The NBA playoffs have been outstanding thus far, with huge performances and drama galore through the first two weeks.
Let’s take a look at the 10 players who have led the way, doing the most to elevate their squads in the postseason.
1. LeBron James | F | Cleveland Cavaliers
The Cavs have been in a tight battle with the Indiana Pacers , but the only reason that they’ve even stayed in the series has been the brilliant play and leadership of James. While each of the next four players in the rankings have at least one teammate either on the list or in strong consideration, James’ supporting cast has struggled. Kevin Lovehas been battling a re-injury to his hand, and no other reliable second option has stepped forward.
James has been the best player in the playoffs by every box score measurement, and his herculean abilities to do it all on offense while leading the team defensively have kept his team’s hopes for advancing beyond this round alive.
2. Anthony Davis | F/C | New Orleans Pelicans
Davis absolutely dominated the middle in the Pelicans’ first-round sweep of the Portland Trail Blazers .
His high-efficiency scoring, primarily from the paint, played the perfect counterpart to the efficient perimeter creation abilities of his starting backcourt. Meanwhile, his proficiency at protecting the rim allowed Jrue Holidayand Rajon Rondo to aggressively attack the Blazers’ backcourt, neutralizing it enough to easily win the series.
3. James Harden | G | Houston Rockets
Harden continues to be the MVP of the high-powered Rockets attack. The Rockets have actually been misfiring slightly by their standard, which is amazing as they still outscored the Minnesota Timberwolves by 10.4 points per 100 possessions with Harden on the court.
While Chris Paul has helped keep the ship pointed in the right direction and taken some of the pressure off, Harden is still clearly the captain here.
4. Giannis Antetokounmpo | F | Milwaukee Bucks
Antetokounmpo is the foundation for the entire Bucks attack, and his inevitability as a rim attacker forces the entire Boston Celtics defense to focus completely on him. This opens up lanes and shots for the rest of the Bucks, with teammate Khris Middleton ‘s scoring prowess co-anchoring the unit.
When the Bucks surround Antetokounpo with shooters, they have been nigh unstoppable offensively in the series. Meanwhile, his length and rebounding, along with his ability to defend opposing center Al Horford , also have been key for the Bucks’ defense.
5. Jrue Holiday | G | New Orleans Pelicans
There’s a strong argument that Holiday has been as impressive as teammate Anthony Davis, perhaps even more so. He is the engine of the Pelicans’ offense, mixing great decision-making with an aggressive scoring style that pushes the whole unit forward.
He is also a scrappy defender, and when he was defending Damian Lillard he did as much as anyone to slow down the Trail Blazers’ most important line of attack.