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NBA Playoffs History: One-Hit Wonders of NBA Playoffs Past

Tom FirmeAnalyst IIDecember 24, 2016

NBA Playoffs History: One-Hit Wonders of NBA Playoffs Past

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    Serge Ibaka and Kenneth Faried are among those who have broken out to have their best playoff performances to this point in their careers. Ibaka is doing it in his third season and Faried did it in his rookie year. As good as each one might become, there's no telling whether they'll repeat what they have done this postseason. 

    Ibaka is averaging 11 points on 64.5 percent from the field while blocking 3.3 shots per game. Faried put up 10.4 points per game on 53.3 percent shooting and pulled down 10 rebounds per game.

    These are great numbers, but they hardly indicate how well either one will do moving forward.

    Numerous players have had great postseason performances never to have such great playoff showings again.

    Following is a list of 10 players since the NBA-ABA merger who had impressive playoff performances, but couldn't bring the magic in another postseason.

Sam Vincent, 1988

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    Sam Vincent never was a luminary on any team for which he played. Still, he did light it up during one postseason.

    Playing for the Chicago Bulls in the 1988 playoffs, Vincent managed the share the spotlight a few times with Michael Jordan. He scored 17 points on 8-of-14 shooting in Game 1 of the first-round series against the Cleveland Cavaliers. Later, he would team up with Jordan to deliver the only Bulls win in the Eastern Conference semifinals against the Detroit Pistons.

    Vincent scored 31 points on 11-of-17 shooting and had five assists in the Game 3 win. He and Jordan combined for 77 points.

    Vincent averaged 10.2 points per game in the 1988 playoffs.

    It was the first time he averaged more than five points per game in the playoffs. The next year, in his last playoff appearance, Vincent averaged just 1.8 points in 7.1 minutes per game.

Lindsey Hunter, 1997

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    In his 17 NBA seasons, Lindsey Hunter made 12 trips to the playoffs. Only one went well for him.

    In his fourth pro season, Hunter was key for the Detroit Pistons, serving as their second-leading scorer in the playoffs. He averaged 15 points per game and shot 43.9 percent from the field.

    In Game 1 of the first-round series against the Atlanta Hawks, Hunter scored 26 points on 11-of-17 from the field, including 4-of-5 from three-point range. In Game 5, Hunter put up 17 points.

    He never shot better than 39 percent or scored nine points per game in the playoffs again.

Luc Longley, 1996

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    Luc Longley was never known to be a clutch performer, but he was just that as the Bulls drove through the playoffs to complete the greatest season in NBA history. Longley averaged 8.3 points per game in those playoffs, including 11.6 points per game in the NBA Finals. He scored at least 11 points in five of the six NBA Finals games.

    He had a few memorable performances in those finals. In Game 1, Longley posted 14 points and four blocks. In Game 3, he helped the Bulls push the series lead over the Seattle SuperSonics to 3-0 by scoring 19 points on 8-of-13 shooting.

    In Game 6, Longley helped the Bulls clinch the title by scoring 12 points on 5-of-6 shooting and pulling down eight boards.

    In a rare display of offensive activity, Longley took 7.3 shots per game in the playoffs. He never took seven or more shots in any other postseason. Also, he never scored eight or more points in another postseason.

    Some might argue that Longley did well in the 1998 playoffs, when he averaged 7.9 points per game.

    However, the Aussie center faded after Game 1 of the Eastern Conference semifinals, averaging only 6.6 points per game in the ensuing 12 games. Also, he shot 1.9 percent worse in the 1998 playoffs (46.9 percent in 1996 to 45 percent in 1998).

Kevin Duckworth, 1988

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    Kevin Duckworth had a few impressive seasons, as he scored 17 points or more four straight times. However, he only had one impressive postseason.

    In the first-round series against the Utah Jazz, Duckworth was a major force. He averaged 21.5 points and 11 rebounds per game in the four-game series loss to Utah. In Game 3, Duckworth had 21 points and 16 rebounds. In Game 4, he put up 33 points on 14-of-20 shooting and pulled down 10 boards.

    Duckworth had a few decent playoff appearances after that, averaging double figures in four more playoff appearances. However, he'd never score more than 13 points per game in the playoffs again.

Marvin Webster, 1978

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    Marvin Webster had a strong playoff run in helping the Seattle SuperSonics fight the Washington Bullets to the very end in the 1978 NBA Finals. He led the effort for the Sonics in the deciding Game 7, scoring 27 points.

    In Game 1 of the Western Conference finals, Webster scored 28 points.

    He put up prolific numbers in the playoffs that year, averaging 16.1 points, a playoff-best 13.1 rebounds, 2.6 assists and a playoff-best 2.6 blocks per game.

    His only downfall was his average of 3.4 turnovers per game.

    Turnovers led "The Human Eraser" to erase himself in future playoff appearances. He averaged a turnover every five plays in four of the last five years he went to the playoffs.

Richard Dumas, 1993

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    Richard Dumas had tremendous potential, but he never fulfilled it because of drug problems. Also, he only had one good playoff run in his three pro seasons because of it.

    Dumas was a big help for the Phoenix Suns' NBA Finals run in 1993. He averaged 15.8 points and 1.8 steals per game in the 1993 playoffs. In Game 1 of the NBA Finals, Dumas had 20 points on 10-of-20 shooting, 12 rebounds and four assists. In Game 4, he scored 17 points on 8-of-11 shooting.

    In Game 5, Dumas had a huge game to force a Game 6, scoring 25 points on 12-of-14 shooting. He made up for Charles Barkley's 9-of-25 field-goal performance.

    In the 1995 playoffs, Dumas scored two points in five minutes across three games.

Jaren Jackson, 1999

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    Jaren Jackson emerged as a helpful shooter for the San Antonio Spurs in the late 1990s. He was only very helpful once in the postseason. Jackson averaged 8.2 points in 20.3 minutes per game in the 1999 playoffs.

    He had 22 points on 9-of-15 shooting, five rebounds and two steals in in only 28 minutes in Game 3 of the Western Conference semifinals against the Los Angeles Lakers.

    In Game 4, he scored 20 points on 7-of-12 shooting, including 6-of-11 from three-point range.

    Jackson shot 36 percent from three-point range in the 1999 playoffs.

    He did score 10.2 points per game in the 1998 playoffs, but shot a dismal 34 percent from the field in doing so.

Travis Best, 2000

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    Indiana Pacers fans expected Travis Best to become a dazzling playmaker. While he didn't quite live up to those high hopes, he did work some magic in the 2000 playoffs.

    Best scored 19 points in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference semifinals against the Philadelphia 76ers.

    He dropped 24 points on the New York Knicks in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference finals while shooting 7-of-11 from the field and 8-of-10 from the line. That made up for Reggie Miller's 2-of-9 figure from three-point range.

    In Game 3 of the NBA Finals against the Lakers, Best scored 14 points on 5-of-7 shooting.

    He averaged 8.9 points in 20.1 minutes per game.

    Doubling the minutes in the playoffs the next year didn't double the production for Best. He scored just 9.8 points in 40.8 minutes per game in the 2001 playoffs.

Daniel Gibson, 2007

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    Daniel Gibson came out of nowhere to become a secondary playmaker behind LeBron James for the Cleveland Cavaliers in the 2007 playoffs. Gibson averaged 8.3 points per game in the 2007 playoffs and had a 127 offensive rating.

    He had 16 points on 7-of-9 shooting in Game 1 of the NBA Finals against the Spurs. In Game 2, he put up 15 points.

    Gibson didn't let his team down, as he filled in for Larry Hughes in the lineup in Games 5 and 6 of the Eastern Conference finals. In Game 6, Gibson keyed the series-clincher, dropping 31 points on the Detroit Pistons in just 29 minutes of action.

    Many dubbed him the point guard of the future for the Cavaliers, but that never came to fruition. After starting 26 of 58 games in 2007-08, he ceded the starting role, only making occasional appearances in the starting lineup.

    As for the playoffs, he scored nine points per game in the 2008 playoffs, but averaged only 12.6 points per 36 minutes, compared to 14.9 per 36 minutes in the 2007 playoffs.

Rodney Stuckey

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    Rodney Stuckey is the essence of the playoff flash in the pan. He averaged 8.2 points, 3.4 assists and 1.1 steals in 22.4 minutes per game.

    Stuckey scored 13 points in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference finals. He turned around and scored 17 in the next game.

    He was expected to be the heir apparent to Chauncey Billups, but wasn't quite as effective as Billups. He never became the leader that Billups was, although his surrounding cast wasn't quite the same. His scoring averages the last three years have been around 15 points per game, but his assists have only been around five per game.

    He did score 15 points per game in the 2009 playoffs, but had an offensive rating of only 96 points per 100 possessions, compared with 105 per 100 possessions in the 2008 playoffs.

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