It is almost a cliché at this point to refer to a player who significantly elevates their game in the playoffs as “Playoff *insert player name*”. The ability to rise to the occasion when the competition is at its stiffest, and the stakes are highest is what separates the really good from the great in the eyes of many NBA fans.
As the 2023 NBA Playoffs continue to play out, here are some of the best playoff performers in the league currently.
Regular Season Stats: 25.0 PPG, 7.7 RPG, 7.7 APG
Playoff Stats: 28.5 PPG, 9.8 RPG, 8.6 APG
LeBron James, often regarded as one of the greatest basketball players of all time, consistently elevates his game in the playoffs. Known for his versatility and ability to impact the game in multiple ways, LeBron raises his scoring, rebounding, and assist averages when the postseason arrives. His leadership and ability to perform in clutch moments make him a force to be reckoned with come playoff time.
Regular Season Stats: 24.8 PPG, 6.5 RPG, 5.2 APG
Playoff Stats: 28.2 PPG, 7.8 RPG, 5.5 APG
Kawhi Leonard, a two-time NBA Finals MVP, has developed a reputation for his exceptional play in the playoffs. With a remarkable ability to elevate his scoring and defensive intensity, Leonard consistently performs at a high level when it matters the most. His calm demeanor and clutch performances have earned him the respect of players and fans alike.
Regular Season Stats: 27.0 PPG, 7.1 RPG, 5.4 APG
Playoff Stats: 31.3 PPG, 8.7 RPG, 5.8 APG
Kevin Durant, a prolific scorer and former NBA Finals MVP, possesses a unique ability to dominate in the playoffs. His scoring prowess reaches new heights as he becomes an unstoppable force on the offensive end. Durant’s shooting efficiency and shot-making ability make him a nightmare for opposing defenses, solidifying his position as one of the game’s most dangerous playoff performers.
Regular Season Stats: 28.5 PPG, 5.3 RPG, 6.7 APG
Playoff Stats: 28.8 PPG, 5.6 RPG, 6.9 APG
Steph Curry, a three-time NBA champion and two-time MVP, showcases his shooting brilliance in the playoffs. Known for his deep range and ability to knock down crucial shots, Curry elevates his scoring while remaining an effective playmaker. His gravity on the court opens up opportunities for his teammates, making him a vital cog in the postseason success of the Golden State Warriors.
Regular Season Stats: 26.4 PPG, 4.4 RPG, 5.2 APG
Playoff Stats: 30.8 PPG, 5.5 RPG, 5.9 APG
Donovan Mitchell, a rising star for the Utah Jazz, has proven himself as a player who steps up his game in the playoffs. Known for his explosive scoring ability and clutch performances, Mitchell consistently raises his level of play when the postseason arrives. His scoring averages spike, and he becomes a reliable offensive option for his team. Mitchell’s ability to create his own shot and make crucial plays in critical moments make him a formidable force in playoff basketball.
Regular Season Stats: 27.7 PPG, 11.0RPG, 6.2 APG
Playoff Stats: 29.8 PPG, 13.0 RPG, 5.3 APG
Giannis Antetokounmpo, a two-time NBA MVP and reigning NBA Finals MVP, showcases his dominance in the playoffs. Known for his incredible athleticism and versatility, Giannis takes his game to another level when the postseason arrives. His scoring, rebounding, and defensive impact are amplified, as he becomes a force in the paint and an unstoppable force on both ends of the court.
Regular Season Stats: 27.5 PPG, 4.2 RPG, 6.6 APG
Playoff Stats: 28.9 PPG, 4.6 RPG, 7.3 APG
Damian Lillard, often referred to as “Dame Time,” consistently rises to the occasion in the playoffs. Renowned for his deep shooting range and clutch performances, Lillard becomes even more lethal when the pressure is on. His ability to hit game-winning shots and carry his team offensively makes him one of the most feared players in postseason matchups.
Regular Season Stats: 20.0 PPG, 6.6 RPG, 6.1 APG
Playoff Stats: 22.8 PPG, 8.4 RPG, 6.0 APG
Jimmy Butler, a tenacious two-way player, has a reputation for elevating his game in the playoffs. Known for his relentless work ethic and defensive prowess, Butler shines on the big stage. He not only increases his scoring output but also contributes significantly in rebounding and playmaking. Butler’s ability to take over games with his toughness and leadership makes him a valuable asset in postseason battles.
Regular Season Stats: 25.6 PPG, 4.3 RPG, 4.8 APG
Playoff Stats: 27.9 PPG, 5.6 RPG, 5.3 APG
Devin Booker, a rising star in the NBA, has shown tremendous growth and improvement in his playoff performances. A prolific scorer and offensive threat, Booker embraces the pressure and consistently delivers when it matters most. His ability to create shots, knock down clutch baskets, and contribute in multiple statistical categories make him an emerging force in postseason play.
Regular Season Stats: 28.5 PPG, 10.6 RPG, 3.7 APG
Playoff Stats: 31.6 PPG, 12.3 RPG, 4.1 APG
Joel Embiid, a dominant center with a versatile skill set, showcases his immense talent in the playoffs. Despite battling injuries, Embiid raises his game to new heights, imposing his will on both ends of the court. His scoring output increases, while his rebounding and defensive impact become even more significant. Embiid’s combination of size, skill, and intensity make him a formidable force in postseason matchups.
The NBA playoffs provide a platform for players to showcase their abilities under the brightest lights and highest stakes. The players mentioned in this article consistently rise to the occasion, elevating their game and leaving an indelible mark on the postseason. Whether it’s through scoring, rebounding, playmaking, or defensive prowess, these players demonstrate exceptional performances that push their teams closer to championship glory. As fans, we can appreciate the extraordinary effort and skill displayed by these athletes as they strive for greatness in the NBA playoffs.