The first round of the NBA Playoffs has turned out to be a very exciting one. Many players are having huge games every time they take the court, while others are choking horribly.
Each player on the team is expected to contribute to the team in some way, but some are stepping up to the challenge of the postseason while others are backing down. I am going to tell you which ones have been "studs" and which ones have been "duds."
I will start out with the most obvious pick for the "stud" category: It is obviously Rajon Rondo of the Boston Celtics.
This kid has been unstoppable in Boston's first-round matchup against the Chicago Bulls. Watching him play has just been amazing, as he has done nearly everything the team needs from him and more. Dude's averaging a triple-double in the series, and that has been on a bum ankle.
It doesn’t look like anyone can stop him, especially not rookie Derrick Rose. I had previously thought of Rondo as just being a solid contributor to this C's squad, but after watching him in these Playoffs, it is obvious that there isn’t only a “Big Three” in Boston.
The next stud in these Playoffs has had to watch Rondo dominate his team each game of that same series. I am talking about Ben Gordon of the Chicago Bulls.
The Bulls are currently down 3-2, but Gordon has shown up to play in every game. If not for him, the Bulls would probably be out, as it seems that no one else is willing to step up in the big moments to take the big shot for this Windy City club.
All but one of the games in this series has been decided by three points or less, and the one game that wasn’t occurred the same night that Gordon struggled a bit. If his injury worsens, I really question the Bulls' chances of taking the C’s to a Game Seven.
Another obvious stud is definitely Chauncey Billups of the Denver Nuggets. Denver is currently winning their series against the New Orleans Hornets 3-1, and Billups is a big reason why.
He had two monster games to start the series, which allowed the Nuggets to glide to an easy 2-0 lead. Then, after posting modest numbers in a tight loss in Game Three, he helped his Nuggets get a huge lead in Game Four and got some much-needed rest.
Denver went on to tie a Playoff record for biggest margin of victory by beating the Hornets 121-63 in the fourth contest of the series, which resumes tonight in the Rockies.
The Portland Trail Blazers are down two games to three in their matchup with the Houston Rockets, but that is certainly not Brandon Roy’s fault. He has really stepped up for his team in these Playoffs by averaging a full five points per game more than his season average.
Another reason he has been a stud is because he knows the ball should be in his hands at the end of the game, and he's really stepped up and pulled through for his group down the stretch.
But enough complements; onto the duds list. And the first one that comes to mind here is Derrick Rose.
Now, I know he is a rookie, it's his first postseason, and he is facing the defending champions. But none of that means you can lay an egg every other game.
In both of Chicago’s wins, he has had solid games, but in their defeats he has been less than impressive. This leads to more pressure on Ben Gordon, who consequently doesn’t get as many good looks.
If Rose does not step up in the next game of the series, he and his Bulls will be making an early exit in this year’s Playoffs.
The next dud on the list is the other top-two pick from last year’s draft, Michael Beasley.
I know that D-Wade is good, but that doesn't mean that Beasley and the rest of the team should provide no help for him. Jermaine O’Neal has been the second-best player for the Heat in this series, which is saying something.
Beasley is shooting a hideous 28 percent from the field and is averaging three points per in the last two games.
I just have to go ahead and throw the entire New Orleans Hornets roster on this list. They have all been pathetic to see.
Despite winning 49 games in the regular season, they've been a disappointment in my eyes; CP3 has not been in true form this series, and when he has problems, the team has problems. They have been unable to stop the Nuggets and now face elimination.
The last player I chose has not showed up for the postseason yet. Where is Joe Johnson of the Atlanta Hawks?
The Hawks are a well-rounded team, but they are undoubtedly led by Johnson, and he has really let them down so far. I honestly didn’t think this Heat-Hawks series would even be a contested matchup, as the Hawks are a much better team all around, but with the absence of Johnson and the fact that they are facing D-Wade, things are different.
Hawks fans can only hope he shows up sometime to save them from making an early exit.
These picks are just based on the players that have caught my attention thus far.
Despite the duds, this year’s Playoffs are looking to be pretty exciting, as many good matchups are coming up and players getting are suspended left and right.
As TNT says in their NBA playoffs commercials, “Where will amazing happen this year?”
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