During the NBA Finals, Rey Moralde of The No Look Pass will be contributing to Project Spurs during the San Antonio Spurs' chase for title number five.
The Finals between the San Antonio Spurs against the Miami Heat should be a real good one. It has that "old guard" against "new guard" feel, even though this is the first time the Spurs have been in the championship round since 2007, this core has been winning titles since 2003 (since 1999 with just Tim Duncan). Miami, of course, is the defending champions.
But, really, who are the X-factors in this series for each team?
SPURS: Tiago Splitter
Splitter is no Roy Hibbert but he's still a big body that clogs up the lane, which Miami had trouble against Indiana. And with Duncan inside as well, Miami will probably attack the Spurs like they did the Pacers in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals.
We know what Duncan can do but he'll probably be pulled out of the key by either Udonis Haslem or Chris Bosh. It is up to Splitter to protect the rim, which was especially showcased against the Memphis Grizzlies.
As for the offense, Splitter has steadily improved over the years and has become a very good roll man in the pick and roll. He has also shown some passing skills that has surprised opponents in the playoffs. Splitter didn't get off to a hot start in the postseason but he was much better in the Grizzlies series, averaging 8.8 points per game. Anything closer to his 10.3 points per game in the regular season would be great for San Antonio.
HEAT: Dwyane Wade
What? But he's one of the "superstars!" Hear me out, though.
Wade is obviously not 100 percent (he's averaging 14.1 PPG in the playoffs, seven points less than the regular season) but either Wade or Bosh has to play well for the Heat to win the series. And I think Wade is more of the X-factor as the Heat have won with Bosh not playing well (Bosh has had four straight games of single digits).
But the 2006 Finals MVP has looked really awful at times with that shaky knee of his. It took a big Game 7 from Wade (21 points and nine rebounds) to beat the Pacers. Yes, it was a blowout but getting Wade started was key for them to set the tone. He had talked about wanting more of a role in the offense and while he received such criticism over that, he's right. LeBron can't do it alone and Wade should be the one stepping up.
Dwyane Wade also has to take care of the ball. Danny Green is a very underrated defender and he can bother perimeter players with the best of 'em. We all know Wade is prone to turnovers, especially with his nasty habit of jump-passing. And with Wade ailing, can he keep track of Green, who is one of the Spurs' deadly three-point shooters. Or are they going to "hide" Wade with Kawhi Leonard, which doesn't sound appealing, either?
I feel Chris Bosh is going to be okay. He should be more comfortable playing against the finesse bigs of the Spurs, as opposed to Indiana's physical play. Wade on the other hand? When he falls down seven times, he'd better get up eight.