Tuesday, Sept. 2, 2014

Ranking the best players in the NBA playoffs (26 items)

By , For the Deseret News

April 18, 2014

The NBA regular season has come to an end and the playoff matchups are set in the East and the West. The Miami Heat is ready to defend its crown thanks in part to having three of the best players in the NBA today. It isn't the only team loaded with talent, though. The Clippers, Pacers, Rockets, Spurs and Thunder are all poised to try to dethrone LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and company. With that in mind, here is my rankings of the best players from 2013-14 who are in the post season. These are the guys who played the best during the year and helped to carry their respective teams.

Jay Yeomans is a courier by day and a freelance writer by night. He is the creator and lead writer of the website jmoneysports.com. Contact him at jmoney34@hotmail.com. Twitter: @jmoneysports

1 of 26. 25 (tie) — Paul Millsap, Atlanta Hawks:

In his first season with the Hawks, Millsap made the All-Star team, something he never accomplished in his seven years with the Utah Jazz. Millsap also took on the Hawks' main scoring load after Al Horford went down for the season with an injury. Millsap was able to do that was because he added a consistent 3-point shot to his arsenal. Millsap, who had never made more than 13 shots from behind the arc in his previous seven seasons, knocked down 76 of 212 3-points attempts in 2013-14. On the season, Millsap averaged 17.9 points, 8.5 rebounds, 3.1 assists, 1.7 steals and 1.1 blocks.

2 of 26. 25 (tie) — DeMar DeRozan, Toronto Raptors:

The Raptors relied on DeRozan much more at the offensive end of the floor after the departure of Rudy Gay in a midseason trade, and he produced in a big way. DeRozan was the leading scorer for the Atlantic Division champions and made the Eastern Conference All-Star team for the first time in his career. On the season, DeRozan averaged 22.7 points, 4.3 rebounds, four assists and 1.1 steals.

3 of 26. 24 — Chris Bosh, Miami Heat:

Playing next to LeBron James and Dwyane Wade is great when it comes to jewelry (NBA rings), but not as spectacular when it comes to your stat line. Such is the case for Bosh, anyway. His scoring and rebounding numbers have gone down each year since he left Toronto, but Bosh is still an élite player. He made his ninth straight All-Star game after averaging 16.2 points and 6.6 rebounds for the Heat. He also became a valuable outside threat this season, making a career-high 74 3-pointers.

4 of 26. 23 — Serge Ibaka, Oklahoma City Thunder:

In his fifth season, Ibaka has completely transformed himself into a legitimate third option for the Thunder on the offensive end of the floor averaging a career-high 15.1 points a game this season thanks to his improved 3-point and free-throw shooting. Ibaka also had his best season on the glass averaging 8.8 rebounds while leading the league for the fourth straight year in total blocks (219).

5 of 26. 22 — Mike Conley, Memphis Grizzlies:

Even though his minutes are down for the fourth straight year, Conley had the best offensive season of his career in large part because of his added aggressiveness. Conley shot a career-high 14.1 shots a game while also shooting a career best 45 percent from the field. For the season, Conley averaged 17.2 points, 2.9 rebounds, six assists and 1.5 steals for the Grizzlies.
1. Alpiner
Alpine, UT,
April 19, 2014

Chris Paul is way overrated here based upon his performance today. He was chucking up shots while guys were open waving for the ball.