This year’s NBA Playoffs have been different, man. We have witnessed so many players raise their level of play during the NBA’s post season. We’ve seen buzzer beaters and amazing performances, clutch shots and comebacks thanks to these players.
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Now let’s take a look at the seven NBA players that really upped their reputation in this year’s playoffs in the bubble.
1. Jamal Murray – Out of all the players that made a splash in the playoffs on this list, Jamal Murray made the biggest leap. Already a player that was considered on the rise, Murray’s unflappable play and historic scoring led the Nuggets to the Western Conference Finals and came back from two 1-3 deficits.
2. Luka Dončić – Coming off an amazing Sophomore season, Luka Doncic wasn’t off the radar by any means, but his play in the post season surprised even the biggest Doncic homer. Playing only in one round before being eliminated, his play against the Clippers raised the young Slovenian’s already growing profile as a the young franchise player to build around.
3. Jimmy Butler – Butler was already receiving a lot of praise for leading their respective teams. The thing with Butler is that nothing he does is spectacular, but the fact that he’s the engine and heart of the Miami Heat that are now in the NBA Finals, through that, fans have come to better appreciate Butler thanks to that exposure. Logging one of three 40 point triple doubles in the NBA Finals that was why the Heat upset of the Lakers certainly helped his case.
4. Tyler Herro – Already a precocious first year player, Tyler Herro wasn’t even considered the best rookie on the Miami Heat when the playoffs started. Now after several big games in the NBA Playoffs, Herro’s ability to get buckets, his composure, pacing, confidence, mean mugging and 16 ppg in 20 playoff games, has the 20 year old joining Ja Morant and Zion Williamson as the only three players in the 2019 rookie class’ top tier.
The kid has been nothing but impressive in the bubble.
5. Donovan Mitchell – Like Doncic, Mitchell only played in one round, but what a round it was. Through seven games, he averaged 36 points dueling with the Nugget’s Murray with a couple 50 point explosions along the way.
6. Nikola Jokic – The slow moving, trimmed down center from Serbia got off to a slow start this past season, but showed his mettle when the post season came on; hitting big shots and coming up big when the Nuggets needed him and Murray. That was often as Denver came back from 3-1 deficits to win two game sevens before being eliminated. Still, Jokic learned tough lessons in the playoffs and we expect him to come in with a more aggressive mindset next season.
7. Kyle Lowry – Another star that upped his level during the playoffs. Lowry was always the secondary player on his teams, but during the Raptors attempt to repeat, he really solidified his standing in the NBA. His heart was never in question, but that was often manifested in taking charges and playing tough defense, in the 2020 NBA Playoffs, Lowry came up big offensively game after game.
Honorable mention goes out to Michael Porter Jr., Goran Dragić, Anthony Davis, Chris Paul, Fred VanVleet, Bam Adebayo, and Jaylen Brown.
There are plenty of good NBA players during the regular season, but the players that truly etch their names in the league’s history books come out big in the NBA Playoffs.