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Who's Got Next? Top 5 Players Left In The NBA Playoffs

Here we are after months of NBA basketball action. There are only four teams left in the field. The next franchise to win eight more games will cement itself in the league's legend as the NBA Champion. The Pacers face off against the top-seeded Celtics (2-0 Celtics), and the red-hot Timberwolves face the dynamic duo in Dallas (1-0 Dallas).

The criteria include prior playoff success and each player's current level of play during this run. Kyrie Irving and Karl Anthony Towns get honorable mentions. I considered making the list of the top seven players, but that felt like cheating, so I had to make some tough choices.

5. Jaylen Brown, Boston Celtics

Jaylen Brown
Jaylen Brown

Jaylen Brown has arguably been the Celtics' most consistent player during the ten games they have played in these playoffs, averaging 23 points, almost 7 rebounds, and 2.5 assists a game on 55% shooting. Many pundits and fans who complain about Tatum not having that "killer instinct" (which I disagree with) are the same ones who do not give Brown credit for bringing it to the team.

Brown is aggressive and physical. He has a great ability to finish at the rim through contact, which leads to easy buckets or earth-shaking dunks. He is often vocal about defending the opposing team's best offensive player and backs it up. He can defend 1-5 and has electric momentum swinging plays on both ends of the court. If he can clean up his FT% (61.4%), he could be higher on the list. After his game 2 performance, many will argue that he should be higher than 5.

4. Tyrese Haliburton, Indiana Pacers

Tyrese Haliburton
Tyrese Haliburton

Haliburton has had an up-and-down year, but not due to skill. He looked like a dark horse MVP candidate before injuring his hamstring. He has size and scoring ability, but his true gift is being one of the best facilitators in the NBA. He fits what the Pacers want to do so well with his athleticism and ability to play in transition fuels the high-pace offense that Indiana runs.

He is averaging almost 19 points, 5 rebounds, and 8 assists a game on 49% shooting. He has been streaky, but he is dangerous when he is on Haliburton. One of his biggest weaknesses is his ability to defend, and he is a liability who is searched out to create mismatches for the Celtics. He and the Pacers gave the Celtics their best punch in game one, and it didn't work. Now, he has reaggravated his hamstring injury. We may not see him again this year.

3. Anthony Edwards, Minnesota Timberwolves

Anthony Edwards
Anthony Edwards

This guy has gone on an absolute tear, sweeping the KD Suns and defeating the defending champion Denver Nuggets. Everyone is talking about him being the next face of the NBA, and they could be right. He is dominant at driving to the hop, playing with edge and physicality, and he has a fine finish at the rim.

Ant-Man can create his own shot with the best of them while getting the players around him to believe they can do this. Most people would put him over Jayson Tatum, but everything Ant is doing, Tatum has already done.

Ant is averaging 29 points, 6 rebounds, and 6 assists on 51% shooting. Edwards is an elite defender and a budding superstar, but there are still two better players in the field. It's splitting hairs, but like I said earlier, tough choices. I don't put too much blame on him for his bad game 1; it's clear that he was gassed during that game. I expect him to come out swinging tonight.

2. Jayson Tatum, Boston Celtics

Jayson Tatum
Jayson Tatum

I'll be frank: his game 2 performance last night was one of his worst playoff performances in years. Tatum's three balls are not falling, but he has still been able to impact most games. Last night was Jaylen Brown's show. Tatum had an awful first half but settled in fine when he tried to attack with his strength rather than his finesse play.

Other than last night, Tatum has been everything the team wants him to be, regardless of what the media says. During the Cavs series, Tatum became the second player ever to lead the series in points, rebounds, assists, steals, and blocks (the other player was Lebron). I don't care about his opponent. That's a special feat.

Tatum is averaging 25 points, 10 rebounds, and 6 assists on 43% shooting during these playoffs, which is just fine. He is not hitting his three-ball, which would put him in another universe. Tatum is putting up quite 36-point and 12-rebound nights. and the Celtics are 10-2. Tatum still hasn't hit the potential we have seen before.

1. Luka Doncic, Dallas Mavericks

Luka Doncic
Luka Doncic

Luka Doncic is the most talented player left in the NBA finals, hell he might be the best player with every team involved. This kid is 25 and almost averages a triple-double for his CAREER. He is a walking 30-point, 12-rebound, and 11-assist guy; his offensive game is almost unmatched, especially with the players still left.

The biggest issue with Luka is his ability to defend, which has improved but can still be exploited. If I were him, I would spend all of the off-season improving that ability to the point where it is not a weakness but a strength. If he did that, he would have enough to be the best NBA talent in the league's history.

The pairing with Kyrie Irving has allowed him to play off the ball more, which can help ease his workload. Even with that lessened workload, he is averaging 28 points, 9 rebounds, and 9 assists on 43% shooting and has a 1-game lead in the Western Conference Finals.

End Of NBA Rant

I know a couple of games have been played, but it is still a fun exercise to see who the most talented player is left. If I were going to extend the list to 10, Jrue Holiday, Derrick White, and a healthy Kristaps Porzingus would be on it, giving Boston 5 of the 10 best players left in the field. If everything goes well, they should be able to complete the journey and hang Banner 18.

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