LeBron James has to do everything all the time. He played the full 48 in the Cleveland Cavaliers' remarkable, ugly and only somewhat surprising 87-79 victory in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference finals, leading them past the Boston Celtics and dragging them to a fourth straight NBA Finals matchup with the Golden State Warriors. His stat line of 35 points, 15 rebounds and nine assists somehow understated just how much responsibility he had on every possession — it is his job to run the offense, create scoring opportunities for teammates, score in the 30s or 40s and defend every position. 

As you've likely heard after every Cavs loss in the playoffs, this team has a depth problem. It is up to James to make up for it with individual brilliance. 

On a typical offensive possession, James might slow things to a halt, direct his shooters to space the floor and call for a pick-and-roll, targeting a specific matchup. When he gets a slower or smaller defender on him, he might keep pounding the ball and sizing up the defense until he seizes an opportunity to strike. Sometimes, an advantage results in an open shot for himself or teammate; other times, it results in a contested looks that only James and a few other masters of the craft can make look easy. 

In transition, James might push the pace, using his speed and power to get to the rim regardless of who is in his way. On Sunday, in one of the most unconventional and unfathomable fast breaks you will ever see, he finished through four defenders while getting fouled.

All of this is hard work. Some of it is by design. During the 2015 Finals, then-Cleveland general manager David Griffin told Zach Lowe, then of Grantland, that James' performance with an undermanned roster taught him a lesson about how to build a team around James. 

"We have very clear role delineation with this team, and I've learned a lot about that," Griffin said. "LeBron needs to have the ball so much for you to be as good as you can be, and you need to be very selective about the guys who get to have it when he doesn't."

Unlike his last three Finals battles with the Warriors, James will not have the luxury of letting Kyrie Irving go to work against their set defense. Cleveland just doesn't have much playmaking outside of James, which is why it looks like such a different team when George Hill is aggressive. It is not even a sure thing that Kevin Love will be available at the start of the series, per coach Tyronn Lue -- if he misses any time, it will put even more pressure on James' to be a scorer and cramp the Cavs' spacing. 

Even if you accept that putting the ball in James' hands for most of the game is a feature, not a bug, it is hard to argue that this Cleveland roster is as complete as it needs to be. It is not as if the front office has stacked the team with Trevor Ariza and P.J. Tucker types, who provide versatility, toughness and 3-point shooting. James needs shooters to space the floor, and he has four of those in the starting lineup when Love is at center and Tristan Thompson is coming off the bench. The problem is that they all have limitations defensively, and Golden State will do everything it can to exploit them. 

Entering the Finals, the Cavs' ability to simply hang with the Warriors is in question. Most of that is because of a bunch of smaller questions: Will Thompson be a crucial role player (like he did two years ago) or struggle to stay on the court (like he did one year ago)? Can they get away with playing Kyle Korver major minutes if Golden State constantly targets him? Can midseason additions Larry Nance Jr., Jordan Clarkson and Rodney Hood give Cleveland anything at all? James has already played 100 games this season, but his most challenging task will be turning these Cavs into more than the sum of their parts against a team that starts four All-Stars. 

Jordan Bell screaming
Jordan Bell has been in and out of the Warriors' rotation. USATSI

While the Warriors have no shortage of star power, the Western Conference finals exposed some issues in terms of roster construction. Despite having three of the best shooters in NBA history, they sometimes used five-man units that couldn't space the floor particularly well. Despite starting the NBA's shift toward defenses geared around similarly sized players switching and clogging passing lanes with length, they had obvious weak spots defensively. Big men twiddled thumbs on the bench, making the offseason additions of Nick Young and the since-waived Omri Casspi look misguided in hindsight.

Golden State persevered, but no honest evaluation of the series can ignore that it was vulnerable. If Chris Paul and Luc Richard Mbah a Moute had been healthy, would the Warriors have survived? It's impossible to answer, but there were moments in the deciding game where it looked like they might lose even with the Houston Rockets being down to one All-Star compared to their four. 

Young might have to play serious minutes in the Finals, depending on Andre Iguodala's health, and you can already picture LeBron seeking him out on switches. Shaun Livingston is the only reserve who allows  Golden State to approximate the "Hamptons 5" lineup without Iguodala, and he is not a threat to shoot from the perimeter. The Warriors' five best players might be unbeatable together, but if any of them is injured or in foul trouble, the team can look drastically different. 

It would be unreasonable to equate Cleveland's flawed supporting cast with Golden State's imperfect one. On the whole, the Warriors are much more talented -- they employ four top-20 players and Iguodala would probably be the third-best Cav. If there is any concern at all about the defending champions, it is because we don't know Iguodala's status or what the rotation will look like.

It is notable that Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant and Draymond Green all needed to play 44 minutes to beat the Rockets in Game 7 on Monday. It is telling that Quinn Cook was on the floor in crunch time in Game 5 last Thursday. Patrick McCaw got some run in last year's Finals and was put on the active roster before Game 6 on Saturday, but it is difficult to imagine Kerr throwing him out there in the Finals after missing two months with a spinal injury. 

Kevon Looney and Jordan Bell were the only big men Kerr trusted by the end of the Houston series. Could David West, Zaza Pachulia or JaVale McGee get a chance when when Tristan Thompson is on the court? It is possible, but James is too smart to let any of them off the hook on defense. 

Cook saw plenty of minutes against New Orleans, but Young took his spot against Houston. Kerr used Looney and Bell together for a bit against the Rockets, and that was worrying. How switch-heavy will Golden State be when it has a couple of non-Livingston bench players on the court? If Iguodala can't guard James effectively for long stretches, will Kerr be comfortable with Durant or Klay Thompson being his primary defender? 

On one hand, scoring should be a breeze for the Warriors compared to how hard they had to work against Houston. Cleveland had the second-worst defensive rating in the regular season, and it just doesn't have many strong individual defenders. On the other hand, Golden State's bench units offer the Cavs some opportunities that Boston didn't: hiding places for their weaker defenders and targets for James to pick on. 

If this series goes deep, you can expect both coaches to streamline their rotations. That is normal in the playoffs, and Cleveland won the 2016 title with just eight players (including Mo Williams and his eight minutes) seeing the court in the clincher. Warriors fans still lament the fact that Kerr played big men Festus Ezeli and Anderson Varejao in that game with Andrew Bogut out of the lineup. If Lue and Kerr decide to only lean on seven players this time, then everyone will have to battle exhaustion. Golden State is more equipped to win that fight, though, as it does not have to ask anybody to do what LeBron does.