All-NBA Playoff Team: Week 4
We’re now four weeks into the playoffs, and it’s down to four teams: the San Antonio Spurs and Oklahoma City Thunder in the Western Conference and the Miami Heat and Indiana Pacers in the Eastern Conference. At Bleacher Report, we’re picking an All-NBA team for each week of the postseason.
Selections were mostly based on the best overall stats for the week, but other factors such as defense, winning and losing and performance in closeout games were also considered.
It was hard to determine how much credit to give players who were sent home. I ended up deciding to count those players but factor in that they lost.
Please note that only this week’s games, May 9-15, were considered. The games that preceded the specified dates are not factored in, although they may be alluded to. Here are the stats for the dates included from NBA.com/STATS. And, here are the players who stood out the most.
All stats are from NBA.com/STATS unless otherwise noted.
Point Guard: Russell Westbrook, Oklahoma City Thunder
Russell Westbrook is having the best postseason of his career. In fact, per Basketball-Reference, his player efficiency rating of 24.5 is even better than MVP teammate Kevin Durant and trails only LeBron James of the Miami Heat among players with 250 minutes.
This week was no exception for the superstar as he averaged 26.8 points with a true shooting percentage of .579. He added 9.8 assists and 5.5 rebounds. His player impact estimate (PIE) of 16.8 percent led all point guards.
That’s not bad when you consider he was being guarded by perennial all-defensive point guard Chris Paul.
Honorable Mention: Chris Paul, Los Angeles Clippers
For the second week in a row, Paul and Westbrook make up our top two point guards, but this week Paul is taking the backseat. Don’t let that belittle Paul’s performance, though.
He averaged 21.5 points and 12.8 dimes. The Clippers outscored the Thunder by 23 points while he was on the court. He played great. Westbrook just played better, and that's why the Thunder advanced.
Shooting Guard: Joe Johnson, Brooklyn Nets
Joe Johnson was on the losing team, but you can’t blame the loss on him. His shooting was insane this week in the Brooklyn Nets’ series against the Miami Heat.
Johnson averaged 23.7 points, shooting .563 from the field and .500 from deep, which is even crazier when you factor in that he was tossing up 6.7 three-point attempts per game.
His effective field-goal percentage was .667 and his true shooting percentage was a “commit him now because that’s just cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs” .695 for the week.
Dwyane Wade, Miami Heat
Johnson’s counterpart for the Heat, Dwyane Wade, wasn’t too shabby either. Wade started to find his groove when the Heat really needed him to.
Wade averaged 21.0 points on .531 shooting, 3.0 assists and 2.7 rebounds. He will need to continue to shoulder a respectable part of the scoring load if the Heat are going to advance past the Indiana Pacers in the Eastern Conference Finals.
Small Forward: Kevin Durant, Oklahoma City Thunder
I have to relay this story about Kevin Durant. I was watching the game and my wife, who normally finds other things to do while I’m watching basketball, happened to be in the room when Durant took a shot.
“Wow!” she proclaimed. “It’s effortless.”
And that tells you everything you need to know about Durant. His shot is so perfect that you don’t even need to know what you’re talking about to know it’s a thing of beauty. He’s the Mozart of shooting. Something that beautiful, you don’t need to understand to appreciate.
And this week he showed it (again), averaging 35.5 points with an effective field-goal percentage of .643. He added 10.3 rebounds and 4.8 assists just for fun.
Honorable Mention: LeBron James, Miami Heat
LeBron James was just a smidge behind Durant for best small forward and best player overall. It was close enough that you could argue that he was actually better. While his traditional box-score numbers of 35.3 points, 7.7 rebounds and 4.0 assists trailed Durant, his PIE was better: 23.7 percent to 20.4 percent.
I gave Durant the edge because he was going against tougher competition, but this could have easily gone either way.
Power Forward: Blake Griffin, Los Angeles Clippers
The Los Angeles Clippers were sent home earlier than their fans were hoping, but if there’s a silver lining to their season, it’s that Blake Griffin has grown from All-Star to bona fide MVP candidate.
This season and this week, he played like one. Griffin was a beast against the Oklahoma City Thunder, averaging 26.3 points, 10.5 rebounds and 4.3 assists per game.
If you still think that all he does is dunk, you’re just not paying very much attention. Griffin is arguably the best ball-handler among bigs. He’s one of the best passers, right there with Joakim Noah and Kevin Love. He’s expanded his shooting range. He’s a bear on the glass. And he’s even made progress on defense.
Considering this was their first season under Doc Rivers coaching, this wasn’t a horrible end to the season. Provided the Donald Sterling scandal doesn’t destroy the team, the Clippers have a great chance at the title next year.
Honorable Mention: David West, Indiana Pacers
David West has been coming up big for the Indiana Pacers when they really need him to come up big. It’s been that way all postseason. Per the media site for NBA.com/STATS (account required), when West has been on the court, the Pacers have outscored their opponents by 8.2 points per 48 minutes.
When he’s on the bench, they’ve been outscored by 19.4. Egads! That’s quite a difference. A difference of 27.6 to be precise.
West averaged 18.9 points, 4.5 boards and 4.8 assists this week. But he gets the mention because his presence is what put the Pacers over the top.
Center: Marcin Gortat, Washington Wizards
No center had a magnificent week, so the Polish Hammer, Marcin Gortat, gets the nod for the second time in a row. Gortat led centers in scoring with 14.0 points, shooting .622 from the field. He was third in rebounding at the position with 8.8.
Considering he was being guarded by one of the best rim protectors in the business, Roy Hibbert, that’s quite a testament.
Gortat had the best week, and his team got bounced. There was a time when you couldn’t win a title without a dominant center.
Clearly, those days are no longer as no dominant center is even in the NBA version of the final four.
Honorable Mention: Roy Hibbert, Indiana Pacers
Most of the time you see the “gone fishing” talk it’s after a team gets ousted from the postseason. It’s not to save the season.
Yesterday after practice, he invited me out on his boat and we fished for about two hours, and just relaxed and didn’t talk about basketball. We just talked about life and trying to catch some bass. He reached out and got my mind off things. Hopefully it’s something I can build on, and he’s a great teammate, so I really do appreciate him reaching out because he didn’t have to.
Since going fishing, Hibbert has averaged 14.8 points and 6.4 rebounds. This week he notched 11.5 points and 5.8 rebounds.