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J.R. Smith.

The 3 rotation players that could help decide the 2017 NBA Finals

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After 1.5 months of grueling playoff series, the Golden State Warriors and Cleveland Cavaliers will meet in the 2017 NBA Finals - just like many experts predicted before the season even started.

Though neither team was particularly challenged by an opponent this postseason - the Warriors are 12-0 and the Cavs are 12-1 - the Finals should be a different animal, as everything is now on the line.

It's the third-straight year that the two talented squads have met in the Finals, with each team having won once. That makes this year's title round even more important, as both the Cavs and Warriors want to be remembered as this generation's most-talented team.

We all know stars like Golden State's Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant, Draymond Green and Klay Thompson and Cleveland's LeBron James, Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love will show up and be great, but the series will likely be decided by some lesser role players who need to step up in key moments.

Here's a look at three rotation players who could help sway this Finals series in favor of their squads.

Toronto Raptors v Cleveland Cavaliers - Game One

J.R. Smith, Cleveland Cavaliers

After missing half the regular season with a thumb injury, Smith has started all 13 playoff games for the Cavs thus far.

However, while averaging 26.2 minutes per game, he's only putting up 6.6 points and 2.6 rebounds - not what we've come to expect from Swish.

One of the greatest heat-check scorers in the game, Smith will need to have one of his trademark irrational confidence games where he scores 20 or more points if the Cavs are going to have a shot at winning this year's title.

Golden State Warriors v Oklahoma City Thunder

Andre Iguodala, Golden State Warriors

Iguodala was the 2015 NBA Finals MVP, and will also be remembered as the player who got his layup attempt swatted by LeBron James in the 2016 Finals, so he has a knack for being present in the biggest moments of the championship round.

After missing Game 2 of the Western Conference Finals with knee soreness, Iggy is back in the Warriors' rotation and will be a huge part of their second unit when this year's Finals start.

Iguodala scored 16 points in Game 3 of Golden State's first-round series against the Portland Trail Blazers, but he can affect the game in other ways as well, as evidenced by his 10 rebounds in Game 2 of that series.

New York Knicks v Cleveland Cavaliers

Kyle Korver, Cleveland Cavaliers

Korver is one of the greatest three-point shooters ever to play in the NBA, but he hasn't had the greatest season in Cleveland after coming over from the Atlanta Hawks.

When he's hot, he can single-handedly change a game from beyond the arc, like he did in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference semifinals against the Toronto Raptors, when he scored 18 points and made four of his six threes.

After making only six shots (all threes) in the entire conference finals against the Celtics, Korver needs to make better use of his minutes against the Warriors if he wants to earn his first championship ring.

Topics:
NBA
LeBron James
Cleveland Cavaliers
Central Division
Eastern Conference
Kevin Durant
Oklahoma City Thunder
Northwest Division
Western Conference

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