1. Lance Stephenson and Roy Hibbert
Hibbert: 13.3 points, 10.3 boards, 3.2 blocks (21-12-5 blocks in game 6)
Stephenson: 25 points, 9/13 field goals, 10 boards, 3 dimes in game 6 (11.7 points and 8.2 boards in the series).
What else can you say about Stephenson. In a span of a few years he went from a 1 and done malcontent who allegedly threw his girlfriend down a flight of steps into an hard nosed cog on a young Pacers team that needed every bit of his Brooklyn born passion.
As for Hibbert, he’s slowly taking all his detractors to the woodshed, as he went from early season maxed out bust to a big man who had no problem showing Carmelo Anthony that the cookie jar was closed for the evening in a must win Game 6.
Add to that he repeatedly got the best of so-called defensive wiz Tyson Chandler, and the former G-Town Hoya has a lot to be confident about heading into the East Finals.
2. Zach Randolph
Games 4 and 5 - 25.5 points, 13.0 boards (28 & 14 in game 5, 12/16 from the line).
Z-Bo has been playoff steady for a few seasons now, but I like to give credit where credit is due. Next to the Spurs, few squads play an unequivocal team game like the Grizz, but make no mistake, the backbone is still #50.
Hard to believe this was the same guy who got shipped out of Portland and New York for not being a winner and team guy.
Maybe there really is still hope out there for Demarcus Cousins.
3. Harrison Barnes
19.0 points and 8.0 boards in Games 1-5 before suffering that injury in the first half of game 6 (51 total points in games 4 and 5 combined).
Barnes is one of those guys who I say just looks way better in the NBA than he ever did in the college game.
His unique athleticism and solid jumper were unexpectedly consistent for the baby Warriors this post-season as quickly matured to become a junior version of a “2010 OKC James Harden” next to Steph and Klay.
Combine all that with his freak athleticism, and ability to create his own shot, and the Bay has a lot to be smiling about besides cashing in on Silicon startups.
4. Dwyane Wade
18 points, 7/13 shooting, 5 boards, 6 dimes, 2 steals in Game 5 after everyone said he was done.
D-Wade can still fool you.
And don’t get it twisted, he may not be 2006 D-Wade, but he’s far from washed up.
The man clearly has let King James take the full reign, but if there’s an opportunity to push the pedal, there are few two way guys who can do what Mr. Capri pants can.
5. Danny Green
22 points and 6 triples in that huge come from behind game 1 win that of course included his big time clutch triple.
*16 triples in the series against Golden State
I never thought Green would be this good ever, but as the old saying goes, let Pop get a hold of em’ and he’ll probably turn out decent.
A few seasons in and Green is taking what was only potential at one point in his UNC days to noticeably consistent results becoming not only a lock down defender on big time scorers like Steph Curry, but also turning what was a limited offensive game into a solid repertoire built around clutch three point shooting.
5. Jason Kidd
What we said for First Round Rejects applies here.
Kidd still hasn’t hit a shot and for that deserves every bit of that milk on his face (super pause).
4. David Lee
We were oh close to putting Lee on the First Round Heroes list for his amazingly quick return when he was supposed to be out for the remainder of the playoffs, but we thought better of it.
Why you ask?
Because David Lee just doesn’t matter.
The loss of Lee didn’t affect the Warriors one bit in the playoffs. In fact, they were probably better without him because they just moved Harrison Barnes over to the “4” and didn’t miss a beat.
If I’m the Warriors, I’d look to ship him out in a package to get themselves a true low-post scoring threat.
3. Danny Granger
For years I’ve been talking about how overrated Danny Granger is. Obviously, he’s a nice player, but far from the star that many people wanted to label him young in his career.
And clearly as you can see by Indiana’s Eastern Conference Finals appearance, Granger doesn’t matter one bit.
His $14 million expires after next season, which means his contract could be a nice piece in a deal.
Get on the horn, Donnie Walsh.
2. J.R. Smith and Tyson Chandler
I’m disgusted by what I saw from these two against Indiana. It’s hard not to be completely surprised with J.R. considering his track record and how it started to come loose at the end of the Boston series.
With Tyson though, being absolutely dominated is just a bad job.
Before the series, Roy Hibbert averaged just 5.5 points and 6.3 boards in four games against the Knicks in the regular season. By the end of the series, Hibbert posted two 20 and 12 games and averaged a double-double.
The reigning Defensive Player of the Year shouldn’t be getting rocked by someone with average offensive skills at best.
1. Kendrick Perkins
I’ve hated Kendrick Perkins for years. He’s atrocious.
And I’m sure OKC fans are even more pissed than I am because every time they see his face they just know it should be James Harden.
With all this amnesty talk regarding Perkins and the difference in negotiations between the Thunder and Harden being only about $5 million - which ironically is Perkins’ number - the $9.3 million this guy will be averaging over the next two years could’ve just been given to Harden.
Instead, while Perkins is posting a total of 24 points and 41 rebounds in 11 playoff games, OKC fans have to watch Harden becoming a star down in Houston.
What a joke.