It’s good to be back writing a blog post after 2 years of absence! And its a good way to be back in the blog world, by sharing with you one of my favorite topics to discuss…BASKETBALL!
I just couldn’t get over the great NBA playoffs that have just happened and it was really amazing how great the Dallas Mavericks have won the championship and of course that was because of how great Dirk Nowitzki performed during the whole course of the playoffs. Now just for fun, I decided to take a look back at my list of 10 greatest NBA playoff performers ever.
I created this list based on my own basketball knowledge and of course on watching and reading some NBA materials.
Top 10 in order:
10. John Havlicek – “Havlicek stole the ball! Havlicek stole the ball”. Who can forget that winning steal that Havlicek made in the 1965 Easter Conference Finals that lead them to the finals and eventually won the championship. His tenacious defense and his remarkable scoring ability during the playoffs were the main reasons why “hondo” made this list. He is tied with Michael Jordan with the most field goals in a game with 24 and was on the top in the list for scoring during playoffs. Havlicek was a one-time Finals MVP with 8 rings under his name.
9. Jerry West – “Mr.Clutch and Mr.basketball” was probably the first true playoff performer! He had a career scoring average of 29.1 per game 2nd only to Michael Jordan and made history when he won the Finals MVP even though his Lakers lost to the Celtics in the the finals of 1969. He is still the only NBA player who did that feat. Mr. West is only 9th in the list because He failed to bring multiple championship rings to the Lakers even though he garnered quite amazing scoring feats in the playoffs. Mr. Clutch is only a 1 time NBA Champion.
8. Kobe Bryant – The next Michael Jordan as some would say. But Kobe is his own man, having been to the playoffs multiple times with 5 championship rings and 2 Finals MVP, The black mamba is truly a playoff performer. Kobe averaged 25.5 in the playoffs and has participated in a playoff game 200+ times with 7 NBA finals appearance.
7. Tim Duncan- The big fundamental may not have the brilliant scoring average or magnificent playoff performances like others in the list but what made him a true playoff performer is his ability to transform his team to winners. Being in the playoffs since the start of his career, Timmy has been in the finals 4 times and have won all of them all with also 3 Finals MVP under his resume.
6. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar- Most Minutes, Most field-goals made, Most Blocks…these were just some of the records that Kareem built over the years of playing playoff basketball. He may not have those spectacular performances or clutch games, but what made him great is his consistency and endurance in the playoffs. Having been in the playoffs over 200 times, he is 2nd in the list with the most playoff games (1st is Robert Horry). The 6x NBA Champion and 2 time Finals MVP is a genuine playoff player.
5. Shaquille O’neal- “Remember Hack a Shaq?!”. Shaquille O’neal was the most unstoppable force during the three-peat of Lakers. He was so dominating in the playoffs that teams resorted to fouling him instead. Shaq has been in the finals 6 times and has been an NBA champion 4 times with 3 NBA finals MVP because of his dominating performances in the finals and in the playoffs.
4 or 3. Larry Bird- Averaging almost a triple-double during the playoffs, Larry Bird was one of the greatest performers during playoffs. More than the stats that he provided for the Celtics, it’s his clutch performances in the playoffs that truly made a mark in the NBA. Remember the steal in the Celtics-Pistons series? Or the Playoff duels against Dominique? With 3 NBA championship rings and 2 finals MVP awards, the 3 point king is no doubt in the top 10.
3 or 4. Magic Johnson- If you have Bird in the list, it is quite sure Magic will be there as well. The 1st and only Rookie Finals MVP was surely a playoff performer. Holding the record with most playoff assists and having 5 rings and 3 NBA finls MVP, Johnson is no doubt one of the best during playoffs. What also made Magic great is his ability to make others great during playoffs, just remember Kareem and Big Game James. He is the epitome of a true court general. Like Bird, Magic also delivers in the clutch, remember the “junior skyhook” during the 1987 Lakers-Celtics Finals?!
2. Bill Russell- This is a given, when an award is named after you it only means that you are the model of that award and true enough, Bill Russell is the model, the epitome of an NBA Player during the finals and the playoffs. An 11X NBA Champion, owner of numerous records and lots of brilliant performances, a short paragraph is not enough to discuss how great Russell was during the playoffs. He was great and he made his whole team even greater, just remember the name of the NBA Finals MVP award!
1. Michael Jordan- ‘Nuff said!
Players who almost made the list: Dirk Nowitzki, Julius Erving, Hakeem Olajuwon,Elgin Baylor, Wilt Chamberlain,Dwayne Wade.
I encourage you to make a list as well and watch out for more top 10! Enjoy!