2012 NBA Playoffs: The 8 Most Influential Players in the Playoffs

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2012 NBA Playoffs: The 8 Most Influential Players in the Playoffs
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images
Did this injury change the whole complexion of playoffs?

This year’s NBA playoffs are off to a great start. We have had exciting and closely-contested games, and stars have already started to shine as they always do this time of year. Some teams and players are just getting going, as their aspirations are far beyond the first round, while others have had a switch of priorities and plans as a result of poor misfortune.

The Heat, Thunder and Spurs, probably the most likely championship contenders, are already into the second round after pretty easy first-round bouts, while the Bulls, Celtics, Lakers and Magic have struggled due to the absence of key players leading to tougher matchups than they had bargained for.  The Celtics got Rondo back, and Pierce does not appear to be severely hurt. The Lakers will get Artest (aka Metta World Peace) back after Game 6 against the Nuggets.

The big difference is that some teams have gone through unscathed with their rosters still intact, while others are struggling to recover from being bumped and bruised and in the case of the Bulls maimed.  Whether a team is suffering from injury or not, their fortune is invested in the performance of their best players. Some teams have the balance to sustain injury or poor performance from stars, while others cannot.

This has caused me to think of the eight most influential players that will have a large bearing on the playing out of the NBA playoff story. These are the ones I have chosen:

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