Player #2: Willie Cauley-Stein
It is vital that Willie Cauley-Stein has a great performance tonight. For New Orleans, two of their top contributors are Anthony Davis and Julius Randle, both who play the big man position. Nikola Mirotic is also another big who is key to New Orleans’ success, but he is currently listed doubtful for today’s game due to an ankle injury.
Davis and Randle are machines in the paint. Not only are they volume scorers, but both rebound the ball efficiently and can defend the rim as well. Based on their averages, they combine for over 47 points, 16 rebounds, and seven assists a game.
I cannot stress enough that Willie needs to show out on both ends of the court today. Offensively, he needs to be effective in his decision making whether it is to use his athleticism to drive to the rim or dish it out to one of his teammates with a better shot attempt. Defensively, he has to find a way to limit the Pelicans’ two-headed monster, both in scoring and rebounding the ball.
If Willie does find success in stopping Davis and Randle tonight, it will escalate the Kings’ chances in winning this contest.