NBA Playoffs 2012: Ranking the Top 5 Potential Playoff MVPs Thus Far
The playoffs are always the most exciting time of the year in the NBA; not only do we get to see which teams rise above the rest, but we also get to see which players show up at the most crucial time of the year. This season, there has been a handful of players that have been exceptional so far in the playoffs and deserve some real consideration as the MVP so far. Let's take a look at them.
No. 5: Russell Westbrook: OKC, PG
The explosive Russell Westbrook that everyone saw in the regular season hasn't lost a stride in the postseason. Westbrook is averaging about 24 points, five rebounds and five assists per game in the playoffs thus far, and has reduced the number of turnovers committed quite significantly. He was a major factor in the pivotal Game 4 comeback in Los Angeles in which he dropped 37 points and is a big reason the Thunder have rolled to an 8-1 record in the playoffs this year.
However, Westbrook has been somewhat vacant in a couple games (Game 4 in the Dallas series, Game 2 in the LA series) and despite his great performance, hasn't even been the most impressive player on his own team, hence the No. 5 ranking.
No. 4: Kevin Durant: OKC, SF
On to the second head of the Thunder's two headed monster, Kevin Durant. Durant is averaging about 27 points, eight rebounds and three assists per game, continuing the style of play that made him the NBA's regular season scoring champion and a top MVP candidate. He has been very consistent, scoring 22 points even in is lowest output of the postseason, and is one the chief reasons the Thunder have earned their spot in the Western Conference Finals.
On the downside, Durant isn't higher on this list because in several games he has been overshadowed by Westbrook or Harden, which takes away from his overall value.
No. 3: Tim Duncan: SAS, PF
The Spurs have without a doubt been the most impressive team in the playoffs, and the most impressive player on their team is Tim Duncan. At 36-years-old, he is averaging about 18 points, nine rebounds, three assists and two blocks. Stepping up his game slightly as the Spurs moved into the second round, Duncan has been a big reason they have not lost a game yet and are winning by an average of 12.5 points.
While Duncan has been very impressive, he simply has not put up the same type of production as the players ahead of him.
No. 2: Rajon Rondo: BOS, PG
Rajon Rondo has propelled himself into the leadership role on a team that includes talents like Allen, Pierce and Garnett. Putting up about 16 points, 13 assists and six rebounds, Rondo is one of the only players averaging a double-double this postseason and has essentially* led a Boston team that no one took that seriously to the Eastern Conference Finals.
In a different year Rondo could possibly be No. 1 on this list, but one other player has simply been better than Rondo this postseason.
*Teams up 3-2 win the series more than 85% of the time.
No. 1: LeBron James: MIA, SF
LeBron James is the best player in basketball, he was the best player this regular season, and he has been the best player in the playoffs. James is averaging about 29 points, nine rebounds, and six assists per game. In several monster games he has put up 32/15, 40/18 and 30/10. Those games being the three games they've won without Bosh. While the Heat may not be playing as well as everyone thought they should, LeBron James is carrying his team in the playoffs, and most likely into the Eastern Conference Finals.