Starting 5: First Round Top Performers
PG – John Wall, WAS (29.5 PTS 4.0 REB 10.3 AST 1.7 STL 52.5 FG%)
John Wall was electric during the first round of the playoffs acting as both primary scorer and playmaker, recording a double-double in 3 of their 6 games. Although he had a hard time slowing down Dennis Schroder on the defensive end, Wall was almost perfect on the offensive side of the ball. Not only did he manage to average 30 PPG, he did so on 53% shooting from the field and 48% shooting from the 3-point line. Wall was by far the best player during the Wizards-Hawks series, and virtually did whatever he wanted.
SG – DeMar DeRozan, TOR (23.5 PTS 5.5 REB 3.0 AST 1.7 STL 92.0 FT%)
DeMar DeRozan had a roller coaster of a first round series. Each virtuoso performance seemed to be followed by a dud, but overall he was great for Toronto. DeMar carried the Raptors on his back and had the series highest usage rating at 32.3%. He did a good job of getting to the free throw line and shot an outstanding 92% on his 50 attempts. After his awful game 3 performance, DeMar went on to average 28 PTS in the final 3 games to close the Bucks out in 6.
SF – LeBron James, CLE (32.8 PTS 9.8 REB 9.0 AST 3.0 STL 2.0 STL)
Once again, LeBron James was sensational in the first round. That makes 5 straight seasons that a LeBron James led team has swept their first round opponent, and 21 straight first round wins for the King. LeBron has been the best player in the playoffs so far, and that shouldn’t surprise anyone. He’s averaging 33 PPG on 54% shooting from the floor and 45% from deep. Other than his poor free-throw shooting, he’s been perfect through four games.
PF – Giannis Antetokounmpo, MIL (24.8 PTS 9.7 REB 4.0 AST 2.2 STL 1.7 BLK)
Unfortunately, his exciting performances resulted in an early exit at the hands of the Toronto Raptors, but that doesn’t take away from how impressive Giannis was during the opening round. Giannis averaged 40 minutes per game and even played 47 mins in the deciding game 6, so his value to Milwaukee is evident. Despite being the focal point of one of the league’s best defensive teams, Giannis was able to average 25 PPG on a blistering 53%, and even shot 40% from the 3-point line.
C – DeAndre Jordan, LAC (14.0 PTS 13.8 REB 1.0 BLK 69.4 FG%)
DeAndre Jordan hasn’t been blocking shots at the rate he is used to, but he has still been a defensive force for the Clippers in round 1. No one is rebounding the ball better than Jordan in the playoffs, and all of the those extra possessions have proved to be vital in their first round match-up with Utah. He was no slouch on the offensive end either averaging 14 PPG on a phenomenal 69% shooting. Unfortunately, his dreadful free-throw shooting has kept his off the floor late in the fourth quarter.
6th Man – Kawhi Leonard, SAS (31.2 PTS 6.0 REB 3.8 AST 2.0 STL 96.7 FT%)
So far in the playoffs Kawhi Leonard has been the most impressive player not named LeBron James. On the offensive end, Kawhi has been doing everything for the Spurs and he’s been incredibly clutch in late game situations. He’s been so efficient, shooting 55% from the field, 48% from the 3-point line and a blazing 97% from the free throw line. Although he hasn’t been his usual lock-down self on the defensive end, he has still come up with some huge stops toward the end of close games to help eliminate the Grizzlies in 6 games.
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