Top 10 NBA Players to Look Out for in the Playoffs

NBA Playoffs

The Playoffs are upon us, with the 16 best teams in the league going head to head to try and find out who’s on top of the pile.

But what players should you be keeping an eye on to perform throughout their specific team’s runs?

Paul Pierce // Brooklyn Nets // Small Forward

Including game one against Toronto, Paul Pierce has played 137 playoff games throughout his career, or around a season and a half’s worth.

But don’t let his age fool you, Paul Pierce is still capable of producing and that was proven in game one, where he really did prove the difference by hitting several key shots late on to secure the win over the Raptors.

Simply put, Paul Pierce has the experience alongside Kevin Garnett, to help lead the Nets through what will almost certainly be a gritty first round match-up, and possibly even further.

Dirk Nowitzki // Dallas Mavericks // Power Forward

One of, if not the best NBA player to come out of Europe, Dirk Nowitzki has led the Dallas Mavericks into yet another post-season trip, albeit in the eighth spot in the West.

Nowitzki, like Pierce has extensive playoff experience, and whilst Dallas isn’t expected to get past the first round, Nowitzki could extend their run if he plays to his potential.

It’s not going to be an easy task at all, but if anyone is going to get Dallas into the Conference Semi-Finals, its Dirk.

Dirk Nowitzki Playoffs

Kyle Lowry // Toronto Raptors // Point Guard

If any player is built to be a Playoff competitor it’s Kyle Lowry of the Toronto Raptors.

Arguably the grittiest player in the league, Kyle Lowry works incredibly hard, offers a high skill level, and competes to the very end in every game he plays.

With Toronto’s partisan crowds, Lowry is only going to play harder, and could help the Raptors get by the Brooklyn Nets to set up a lengthy playoff run for the Canadian outfit.

Al Jefferson // Charlotte Bobcats // Centre

Discussed in some of the league’s MVP talks, Al Jefferson has been the offensive focal point for a Charlotte team that is making its second ever appearance in the NBA playoffs.

Whilst he isn’t all that defensively, Jefferson is forcing double team defense from pretty much every team in the league.

Offering up the best low post footwork in the league right now, you can’t write off Jefferson helping Charlotte win at least one or two games against the Heat, and if Miami struggle, maybe Charlotte could cause an upset.

Al Jefferson Playoffs

Joakim Noah // Chicago Bulls // Centre

A big man with a tonne of ability and even more passion, nobody else in the entire NBA looks like they want to win just as much as Joakim Noah.

Not only does he have a great attitude, but he’s a stat stuffer as well, racking up triple-doubles several times over the year.

Add this to his awe-inspiring intensity levels throughout every game, and you have a player that is more than capable of carrying a team through a playoff series.

Steph Curry // Golden State Warriors // Point Guard

The best shooter in the NBA without a doubt, Stephen Curry has had another phenomenal year with Golden State, and looks even more like a leader this time around.

He can create off the dribble, make his own shots and also find his teammates in scoring positions, meaning that Steph Curry is a defensive nightmare.

Alongside the likes of Klay Thompson, David Lee and Andre Iguodala, Steph Curry could lead the Warriors to a possible Conference Finals appearance this year round.

Steph Curry Playoffs

Blake Griffin // L.A. Clippers // Power Forward

Another player who has been mentioned in the MVP discussions this year; Blake Griffin has been massively improved from last season.

The highlight plays are still a common occurrence, but Blake’s playmaking and overall game have seen notable improvement, turning him from a good player, to a great one.

Going up against the Golden State Warriors in the first round won’t be easy, but if Griffin ups his game even more, you can’t see the Clippers losing over seven games.

Dwight Howard // Houston Rockets // Centre

A rebound machine, and defensive anchor on the court, Dwight Howard is still one of the best big men in the game right now; despite all of the bad press he’s had recently.

He seemingly attracts rebounds right off the rim, and with his size and athleticism, is a nightmare to deal with when attacking the rim.

Playing alongside the likes of James Harden as well, Houston has a real chance of making a lot of noise in this year’s post-season.

Dwight Howard Playoffs

Kevin Durant // Oklahoma City Thunder // Small Forward

The player many of us expect to get named the regular season MVP in the coming days and weeks, Kevin Durant has been on another level in terms of scoring this year.

He’s always going to be a problem to whatever team he’s up against, making you choose which way he’ll hurt you with his beautifully rounded game.

Oklahoma are probably favourites to make the Finals from the Western Conference despite ‘only’ securing the second seed, and Durant is most likely going to be the guy to lead them to wherever they end up.

Lebron James // Miami Heat // Small Forward

It wouldn’t be right to exclude Lebron from this list, especially after having yet another great season with Miami.

Whilst he hasn’t been quite as dominant offensively, Lebron has increased his field goal percentage for his seventh straight season and has been the ultimate teammate, facilitating the Heat’s plays with scary efficiency.

Miami are obviously expected to make another trip to the Finals, especially considering the Indiana Pacers’ poor recent form, and Lebron will be leading them all the way again if it all goes to plan.

Lebron James Playoffs

Honourable Mentions:

Tony Parker, Marc Gasol, LeMarcus Aldridge, Paul Millsap, John Wall, Paul George.

Luke Hatfield is the creator and editor of BouncyOrangeBall, with an extensive knowledge of the NBA and basketball in general.

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