Golden State Warriors v Cleveland Cavaliers

How things have changed since Warriors-Cavs I

lebron-james-stephen-curry-053018-ftr
Cavaliers forward LeBron James guards Stephen Curry of the Golden State Warriors (Getty Images)

For the fourth time in as many years, the NBA Finals will feature both the Golden State Warriors and Cleveland Cavaliers.

The matchup may be the same, but the teams have undergone a number of changes to their respective rosters. In total, 10 players remain from the first series three years ago.

In a league where change is inevitable, much has changed since the teams first met in 2015…

Golden State Warriors

Four of the Warriors' five starters from the 2015 Finals-clinching Game 6 remain in the first unit three years later - Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Andre Iguodala and Draymond Green. The lone missing piece, Harrison Barnes, signed with the Dallas Mavericks in 2016 after Golden State signed 2014 league MVP Kevin Durant.

Notable veterans such as Leandro Barbosa, David Lee and Andrew Bogut are no longer in the NBA, but the Warriors have rebuilt through the draft. Since winning in 2015, Golden State has acquired Kevon Looney, Patrick McCaw, Damian Jones and Jordan Bell on draft day. Reserve guard Quinn Cook was also not in the NBA at the time.

The Warriors have also acquired veterans JaVale McGee, Zaza Pachulia, David West and Nick Young via free agency since their first title.

2014-15 2017-18
Head Coach Steve Kerr Steve Kerr
Starters Stephen Curry Stephen Curry
Klay Thompson Klay Thompson
Harrison Barnes Kevin Durant
Andre Iguodala* Andre Iguodala
Draymond Green Draymond Green
Reserves Shaun Livingston Shaun Livingston
Andrew Bogut* Kevon Looney
Leandro Barbosa Quinn Cook
Festus Ezeli Jordan Bell
Justin Holiday Nick Young
David Lee David West
Ognen Kuzmic Zaza Pachulia
James McAdoo Damian Jones
Brandon Rush Patrick McCaw
Marreese Speights JaVale McGee

* Iguodala was inserted into the starting lineup in Game 4 of the 2015 Finals in place of Andrew Bogut, who started in Games 1-3.


Cleveland Cavaliers

From top to bottom, Cleveland looks much different than it did three years ago. In fact, the team has undergone a multitude of changes since the beginning of the 2017-18 season.

In the 2015 Finals, the Cavs were led by head coach David Blatt - for the third consecutive year, Tyronn Lue will be at the helm in the Finals after replacing Blatt in January 2016.

Cleveland's starting unit consists of four members of the 2015 Finals team: LeBron James, Kevin Love, JR Smith and Tristan Thompson. The most glaring absence is of course Kyrie Irving, who was dealt to the Boston Celtics in the 2017 offseason. Irving has been replaced by veteran guard George Hill in the starting lineup.

The Cavs had made a number of trades since the first installment of the series, acquiring Kyle Korver, Jordan Clarkson, Larry Nance Jr., Rodney Hood and Ante Zizic through various deals. The free agent acquisitons of Jeff Green and Jose Calderon have paid dividends throughout the postseason.

Kendrick Perkins, a late-season acquisition in 2018, was also a member of the 2015 Finals team. He has not appeared in a postseason game but has been an important veteran presence.

Cleveland acquired the draft rights of energetic wing Cedi Osman just nine days after losing to the Warriors in the 2015 Finals. Osman joined the team for the 2017-18 season. Second-year forward Okaro White signed with the Cavs a week before the 2017-18 season ended to round out the roster.

2014-15 2017-18
Head Coach David Blatt Tyronn Lue
Starters Kyrie Irving George Hill
Iman Shumpert JR Smith
LeBron James LeBron James
Kevin Love/Tristan Thompson* Kevin Love
Timofey Mozgov Tristan Thompson
Reserves JR Smith Jeff Green
James Jones Kyle Korver
Matthew Dellavedova Jordan Clarkson
Shawn Marion Larry Nance Jr.
Mike Miller Rodney Hood
Joe Harris Jose Calderon
Brendan Haywood Cedi Osman
Kendrick Perkins Kendrick Perkins
Anderson Varejao Ante Zizic
Okaro White


* Love started in four games in the 2018 postseason before being sidelined with a shoulder injury. Thompson replaced Love, starting in 15 of 20 postseason games at power forward.

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