Top-5 Playoff Performers of the 2019 NBA Postseason
The NBA Postseason has never been a stranger to superstar play and this year, things have been no different.
The 2019 Playoffs have had some remarkable playoff performances to this point and the second round has not even come to an end. From Kevin Durant’s 50-point burst, to a blurry-eyed James Harden willing his Houston Rockets team to a huge Game 3 victory over the Golden State Warriors. Of course, no one will forget the Blazers quadruple overtime win over the Denver Nuggets or Kawhi Leonard’s clutch shot over Joel Embiid any time soon.
There have been a number of stars that have left an imprint on these playoffs, but five names have separated themselves from the pack. Here are the current top-five performers in the 2019 NBA postseason:
Honourable Mentions: Kyrie Irving (BOS), Jimmy Butler (PHI), Damian Lillard (POR), CJ McCollum (POR), Pascal Siakam (TOR)
5. James Harden (HOU)
Blurry-eyed or not, James Harden has performed like his usual self in these playoffs.
Averaging 30.5 points per game, he is one of, if not the most dangerous scorer in the league and the Rockets offense will continue to rely on Harden to keep pushing it forward. After taking care of business in Round 1 against the Utah Jazz, the Rockets are facing their greatest test to date in the Warriors and if they have any chance to pass by the modern day dynasty, it will be on Harden’s shoulders.
4. Giannis Antetokounmpo (MIL)
A favourite to win the 2019 NBA MVP award, Giannis Antetokounmpo has transformed into one of the most unguardable forces in the entire NBA. When he’s on, even Boston Celtics’ Al Horford struggles to keep up, as evident by the combined 62 points that Giannis scored in Game 2 and 3. Through seven playoff games, the Milwaukee Bucks have only lost once, and to this point, The Greek Freak has averaged 26.9 points and 11.3 rebounds per game, while shooting 49-percent from the field.
The entire Milwaukee offense revolves around Antetokounmpo, while his offensive rating (115) and defensive rating (96) ranks him among some of the best two-way players in the league.
3. Nikola Jokic (DEN)
These playoffs have been Nikola Jokic’s coming out party and even former Los Angeles Lakers president, Magic Johnson has started to notice The Joker.
A walking triple-double, Jokic has established himself as the quarterback of the Denver Nuggets offense. Already with four triple-doubles in 11-playoff games, Jokic has shot an efficient 50-percent from the field and even 41-percent front long range. Neither the San Antonio Spurs nor the Portland Blazers have found a way of slowing down the Serbian seven footer.
Nikola Jokic has really caught my eye with his 2 triple doubles in this series against Portland!
— Earvin Magic Johnson (@MagicJohnson) May 6, 2019
To this point, Jokic has averaged 24.5 points, 12.5 rebounds, and 9.3 assists per game with a true shooting percentage of 59-percent – doing a lot of everything – including sporting a ridiculous offensive rating of 128 and a box score plus/minus of 12.
2. Kevin Durant (GSW)
The conversation of who the best player in the NBA is may never end as long as Kevin Durant and LeBron James are in the league, but that being said, there is no question as who the best player in the postseason is.
Since his infamous “I’m Kevin Durant” quote, Durant has been firing on all cylinders. An offensive juggernaut, Durant’s scoring output in these playoffs has been off the charts. Since Game 3 against the Los Angeles Clippers, Durant has scored 38, 33, 45, 50, 35, 29, and 46 points.
While his future with the Golden State Warriors is uncertain, what is clear is that Durant is still one of the greatest scorers this league has ever seen.
1. Kawhi Leonard (TOR)
While Durant is the best player in these playoffs, no one has been more important to their team’s success than Kawhi Leonard.
Averaging 32.3 points per game on a true shooting percentage of 70.4 percent, Leonard has virtually made every big shot imaginable while completely shutting down budding star Ben Simmons in the second round. Willing the Raptors on his back, Leonard’s impact has been undeniable as the team’s offensive rating plummets whenever he is off the court.
KAWHI NOT? pic.twitter.com/JD0cC6zVmb
— Toronto Raptors (@Raptors) May 5, 2019
Quite possibly the best two-way player in the NBA, Leonard has been on another level in these playoffs.