The NBA Finals are often a stage where superstars arrive and cement their legacies and become true heroes for their teams. What often goes unnoticed however are the role players in the NBA Finals. There have been many examples in the past of role players who have been unlikely heroes for their teams.
Role Players in the NBA Finals | Who Will Fill Their Role Best?
In this series, I see the role players making an even bigger impact than in previous finals. Yes, there is star power all around with CP3, the Greek Freak, and Devin Booker.
There are even secondary stars such as Deandre Ayton, Jrue Holiday, and Khris Middleton. No doubt, their play is paramount to their team’s success.
Scrappy players like PJ Tucker, Jae Crowder, and Bobby Portis however will be huge. All three of these guys have something in common. They are all extremely physical and thrive on the defensive end of the court more than anything.
Not only do these guys lift the team directly with their play, but they can also galvanize the crowd and change the entire momentum of the game.
Look at Game 5 of the Eastern Conference Finals for example when the entire Bucks crowd was chanting Bobby Portis’ name. With Giannis out, it gave Milwaukee life and the entire game shifted after that point.
If they can disrupt the flow of the opposing team like they usually do, I see them causing a lot of issues. As they usually say, the best offense starts with good defense.
Another guy that has been a huge spark for the Suns this postseason is backup point guard Cameron Payne.
After almost being permanently out of the league, he made a huge name for himself as he has averaged ten points per game in 20 minutes of play. While ten points does not sound like a lot, it has provided Phoenix a huge luxury as they were able to trust Payne on the floor while Paul rests. I see his contributions playing an important role once again.
Out of all the players I mentioned, I believe the play of Bobby Portis for Milwaukee and Jae Crowder for Phoenix will be the most vital.
Portis is a hustler and fan favorite who is capable of going for a double-double off the bench on any given night. His shooting is also another component that should open up the Suns offense. The confidence he was able to generate for himself with Giannis out will only help him even more in The Finals.
I see Coach Butzeholzer trusting Portis, even more, to provide a spark off the bench.
As far as Crowder goes, he is the only player on either sideline who has had NBA Finals experience. His wisdom and knowledge should be huge for Phoenix when it comes down the stretch. If he is able to get hot from three and cause havoc on the defensive end like he usually does, I give The Suns a great chance to win it all.