2013 NBA Playoffs: 10 Most Important Players for Finals Series

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Who Are the Most Important Players in this Series?

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Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

We finally have our 2013 NBA Finals matchup as the Miami Heat will look to repeat when they face the San Antonio Spurs starting on Thursday night. This is the best possible matchup--in all honesty--that the NBA could have asked for and I think we will be seeing a six or seven game series with these two teams playing. I have identified who I think are the 10 most important players in this matchup.

The two teams played twice in the regular season with neither team being at full strength for one reason or another, as the Spurs rested players when they were in Miami and the Heat doing the same when they went to San Antonio. That means that it is really a matchup of teams who don’t know everything about their opponent. I think that also makes it a series that is even more watchable than it has been in the past for that fact.

There will be many chess games played between the two coaches in this series and you will notice that I have listed those players alternating between the Heat and Spurs so the top two on the list mean the most in this series for their team. I can only hope that the series lives up to the hype around it. Will this be the final year of the Big 3 in Miami? Can the Spurs win their fourth title in the last 15 years? We will get the answer to at least one of those questions over the next two weeks. Here are my 10 most important players in the 2013 NBA Finals.

Andy Schmidt is a columnist/writer for RantSports. Follow him on Twitter @ASchmidtSports, like his Facebook page or add him to your network on Google.

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10. Shane Battier

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Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

Battier’s role is being a defensive stopper and will be needed in this series after playing just four minutes over the last two games of the conference finals. He is averaging just six points a game, but should see more time in the Finals.

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9. Kawhi Leonard

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Brendan Maloney-USA TODAY Sports

Leonard’s defense is why he makes this list. His job will be to slow down LeBron James as well as he can. He is also averaging 13 points and eight rebounds a game in the postseason.

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8. Ray Allen

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Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports

Allen may be a bench player these days, but I wouldn’t want another player shooting a late-game three-pointer. He is scoring 10 points a game in the playoffs.

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7. Tiago Splitter

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Nelson Chenault-USA TODAY Sports

Splitter is very important for when he gives Tim Duncan a break. He is averaging only 6.8 points a game, but if he can help give enough rest to Duncan, his importance can’t be measured.

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6. LeBron James

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Robert Mayer-USA TODAY Sports

It is surprising that James is this low on the list, but everyone knows that he will dominate play in his own way. He is averaging 26.2 points, 7.3 rebounds and 6.4 assists a game in the postseason.

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5. Manu Ginobili

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Spruce Derden-USA TODAY Sports

Ginobili got a long break in between games, which will help him in a big way. He is averaging 11.5 points, 5.4 assists and 4.5 rebounds per game in the playoffs.

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4. Chris Bosh

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Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

Bosh needs to step it up in this series for Miami. He didn’t hit double figures in scoring during the last four games of the conference finals and is averaging only 12.3 points a game in the playoffs.

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3. Tony Parker

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Spruce Derden-USA TODAY Sports

Parker must control the game from his point guard position for San Antonio to win this series. He is averaging 23 points and 7.2 assists a game this postseason.

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2. Dwyane Wade

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Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

Wade has been dealing with some injury issues and is averaging just 14.1 points a game in the postseason. I wouldn’t look past him, though, after having a couple days off before the Finals start.

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1. Tim Duncan

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Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

Duncan has been consistent all season and is averaging 17.8 points and 9.2 rebounds a game in the postseason. He is the most important player for the Spurs to get another championship.

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