VA
  • TGT on YouTube
  • About TGT
  • The TGT Team
  • How TGT rates
  • Responsible Gambling Advice
  • Contact Our Team
  • Writers Wanted
  • Content Disclaimer
  • Affiliate Disclosure
Contains commercial content
Billboard Left
Billboard Left
The Grueling Truth - Where Legends Speak / 5 X-Factor Players That Could Dictate the 2018 NBA Finals

5 X-Factor Players That Could Dictate the 2018 NBA Finals

5 X-Factors for the 2018 NBA Finals!
Publish Date: 05/31/2018
Fact checked by: Mark Lewis

With the 2018 NBA Finals ready to tip off, here’s a look at four x-factors that could dramatically impact the series.

The 2018 NBA Finals arrive on Thursday night, with the yearly meet-up between the Cleveland Cavaliers and Golden State Warriors going into round four.

If this were a heavyweight bout, the Dubs would be leading in punches thrown and landed, having gone up 2-1 in the NBA’s title series over the last three years.

The Cavs would be in their corner nursing an eye that has swollen shut and a burst lip.

You can tell that just by looking at how Vegas sees this series, as the Dubs are massive -800 favorites.

Golden State has been the main favorite to win again after easily dispatching the Cavs a year ago, though, so none of this should be much of a shock.

While the Dubs are clear favorites and will probably win, there are certainly a few reasons why the Cavs could win. One of them is without a doubt the presence of some x-factors that could shake this whole thing up.

Said x-factors reside on both sides of this series and there are at least five that could end up dictating how this thing unfolds:

J.R. Smith, SG, Cleveland Cavaliers

I’m sure this series ultimately comes down to the star talent, but if the Cavs are going to win, they’ll need to do two things at an elite level; tighten up their porous defense and hit shots from outside.

Smith has always been known as a capable perimeter defender, so if he can man up and effectively cover Klay Thompson and/or slow down Stephen Curry, it’d be a big win for Cleveland.

His offensive game needs to be alive in this series, too. Smith has the ability to catch fire from long range as evidenced by his 37% deep ball percentage during the regular season.

If he can actually hit shots and provide timely offense while defending at a high level, he could be a key component to Cleveland’s plight to flip the script in this year’s Finals.

Andre Iguodala, G/F, Golden State Warriors

Iggy won’t suit up in game one and he seems to genuinely be ailing with a knee injury, but the former Finals MVP is going to be a major key to this series, one way or another.

Simply being out for any amount of time could create a huge hole for the Dubs, who rely on Iguodala for his playmaking, defensive intensity and outside shooting.

Not having Iggy at their disposal hurts their “Hamptons 5” dream squad and also saps their bench.

On the flip side, Iggy still has the ability to completely alter the course of games with his scoring and defense. If he’s healthy and plays well, it could be a massive boost for the defending champs.

Larry Nance, F/C, Cleveland Cavaliers

Going back to the Cavs, I think they may need more than just one x-factor if they’re going to pull off quite possibly the biggest NBA Finals upset ever.

Throw in the Kevin Love injury (as well as his poor play) and it’s very likely the Cavs will turn to some bench guys they had otherwise left to die in previous playoff series.

Nance could be a hero in this series, as he can get easy buckets down low, rebounds well and can be a real force in the shot-altering and shot-blocking department.

There is a very real narrative brewing here considering Nance’s dad spent half of his career with the Cavs. Nance has flashed brilliance thus far in his career, but just imagine him effectively manning the five spot when Golden State goes small.

Whether he plays the four or five, Nance may be handed a chance to prove he can change the outcome of this series. If he can play like he did in spurts while with the Lakers, he could step up and be a true X-factor.

Kevon Looney, F/C, Golden State Warriors

Depending on Iggy’s status and/or whether or not Draymond Green finds himself in trouble via suspension at some point in this series, Looney may be called upon for big minutes.

Golden State has already been confiding in the young UCLA product, handing him around 20 minutes most night during the playoffs.

Perhaps it’s because they see a time in the Finals where they’ll need him or they truly believe he’s another Draymond Green in the making.

Either way, Looney has the ability to defend at a high level and allows the Dubs to go small. If he’s needed with Green or Iggy ailing, he could end up being a key to their championship puzzle.

Kyle Korver, G/F, Cleveland Cavaliers

Last, but certainly not least, is Korver. This is a 37-year old sharpshooter that continues to chase his first ring in the NBA and of everyone on this list, he fills the role as x-factor most easily.

Korver has provided far more reliable offense than J.R. Smith and he plays more than Nance, while he’s even stepped it up as a defender during the playoffs.

If anyone is going to bail the Cavs out and chip in huge outings and alter the state of the 2018 NBA Finals, it might be him.

One big reason? He literally had a chance to do that in 2017 and missed a wide-open baseline three that he’d normally make in his sleep.

There may come a time (or two) where King James again defers to Korver in such situations and if his elite outside shooting can pull through, he just might be the missing link for the Cavs.

In the end, this is 100% Golden State’s championship to lose and betting on the Cavs is probably a huge waste of time.

That being said, if guys like Smith, Korver, and Nance can chip in better than expected performances and stars like Love and James beast out like they should, Cleveland could just be on their way to being the best underdog story in league history.

Billboard Left
Billboard Left
Read Also
Esteban de Jesus, Roberto Duran y AIDS (1972-89)
Many of us dream of celebrity sports fame, but only cruel individuals ...
Elmer Ray: The Humble Man of Hastings
"Men judge generally more by the eye than by the hand, for ...
SI Sportsbook Promo
Grading every NFL team’s picks from the 2021 NFL Draft
Quickly, click away if you’re going to get upset by reading draft ...
Daniel K’s 2021 NFL Draft Position Rankings/Draft Grades
  Round Grade Big Board Rank Position Rank Player Name Position College ...
Peter Maher: An Irish Tribute
INTRO: I was seriously ill in 2018 with 7 nights in the ...
Ranking the top 200 players in the NFL ahead of the 2021 season
This list isn’t based solely on performances from the 2020 NFL season. ...
Jack Moriarty and 1880’s Canadian Boxing
Sports journalist, Ed Fitkin, worked in print journalism at Toronto’s Daily Globe would find ...
The Forgotten Canadian Champion (And Maybe It’s Deserved): Billy Hawkins
As Mike Goodpaster and I prepare our popular Old-Time Boxing Show podcast, ...
The Army Boxer Who Knocked-Down Muhammad Ali (1960)
I had wanted to write a boxing story about Junebug Hudson for ...
Sportsbook of the month
SI Sportsbook - Get your Free Bet now! Get your Free Bet now!
Top Brands
Top Bonuses
Stake.us
Stake.us
Stake.us Review
98/100
Wow Vegas
Wow Vegas
Wow Vegas Review
97/100
Golden Hearts Games
Golden Hearts Games
Golden Hearts Games Review
95/100
Fortune Coins
Fortune Coins
Fortune Coins Review
93/100
SweepSlots
SweepSlots
SweepSlots Review
93/100
Stake.us
Stake.us Bonus
5% Rakeback
T&Cs apply
9.8/10
Wow Vegas
Wow Vegas Bonus
30 SCs on 1st Purchase + 4.5 SCs FREE
T&Cs apply
9.7/10
Golden Hearts Games
Golden Hearts Games Bonus
Join GOLDEN2000 for 2,000 FREE coins
T&Cs apply
9.5/10
Fortune Coins
Fortune Coins Bonus
140k GC + 400 FC
T&Cs apply
9.3/10
SweepSlots
SweepSlots Bonus
1,000 Gold Coins Daily
T&Cs apply
9.3/10
Latest News
Top15 Teams in College Basketball History
The Wolfpack became the first team since 1965-66 ...
Top 10 Hitters of the 1990s
Mike Piazza did not get to play for ...
Betting Tips
Our Latest YouTube Videos
Video: Froggy Talkin Sports W/ Ryan & Joe
Froggy Talkin Sports W/ Ryan & Joe
Video: NFL🏈 Prediction Show: Is the NFL Rigged? Conference Championship review
NFL Prediction Show: Is the NFL Rigged? Conference Championship review
Video: AFC 🏈Championship Game Preview: Bengals vs Chiefs
AFC Championship Game Preview: Bengals vs Chiefs
Sportsbook of the month
SI Sportsbook - Get your Free Bet now! Get your Free Bet now!
Find out what the legends have to say about sports this week....
Top Online Casinos
Top Casinos Bonuses
Stake.us
Stake.us
Stake.us Review
98/100
Wow Vegas
Wow Vegas
Wow Vegas Review
97/100
Golden Hearts Games
Golden Hearts Games
Golden Hearts Games Review
95/100
Fortune Coins
Fortune Coins
Fortune Coins Review
93/100
SweepSlots
SweepSlots
SweepSlots Review
93/100
Stake.us
Stake.us Bonus
5% Rakeback
T&Cs apply
9.8/10
Wow Vegas
Wow Vegas Bonus
30 SCs on 1st Purchase + 4.5 SCs FREE
T&Cs apply
9.7/10
Golden Hearts Games
Golden Hearts Games Bonus
Join GOLDEN2000 for 2,000 FREE coins
T&Cs apply
9.5/10
Fortune Coins
Fortune Coins Bonus
140k GC + 400 FC
T&Cs apply
9.3/10
SweepSlots
SweepSlots Bonus
1,000 Gold Coins Daily
T&Cs apply
9.3/10
Top Betting Sites
Top Betting Bonuses
SI Sportsbook
SI Sportsbook
SI Sportsbook Review
97/100
FanDuel
FanDuel
FanDuel Review
96/100
Bet365
Bet365
Bet365 Review
94/100
PointsBet
PointsBet
PointsBet Review
94/100
BetMGM
BetMGM
BetMGM Review
93/100
SI Sportsbook
SI Sportsbook Bonus
BET $20 GET $200 IN FREE BETS
T&Cs apply
9.7/10
First deposit only | 21+ & located in VA | Promo code as seen| A qualifying bet is $20 or more | Min odds of +120 or more | Free Bet Tokens credited after bet is settled and expire after 7 days | Free Bet stakes not included in winnings | Please Gamble Responsibly - Gambling Problem? VA: CALL 1-888-532-3500 | Full T&C apply
FanDuel
FanDuel Bonus
No Sweat First Bet up to $3,000
T&Cs apply
9.6/10
Bet365
Bet365 Bonus
Bet $1, Get $200
T&Cs apply
9.4/10
BetMGM
BetMGM Bonus
100% up to $1000
T&Cs apply
9.3/10
DraftKings
DraftKings Bonus
20% up to $1000
T&Cs apply
9.2/10
Our Team
Mike GoodpasterAuthor IconJosh SchwartzSamuel TeetsMark Lewis
+8
Mike Goodpaster
Mike Goodpaster
Chief Editor
Author Icon
Christopher Carlson
Content Writer
Josh Schwartz
Josh Schwartz
Editor
Samuel Teets
Samuel Teets
US Sports Veteran
Mark Lewis
Mark Lewis
Editor
Simon Briffa
Simon Briffa
Sports Editor
Chris Benedict
Chris Benedict
Editor
Author Icon
Malik Zorrok
Author
Author Icon
Daniel Kornhauser
Author
John Raspanti
John Raspanti
Author
Author Icon
Buddy Gibbs
Author
Brian Coburn
Brian Coburn
Author
Peter Bonahoom
Peter Bonahoom
Author
Find out what the legends have to say about sports this week....

If you enjoy hearing from the legends of pro sports, then be sure to tune into “The Grueling Truth” sports shows, “Where the legends speak”

Contact us: [email protected]

Players must be 21 years of age or older or reach the minimum age for gambling in their respective state and located in jurisdictions where online gambling is legal. Please play responsibly. Bet with your head, not over it. If you or someone you know has a gambling problem, and wants help, call or visit: (a) the Council on Compulsive Gambling of New Jersey at 1-800-Gambler or www.800gambler.org; or (b) Gamblers Anonymous at 855-2-CALL-GA or www.gamblersanonymous.org.

This site is using Cloudflare and adheres to the Google Safe Browsing Program. We adapted Google's Privacy Guidelines to keep your data safe at all times.

sdfgfdgcsdfgfdgcww
Move to Top
Close
Stake.us Exclusive Bonus
5% Rakeback
Promo Code
Copy
Visit Site
T&Cs apply, 21+
Payment Methods
Bitcoin
Litecoin
Ethereum
Dogecoin
Highlights
  • Social casino loved by Drake!
  • Play Plinko, Hilo, Crash and more!
  • Get Stake Cash bonuses every day!
Stake Originals
Dice
Crash
Plinko
Mines
×
Your Bonus Code:
The bonus offer of was already opened in an additional window. If not, you can open it also by clicking the following link:
Visit Site