DeMarre Carroll, J.R. Smith among postseason's top 10 role players

Dale Zanine/USA TODAY Sports

With a Finals matchup between the Golden State Warriors and Cleveland Cavaliers looming as all but inevitable, there will be lots of forthcoming chatter about MVP past (LeBron James) and MVP present (Stephen Curry). There are lots of good reasons for that, not the least of which is how the wildly differing physiques of the pair reminds us that MVPs can come in many forms.

Yet for this star-studded showdown to happen, the Warriors and Cavaliers have needed key contributions from non-star players. It's always that way. Role players step up this time of the year every season. Because of the nature of the playoffs, where coaches make game-by-game adjustments and then adjustments to their adjustments, role players are the chess pieces that allow these schematic tweaks to happen. So before we get lost in MVP glitter, let's shine a light on the non-stars who have made the biggest contributions to their respective teams during the postseason.