: Players who need to resurface in the NBA Finals 2017
Have you seen these men? They were last seen in the regular season and have since disappeared in the NBA playoffs.
Klay Thompson, Golden State Warriors
Regular Season Averages: 22.3 points, 3.7 rebounds, 2.1 assists, 47% shooting, 41% 3PT
Playoff Averages: 14.4 points, 3.5 rebounds, 2.0 assists, 38% shooting, 36% 3PT
The most notable disappearance so far in the NBA playoffs has been Klay Thompson, one-half of the feared Splash Brothers combo along with Steph Curry. It obviously has a lot to do with new teammate Kevin Durant chugging along and posting efficient playoff numbers.
With averages of 25.2 points 7.8 rebounds, 3.7 assists and 1.2 blocks on an amazing 56% shooting and 42% 3PT in the playoffs, Durant is fitting right along with the winning culture. This has come, however, at the expense of Thompson, who often looked lost in the mix and is just trying to make up for lost offensive touches with heightened efforts on defense. Unfortunately, even that has failed, as his defensive numbers have not increased from his usual career quota.
For now, Thompson should just sit tight and do what is asked from him, since they are the clear favorites to win the finals trilogy as of now. With Durant reportedly planning to stay in Oakland long term, he should start getting used to being relegated to role player status. On other teams, he is a bona fide superstar, but this is Golden State we’re talking about.
JR Smith, Cleveland Cavaliers
2015-2016 Season Averages: 12.4 points, 2.8 rebounds 1.7 assists, 42% shooting, 40% 3PT
2016-2017 Playoff Averages: 6.6 points, 2.6 rebounds, 0.8 assists, 48% shooting, 45% 3PT
Like his shirt, JR Smith’s offensive mojo has yet to be recovered.
Despite only playing 41 games this season due to injuries and family issues, Smith has shown flashes of his old gunner self although they have been few and far in between.
Blame playing alongside three of this era’s most decorated All-Stars all you want, but Smith has seemingly lost his aggressiveness on offense – his bread-and-butter.
This is still the JR Smith who once sank 43 points off the bench and has a personal record of 11 made threes in one game and multiple instances of recording 10 threes in a game. He has also set the single-game record for most attempted threes in NBA history with 22 (10 made) and the NBA record for most threes attempted in a game without taking a two-pointer at 17 (8 made).
Where is this JR Smith? He has stellar percentages this playoffs and he seems okay with not utilizing it. In Game 3 against the Boston Celtics, which is the Cavaliers’ only loss so far in the playoffs, he only had 13 points and 4 threes even though LeBron James was struggling mightily.
For Cleveland to defend its championship against what James describes as “that powerhouse out west,” Smith needs to step up and regain that assassin’s mentality he gained notoriety for several years ago.
Regardless of whether these key players regain their old form in the finals or not, Cleveland and Golden State will surely go all out on each other to gain their second championship in their historic trilogy.
Maybe if these 4 days left before the finals just vanished instead of these two players, all would be right in the world. – Rappler.com