The NBA is an amazing game. As fans and spectators of the game, we witness greatness happen all around us. In the case of this year’s NBA Playoffs, the usual superstars have stepped up like they always do. But there are also those players who really turn up their gears, and give us the biggest surprises.
Here are five of those NBA players, who have really stepped it up and surprised us the most this Post-Season:
5. Kawhi Leonard
A top candidate for MVP normally wouldn’t be on a list like this, but what he’s done this post-season has been remarkable. Kawhi isn’t known for his scoring ability as much as he is for his defense, but he has been averaging 31.6 points in the playoffs so far. Game 4 versus the Memphis Grizzlies, he made several late game shots and scored 43 points for a new post-season career high.
And while the series is currently at 3-2, Leonard is certainly responsible for what the Spurs have done so far. He’s elevated his game from elite to legendary, and that’s no easy feat.
4. Nene Hilario
At 34 years old, there’s no way Nene should be averaging 13.6 points per game with 6.6 rebounds. But that’s exactly what he’s doing. He only averaged 9 points for the regular season and didn’t have a huge impact off the bench. But in Game 4 against OKC, he scored 28 points, 10 rebounds, and made a huge game-clinching dunk in the fourth quarter. Has Nene found his form?
3. Rajon Rondo
It is a shame that Rondo couldn’t play the entire series against the Celtics. When he was ruled out for Game 3, many people already eliminated the Bulls chance of winning the series, despite being up 2-0. For the playoffs, he is averaging a near Triple-Double at 11.5 points per game, 8.5 rebounds, and 10 assists.
He was an absolute difference maker for the Bulls, and his recent resurgence may have helped his free agent value rise.
2. Mike Conley
The highest paid player in NBA history is starting to play like he deserves the money. He’s stepped up when the Grizzlies have needed him most, has been the offensive star they have needed, and has lead this Memphis team to a game 6 against the second best team in the NBA.
For the postseason, he’s averaging 24.4 points with 7.7 assists per game. The best part about the whole thing? Conley isn’t even an All-Star.
1. Joe Johnson
ISO Joe is back! For some reason, Johnson has really found his groove in the playoffs this year, and now it seems we’re looking at a time machine. Throughout the whole series against the Clippers, Johnson has torched the Clippers’ defense with his signature isolation moves.
He’s averaging a whopping 19 points per game for the post-season and has been absolutely clutch. Can Joe keep it up, or is this just a small spark against a dysfunctional tea?