We all know that LeBron James, Kyrie Irving, and Kevin Love will be the most important parts of the Cleveland Cavaliers' run in the NBA Finals. We also can pretty well guarantee the other starters, J.R. Smith and Tristan Thompson will have to contribute as well. But, that got me wondering. Who do Cavs fans think will be the most important of the "other guys" not in the starting lineup? I put it out to a Twitter poll and here's how the results ended up between Iman Shumpert, Matthew Dellavedova, Channing Frye and Richard Jefferson.
4. Richard Jefferson: 6%
He may be number one on Snapchat, but Richard Jefferson didn't win the voting among Cavs fans. I don't get the sense that Cavs fans dislike Richard Jefferson or wanted to minimize his potential for contribution, but I think they did see more upside with some of the other players, especially in a series against the Warriors. Richard Jefferson has been solid all around this playoffs, but he's not shined in any area specifically. He hasn't bombed from three, hitting just 14 in the 14 playoff games thus far. He has played solid defense, but nothing flashy. He's averaged just over 5 points per game in the playoffs. Richard Jefferson could prove everyone wrong and become the most valuable "other guy" but I agree with fans that he's not the best bet among the candidates.
3. Iman Shumpert: 11%
This rating by Cavs fans screams defense to me. It also screams to the needs the Cavaliers will need to fill playing against the Warriors. When talking to a friend about Klay Thompson, we wondered what approximation of Thompson that Kyle Korver might be. I think that Korver is like 65-70% of what Klay Thompson is. The Cavaliers won't be able to shut off Thompson the way they did Korver, but their best chance of minimizing him is using Iman Shumpert for parts of games to harass him. Oh and I guess Shumpert plays offense, but his drives to the hole or spot-up shooting have to be considered after-thoughts to his value on defense.
2. Matthew Dellavedova: 16%
Delly hasn't had nearly the same impact on these playoffs as he did a year ago. A large part of that is based on the lesser necessity the Cavs have had for their "dirty" defender Delly. Even with less emphasis on Delly, it's hard to argue he isn't a better player in 2016. He's refined his three-point shooting and has gained chemistry with both LeBron James and Tristan Thompson on the pick-and-roll. Despite his three-point shooting, Delly only hit one three in the series with Toronto, and none in the final five games of that series. His defense is still very good and he annoys opponents, but his game hasn't felt like the same level of "stopper" that it felt like he accomplished a year ago. Most of the vote here would seem to call back to a year ago where Delly left it all on the line (and in the hospital) in the Finals against the Warriors. Delly could prove to be a thorn in the side of the best player on the Warriors, but who beats Delly in this "other guy" vote?
1. Channing Frye: 67%
Maybe the choice of Channing Frye is wishful thinking on the part of Cavs fans who must face the reality of life with Anderson Varejao as an NBA Finals opponent. Or maybe it's the 33-year-old's penchant for bombing from behind the arc. Channing Frye has proven to be that guy who can step up on a given night and get so hot from three that he is the difference. Frye scored 27 in a game against the Hawks on the road. He made 10 of 13 shots including seven threes. That was before his birthday, however. Now that Channing Frye is 33, we just have no idea what he's got left. (Yes, that last part was a joke.)
Here's the way the poll looked on Twitter.