The Top 10 players of the 2020 playoffs

NBA 2020 Playoffs Top 10 Rankings LeBron Anthony Davis

The Top 10 players of the 2020 playoffs

Ranking

The Top 10 players of the 2020 playoffs

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The 2019-20 NBA playoffs have been nothing short of thrilling, with players from all over the league pouring in unforgettable performances, both from a statistical sense and from a highlight-reel perspective.

That made the task of choosing the Top 10 players of the postseason a difficult one.

Regardless, we did our best to do so by using a blend of raw statistics, advanced metrics, team success and late-game heroics.

Below, you can find the Top 10 players of the 2019-20 NBA playoffs, as decided by us.

1
Anthony Davis, LA Lakers

Iconic buzzer-beating game-winner aside, Anthony Davis has been this postseason’s player according to a few trustworthy advanced metrics, including Win Shares (2.8) and Win Shares per 48 Minutes (0.287).

It’s easy to see why the advanced states rate the Kentucky product so favorably, too, as Davis is averaging 28.5 points, 10.0 rebounds, 3.5 assists and 1.3 blocks per contest with an effective field-goal percentage of 59.6.

What’s more, how could we not talk about Davis’ Game-2 game-winner, where he sank the Denver Nuggets’ comeback hopes with this silky-smooth outside jumper from the wing:

If the Lakers do go on to win this year’s title, it’ll go down as one of the biggest shots in L.A. franchise history. It might already deserve that distinction anyway.

2
LeBron James, LA Lakers

It’s not difficult to see why most consider Los Angeles the heavy 2019-20 title favorites at this point, as the team boasts the Top 2 playoff MVP candidates, per our rankings.

LeBron James may be posting some slightly concerning second-half numbers in this postseason, but overall, he’s been incredible in the playoffs, slashing a 25.9/10.0/8.8 stat line and sinking 55.4 percent of his field-goal attempts.

It looks like No. 4 is on the way for James, No. 17 for the Lakers as an organization; will they be able to finish the job?

3
Jamal Murray, Denver

No player has made a bigger leap from the regular season to playoffs than Jamal Murray, who has legitimately looked the part of a true superstar since the postseason began.

In fact, after his Game 3 performance – 28 points, eight rebounds and 12 assists on 10-of-17 shooting – Murray leapfrogged Davis for top playoff performer this year, per our Global Rating metric:

It’s a tight race, but for Murray to find himself sitting at No. 1 this deep into the playoffs is incredible, and speaks to the enormous future he has if he’s able to carry his bubble form into next season.

4
Nikola Jokic, Denver

Despite how awesome he’s been for multiple regular-season runs now, there were some who questioned if Nikola Jokic’s style of play – sometimes defensively deficient – would ever translate to playoff success for the Nuggets.

It’s safe to say he’s answered those questions this postseason.

Jokic’s extremely unique, difficult-to-stymie style of play has been on full display these playoffs, as the Serbian behemoth is averaging 25.2 points, 10.2 rebounds and 5.9 assists in the postseason, and boasting a ridiculous 61.6 true-shooting percentage.

Most impressive has been that Jokic, who often prefers to set up teammates for good looks rather than seek out his own, has been willing to carry more of the scoring load in the playoffs, something that he’s been able to accomplish with unbelievable efficiency, at that.

Jokic has cemented himself as a Top 3 big man this postseason, and no one will be able to question that for the foreseeable future.

5
Kawhi Leonard, LA Clippers

His playoff run ended with a whimper and more of the same utter embarrassment for the Clippers, but overall, Kawhi Leonard was spectacular this postseason, making it difficult to fault him specifically for how his team’s season ended.

With how up-and-down Paul George was all playoffs and due to Montrezl Harrell and Lou Williams’ inability to find their pre-bubble form, a lot was put on Leonard’s plate as far as carrying the team on a nightly basis, and for the most part, he was up to the task, as any superstar should be.

Ultimately, it wasn’t enough for the Clippers, however, and once Leonard ran out of gas in Game 7 of the Western Conference Semis, it was a wrap.

Leonard averaged 28.2 points, 9.3 rebounds, 5.5 assists and 2.3 steals over 13 playoff games, shooting 48.9 percent from the floor and 86.2 percent from the foul stripe.

6
Jimmy Butler, Miami

In what has been one of this season’s most surprising stories, Jimmy Butler has the Miami Heat two games from reaching their first Finals since 2013-14. Granted, he’s had some help, but there’s no doubt Butler has been Miami’s most important piece in the playoffs, as was the case all throughout the regular season.

A wing who’s capable of dropping 20 nightly but also willing to do whatever dirty work is necessary on either end of the floor, Butler is averaging 20.6 points, 5.6 rebounds, 4.1 assists and 2.1 in the 2020 postseason.

And though they may not have been as dramatic as some of the other buzzer-beating game-winners we’ve seen this year, Butler has piled up a fair amount of clutch moments in these playoffs, proving how important he’s been for the Heat’s deep run.

7
Jayson Tatum, Boston

Jayson Tatum’s excellent regular-season form has carried over into the playoffs, as the third-year forward is putting up huge numbers in the playoffs, averaging 25.3 points, 10.3 rebounds and 4.6 assists over 14 games.

The Duke product is just the second player in the Boston Celtics illustrious history to post a 25/10/4 stat line over a postseason run, joining Larry Bird on the impressive list, who did it in two separate playoffs, in 1984 and 1987.

Tatum has the Celtics within three games of reaching the Finals, though they do face a 2-1 hole against the Heat at the moment. It’ll be fascinating to find out whether or not Tatum is able to get Boston over the hump and back in the Finals for the first time in a decade.

8
James Harden, Houston

Another year, another disappointing playoff run for James Harden and the Houston Rockets, though, to be fair, the Lakers are a defensive juggernaut and had the size to overpower Houston in the painted area.

Bad matchup aside, Harden was great in the postseason, boasting a 63.6 true-shooting percentage (his best mark in the playoffs ever) and slashing a solid 29.6/5.6/7.7 stat line to go with 1.5 steals per game.

Eventually, though, Harden is going to need a deeper playoff run (he hasn’t been to the Finals since 2010-11 with the Oklahoma City Thunder) if he wants his legacy to reach that of the greatest 2-guards to ever play the game and join legends such as Michael JordanKobe BryantJerry West and Dwyane Wade at the top.

For now, Harden remains firmly a tier beneath those guys historically.

9
Donovan Mitchell, Utah

Donovan Mitchell was downright spectacular in this year’s playoffs, and had it not been for the Utah Jazz early exit from the festivities, he would have surely ranked higher than ninth on this list.

Mitchell led all playoff scorers at 36.3 points per contest while chipping in 5.0 rebounds and 4.9 assists, and posted an outrageous 69.6 true-shooting percentage, a truly absurd mark for a player whose average degree-of-difficulty on his shot attempts is always sky-high.

Mitchell’s 57-point Game 1 performance became the third-highest scoring outburst in a playoff game ever, and on top of that, he had a 51-point game explosion in Game 4 and a 44-point outing in Game 6.

10
Bam Adebayo, Miami

Bam Adebayo’s emergence this year may have been a surprise (at least to those outside of Miami), but his postseason play has proven that it was far from a fluke.

Adebayo is averaging 17.7 points, 11.4 rebounds and 4.8 assists per playoff game, and his unreal level of defense was a major factor in helping Miami take down the heavily favored Milwaukee Bucks in Round 2.

Boston – Tatum, especially – got a good look at Adebayo’s elite point-stopping prowess for themselves, too, to close out Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Finals:

Whether or not the Heat reach the Finals this year, Adebayo’s progression this season means that Miami’s immediate future is looking extremely bright, particularly if he’s able to refine the rougher edges of his game.

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