2018 NBA Playoffs: Position-By-Position Breakdown Of Cleveland Cavaliers-Indiana Pacers
Indiana Pacers vs. Cleveland Cavaliers
2018 NBA Playoffs Positional Preview
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The Cleveland Cavaliers and Indiana Pacers meet in the first round of the Eastern Conference Playoffs.
Point Guard - George Hill is a veteran presence who makes sure guys are in the right position and can hit the three ball, but he’s not the playmaker that Darren Collison is. Collison is playing some of the best basketball of his life and is nearly shooting 47 percent from deep. If he gets going and that swagger comes out, the Cavs are in for a long series.
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Shooting Guard - Rodney Hood is a good defender and isn’t going to hurt your team, but he’s inconsistent as a scorer and can go stretches where you forget he’s on the court. Victor Oladipo always had the ability to be the face of a franchise, and he’s showing it this year, averaging 23.1 points on 47.7 percent shooting, which includes making countless big shots. Something tells me Oladipo isn’t satisfied with proving himself in the regular season, either.
Small Forward - The Cavaliers have some guy named LeBron James. It doesn’t matter who is on the other side, he’s not LeBron James. Nothing to see here.
Center - Kevin Love is the other reliable playmaker for the Cavs, and he’ll be key to another title run, but the question is how long will he be on the court given his lengthy injury history. Myles Turner is that young playmaker who jumps off the screen when watching him but doesn’t get much national attention. I’ve been driving the Turner hype train since he stepped in the league, as he’s a great inside-outside player and is a matchup problem for most teams. Love is good when he’s on the court, but he’s not a game changer like Turner has the potential to be.
Power Forward - Both Jeff Green and Thaddeus Young are consistent double-digit scorers and defend their position well. Young is the more physical presence who cleans up the glass, while Green is the athlete who runs the floor well and can catch a defense slacking. It really depends which you prefer, but for me, this is pretty much a draw, as neither of these guys are going to get the best of the other.
Bench - The Pacers have a more than respectable bench in Domantas Sabonis, Cory Joseph, Al Jefferson and Lance Stephenson, who is only productive when playing in Indiana for whatever reason. However, the Cavs have many bodies from their bench they can throw at you such as JR Smith, Kyle Korver, Larry Nance Jr., Jordan Clarkson, Jose Calderon and Tristian Thompson. None of those guys are exactly difference makers, but they all get meaningful minutes and are capable of doing their job well. The point of a bench is to be deep and be able to hold down the fort while the starters rest. There’s serious flaws with these Cavs, but the bench isn’t one of them.
Coach - Nate McMillan has made the playoffs both years since returning to coaching, and he deserves major props for taking this team to the playoffs. While I had this team making the playoffs before the season, after Paul George left, many considered the Pacers dead in the water. As for Tyronn Lue, you have to question just how much he coaches this team with LeBron on the sidelines. You also have to question why the Cavs played better basketball when Lue was on his leave of absence. I’m just not sold on the Cavs head coach
Overall - Cavs in 7 (Those who have followed me all year know I’m not high on these Cavs at all, and I wouldn’t be shocked if they lost this series. The Pacers a feisty, solid bunch that won’t back down. The Cavs are soft, don’t play defense and don’t have another go-to scorer to take pressure off LeBron. Still, I’ll side with home court advantage and the best player of all time. But I’m not confident.)