The addage in the NBA is that a team can't win a title without a superstar, making the best players in the league that much more vital to their respective teams. All of the players on this list have certainly elevated themselves into true superstar status, but more importantly, they often dictate whether their team wins or loses on any given night - which has added importance in the playoffs. Here's who we consider to be the top 10 players remaining in the NBA playoffs:
10) Kyrie Irving, Cleveland Cavaliers
Irving has cemented his place as one of the best point guards in the league, but he really turned it on in the playoffs, leading the league in postseason scoring. Irving is not only among the league’s best ball handlers and shot creators - he’s also a consistent stat sheet filler for the Cavaliers.
9) DeMar DeRozan, Toronto Raptors
DeRozan has played a huge role in bringing the Raptors to their second conference finals appearance in franchise history, putting up 23.5 points to go along with 4.5 rebounds and 4.0 assists per game. He still isn't the best perimeter shooter, but he knows how to get to the rim and is one of the most creative finishers in the league.
8) Draymond Green, Golden State Warriors
The triple-double machine has taken on an increased role this year, and it's paying dividends for Golden State. On top of being one of the best all-around defenders in the league, he put up 14.0 points, 9.5 rebounds, and 7.4 assists per game - but his impact goes far beyond the stat sheet.
7) LaMarcus Aldridge, San Antonio Spurs
Aldridge is one of the most underappreciated stars in the league, but his play is a big reason why the Spurs are having their best season in franchise history. He's playing less minutes in San Antonio's system, yet the production is still there (18.0 ppg, 8.5 rpg).
6) Damian Lillard, Portland Trail Blazers
If these rankings were based on being clutch, Lillard would have a strong case for the top spot. Lillard has developed into a big-time player in just four years, and he also shows up when the lights are brightest. Though he was already a star, Lillard has taken another big step forward this year, leading a young, inexperienced Portland team to the West semis. Lillard is averaged 25.1 points and 6.8 assists per game this season.
5) Russell Westbrook, Oklahoma City Thunder
Westbrook (23.5 ppg, 10.4 apg, 7.8 rpg) has been on an absolute rampage this season. He's the most athletic player in NBA history, and plays with unmatched ferocity and intensity. Critics point to the multitude of shots he takes as a point guard, but with unmatched speed and quickness, a good three-point shot, deadly pull-up jumper, and insane finishing ability, it's easy to see why Westbrook has become one of the best players in the NBA.
4) Kawhi Leonard, San Antonio Spurs
The reigning Defensive Player of the Year has drasticall improved offensively (21.2 ppg), but his defensive is every bit as good as it's always been. On top of averaging 1.8 steals per game, Leonard has the ability to completely shut down the opposing team's best player, and has continued to do so this year. He's added a new dynamic to San Antonio's deadly offensive system, turning them into a juggernaut. Finally, he is now a true superstar and is challenging LeBron James as the best all-around player in the league.
3) Kevin Durant, Oklahoma City Thunder
Durant has returned to his dominant ways this season, showing no ill effects from the various foot injuries that limited him to just 27 games last year. Despite OKC's occasional allergy to passing, he's playing more efficiently than he ever has before (28.25 PER) while still putting up amazing numbers (28.2 ppg, 8.2 rpg, 5.0 apg) and shooting 50.5 percent from the field.
2) LeBron James, Cleveland Cavaliers
LeBron has just casually gone about his business on the court this season, averaging 25.3 points, 7.4 rebounds, and 6.8 assists per game this year while carrying an injured Cavs team to the best record in the Eastern Conference. He's no longer the unquestioned best player in the world, but he's still in the conversation - and putting up eye-popping numbers every single night.
1) Stephen Curry, Golden State Warriors
Yes, he's hurt, but even a Stephen Curry playing at 75 percent is still probably the best player in the world. He led the NBA with 30.1 points per game while shooting 50.4 percent from the field and a ridiculous 45.4 percent from three (joining the elite 50-40-90 percent shooting club) while averaging 6.7 assists and 5.4 rebounds per game.Back to the NBA Newsfeed
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