The NBA’s regular season is one thing and should be taken into consideration when we talk about analysis, but things get real in the postseason and all that has been said and done throughout 82 regular season matchups can be erased on the blink of an eye.
Playoffs are about making adjustments, shifting rotations, preparing for your next opponent, even between games. So, some of the players that didn’t make much noise during the regular season may come up huge during the postseason or vice versa.
Riding the hot hand, filling up for injury or just running plays through him, there’s always a secret weapon for every successful NBA team in the playoffs, and today we’re going to let you know about our top 10 secret weapons for this year’s postseason.
10. Ed Davis
This one may come as a surprise, but Ed Davis may actually become one of the most important players for the Portland Trail Blazers during the playoffs, and he’s one of the most underrated backup big men in the league right now.
Davis brings a lot of energy, hustle, rebounding and can even be a lockdown defender in the paint, something the Blazers have lacked for a very long time, even upon Jusuf Nurkic’s arrival, as his rim protection hasn’t been elite to say the least.
9. CJ Miles and Fred VanVleet
Toronto has always choked in the playoffs and it always feels like they need an extra boost off the bench to try and help DeRozan and Valanciunas with Lowry disappearing when it matters the most, and they’ve finally found those second unit leaders in Miles and VanVleet.
Miles has finally provided a much-needed shooting stroke from deep, while VanVleet is an above the average playmaker and shooter as well that can easily lead the way if Lowry’s playing poorly again.
8. Kelly Oubre
“Wave Papi” has finally come together and is looking more and more solid on a nightly basis, improving his wing defense by a lot and putting a lot of hustle and energy in both ends of the floor for the Washington Wizards.
There’s absolutely no doubt about his offensive skill set and his shot is constantly falling, and he has even proved that he’s more than capable of playing in the starting 5 this season, stepping up for Morris or Porter when needed.
7. Ersan Ilyasova
Ersan Ilyasova is a proven veteran that’s going to bring a lot of leadership for the young Philadelphia 76ers, a player that even though has a limited skillset and can tend to be kind of unidimensional, is already used to this type of situations.
The veteran can be a great factor for them allowing them to stretch the floor, as he’s always been a very good shooter from beyond the arc. Also, this would allow the Sixers to run a lot with small ball lineups.
6. Jabari Parker
Jabari Parker has been a great player every time he’s been able to actually dressed up and play for the Milwaukee Bucks, but he’s still in debt with fans and media after being one of the most hyped prospects in the league and failing to deliver due to injury.
Parker is an offensive stud and a walking bucket, and can even bring a lot of hustle in the defensive end of the floor, and he was playing standout ball after suffering a season-ending injury the prior campaign and hasn’t shown any signs of rust, so expect him to peak when it matters the most.
5. Taj Gibson
Taj Gibson has always thrived under Tom Thibodeau and he’s quietly one of the most hardworking players you can find on an NBA hardwood, as well as being by far the best frontcourt defender the Timberwolves have right now.
Gibson makes up for a lot of Karl-Anthony Towns defensive flows and miscoordination and he’s never going to give up on a rebound or a loose ball. Also, he’s never going to be afraid to take a hard hit to try and stop opposing big men from scoring.
4. Eric Gordon
Eric Gordon is coming off a career year after winning the Sixth Man of the Year award, and even though he’s lost some of the grooves he had the prior campaign amid Chris Paul‘s arrival, he’s still one of the best backup shooters in the league.
Also, his presence on the hardwood helps ease a lot of pressure off Harden’s shoulders, as defenses can focus on him that much or double him because of Gordon’s threat as a great three-point shooter.
3. Dwyane Wade
Finally, the Wade-out-of-the-Heat experiment it’s over. Watching the Flash play elsewhere was flat out odd and it just didn’t feel right, so now that he’s back home for good, the Heat got one of the best shooting guards in NBA history to lead their second unit.
Wade has stated that he’s unsure if he’ll play next year, so he has a lot of extra motivation to make the last playoff push with his beloved Miami Heat, and he’s already proven that he’s far from washed out with last week’s clutch performance against the Philadelphia 76ers.
2. Tony Parker and Kawhi Leonard
Tony Parker has been far from impressive the last couple of campaigns due to age and injuries, but he’s always been at his best during the postseason for the Spurs, bringing the best of his repertoire and making everybody around him better.
Also, if San Antonio also manages to have Kawhi back at some point of the season after all the controversy that has surrounded them, they’re going to finally be able to find the consistency they’ve lacked so much throughout the year.
1. Kevin Love
Kevin Love has always been a major stud for the Cavs in the playoffs, and with this new look Cavs still trying to figure things out while he’s sidelined with a hand injury, he’s set to be a major X-factor for them when he’s able to come back.
The Cleveland Cavaliers can definitely use his rebounding, shooting stroke from deep and his crafty passes and baseline cuts. Let’s not forget the fact that we’re talking about a 20-10 kind of player here.