#8 – Joel Embiid, Philadelphia 76ers
Joel Embiid is playing at a level not seen for a while from a post player. Though Giannis put up similar counting stats in the last few years, he doesn’t have the same post presence that Embiid does. After being embarrassed in last year’s playoffs, the 76ers hired master GM Daryl Morey and re-jigged their roster. By adding Doc Rivers as coach, they spruced up the offense and re-invigorated Embiid.
He improved his efficiency in a big way, going on to have one of the best big men seasons in recent memory. During these playoffs, the 76ers are about to dispose of the Washington Wizards in a likely sweep, and Embiid can show the type of playoff form that we all knew he was capable of.
#7 – Giannis Antetokounmpo, Milwaukee Bucks
It shows just how strong the NBA is now that Giannis Antetokounmpo may only make second-team All-NBA with the crazy stat line of 28 / 11 / 6 on a team that won 46 games in a shortened season.
Giannis is the current MVP, after winning the trophy in back-to-back years, but he hasn’t had a coming-out party in the NBA Playoffs just yet. He has made the conference finals in 2019 and put up some impressive counting stats, but he doesn’t have the post-season success that some of these others, which would put him higher on this list.
After just sweeping the Miami Heat this year, he is putting himself in the conversation for higher honors.
#6 – Luka Doncic, Dallas Mavericks
Though he is just 22 and in only his second playoffs, Luka Doncic is auditioning for greatness in this playoffs. With playoff stats not seen since the early days of NBA great Michael Jordan or LeBron, Luka is playing at an MVP level. The only reason he wasn’t in consideration for the MVP this year was his team’s slightly lower record.
Already through three playoff games, Luka has the astounding stat line of 38 points per game on 51 percent from the field and 46 percent from three. After Sunday’s game four against the LA Clippers, he has his Mavericks with a two-all tie.
Luka is a once-in-a-generation talent, and at 22, he is already starting to put himself in the conversation for the best player in the game.
#5 – Damian Lillard, Portland Trail Blazers
Dame has his best start to an NBA playoffs in his career. With higher efficiency than normal and more playmaking, Dame has driven the lower seed Blazers to a two-a-piece series against the Nuggets. They have one of the best offenses in the NBA and didn’t truly hit their straps until game four when they blew the Nuggets out.
Dame has only made the one conference finals in his career, but this season with a strong and fit Blazer team, and some uncertainty within the West contenders, he has the chance to make another appearance.