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10 NBA Players With The Most To Prove This Post-Season

The NBA playoffs are almost here, which means legends will rise, and legacies could crumble. Every player should want to be the Finals MVP. This is all about the players under the most pressure to win the Trophy and lift the Larry O B in concert.

Whether it be seasoned veterans, players with a couple of seasons under their belts, or the newest kids on the block, every NBA player in the mix has a stake, but some simply have more.

10. Paolo Bancharo, F Magic

Paolo Bancharo
Paolo Bancharo

Paolo has the least amount of pressure mounting in this group, but he could improve his standing in the league if he can lead the Magic to a solid playoff run. The Magic are quietly in 5th place in the Eastern Conference and are eyeing a matchup with the Knicks.

Bancharo is having a great season. In 73 games, He has averaged 22 points on 46/35/71 splits in FG%, 3PT%, and FT%, adding almost seven rebounds and five assists. He can also play solid defense. If he can knock off Jalen Brunson and the Knicks (seeding can still change) in round one, he can cement his spot as a rising star in this league.

9. Luka Doncic, F Mavs

Luka Doncic
Luka Doncic

No one can deny that Luka is one of the top five hoopers on the planet. The only thing he has yet to achieve is an NBA Championship. Luka has nothing left to prove skill-wise, but to etch his legacy into the history of the NBA, he needs to bring another Larry O B to Dallas.

Doncic is a walking bucket; we don't even need to add his stats, but can he ramp up his defense and clutch gene to take this team to the Finals? This is less about pressure and more about long-term legacy. He would be praised like Dirk was when they won.

8. Tyrese Haliburton, G Pacers

Tyrese Haliburton
Tyrese Haliburton

Before the All-Star break, Haliburton looked like an MVP dark horse candidate, but after that weekend, he looked like a different player. That isn't to say he isn't a star because he played 63 games, scoring 20 points a game on 48/37/86 shooting splits, with four rebounds and 11 assists. A game is star-worthy, but is it the level of a superstar?

Performing well in the playoffs in a potential dual with Donovan Mitchell would solidify his ascent. If he can regain that early-season form, nationally televised games will do him justice.

7. Jaylen Brown, G Celtics

Jaylen Brown
Jaylen Brown

Jaylen Brown is the highest-paid player in the National Basketball Association. He is on the best team in the league, which just so happens to be a team that has been to the Conference Finals a handful of times and came up just short two seasons ago in an NBA Finals.

In other words, he is one of the league's most watched and scrutinized players. He, much like the Celtics, must get over the hump and lift Trophy to hang banner 18 in the Garden. This could start a dynastic run since the two superstars are so young.

JB has the grit needed to win in April. He just needs to help this team finish the job and measure up to the contract and the expectations of his peers and the public.

6. Zion Williamson, F Pelicans

Zion Williamson
Zion Williamson

Zion was supposed to be the next Lebron James, clearly he has fallen well short of that. He has been around the block a few times without even making the playoffs The pressure is starting to rise, can he develop into the savior he was supposed to be?

Knicks fans were weeping on the street when they missed the lottery ball. Was that a blessing in disguise? This year has been one of his best. He has played in 63 games, averaging 23 points a game on 58/35/69 shooting splits, six boards, and five assists.

This would be his first taste of the playoffs in the pros, so maybe he will come out on fire and take over for a round or two. He seems to have the opportunity to face off with the next player on this list. Who wants it more?

5. Anthony Edwards, G Timberwolves

Anthony Edwards
Anthony Edwards

I have seen people online say they would rather have Anthony Edwards than Jayson Tatum. This is ridiculous to me. It is not because Edwards is bad; look at their resumes from the playoffs. Edwards is 3-8 in 11 postseason games.

Tatum is 52-42. That's not even to say he's not as talented or has as much potential as Tatum, but buddy has to win a couple of playoff series to leapfrog into the top five players in the NBA.

Edwards is having an excellent season. He has played in 71 games, scoring 26 points a night on 46/36/82 splits, with six rebounds and five assists a game. He and Zion will battle in the first round to see who can add their resumes.

4. Damian Lillard, G Bucks

Damian Lillard
Damian Lillard

Damian Lillard was one of the last superstars who didn't want to team up, and that was until the opportunity to play with Giannis arrived. Once that trade happened, much of the basketball community thought they would be a lock for the Finals.

This has not gone horribly, but they were supposed to be a 60+ win team, and it's gotten worse since they fired Adrian Griffith for Doc Rivers. Lillard must access "Dame Time" in this postseason to show he can be crucial to a championship team.

He has had a solid year, averaging 24 points a game on 43/36/92 shooting splits, seven assists, and four rebounds. Let's see if he and Giannis can push through the field and win the chip.

3. Paul George F, Clippers

Paul George
Paul George

Paul George has much to prove this postseason. He has been traded twice in his career. The first time, he went to the Thunder for Victor Oladipo and Domantis Sabonis (imagine OKC with Sabonis). Then, he was moved to the Clippers for Shai Gilgeous Alexander, Danilo Galinarri, five first-round draft picks, and the rights to swap two other first-round picks.

This is an enormous amount of capital used to eventually pair him with Kawhi Leonard. The Clippers need to have something to show for that other than one Conference Finals run in five years. Since both stars' prime is ending soon, this would be the year to make a push.

2. Shai Gilgeous Alexander, G Thunder

Shai Gilgeous Alexander
Shai Gilgeous Alexander

SGA is one of the league's rising stars. He's the best player on the second-best team in the league. He can shoot, finish, pass, rebound, and defend. He wants to be the NBA's next superstar, but the only stage he has yet to prove himself on is the brightest of them all.

The Thunder have time due to the young age of their stars, including SGA, but if he wants to live up to the standard he is trying to set, he needs to do it in the playoffs. He has had an excellent regular season, playing in 71 games, averaging 30 points a game on 54/36/87 shooting splits, adding five rebounds and six assists a game.

He needs to prove he can be that guy and win multiple playoff series; like with Edwards, people want to take him over Tatum (52-42 in the playoffs), but let's watch him win a playoff series before crowning him.

1. Jayson Tatum F, Celtics

Jayson Tatum
Jayson Tatum

Jayson Tatum needs to win the NBA Championship this year; everything points to it. Does he have that Mamba Mentality? He has the experience, talent, and team around him to do it. He is 26, but most of the NBA's best players don't win a Championship until they turn 27 (LeBron, Jordan, Jokic, among others).

He is having a top-notch season playing in 70 games, averaging 27 a game on 47/38/83 shooting splits with eight rebounds and five assists a game.

This type of team can't stay together forever. They have the best record and the most talent, but anything other than Banner 18 is a disaster. Much like his teammate on this list, they have done everything but finish the job. There are no excuses this year. Tatum can not ghost in any of these series. He needs to be the best player on the court each round.

People around Boston were saying he should win MVP, screw that he should win Finals MVP and shut the haters up for good.

End Of NBA Rant

These are the ten players with the most to prove: some are budding stars, some are vets longing to lift the Larry O B, and the others have the most pressure in the league right now in general.

As a Celtics fan, I need them to win this year, or else I'm not sure if they ever will get over the hump with this group. Which is why Brown & Tatum are even on this list.

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