All-NBA Playoff Team: Week 3
Selections were mostly based on the best overall stats for the week, but other factors such as defense, winning and losing and performance in closeout games were also considered.
With some overlap between rounds, it was hard to determine how much credit to give players who were sent home early. They had just one game and, obviously, their team lost that game. I ended up deciding to count those players but factor in that they lost.
Please note that only this week’s games, May 2-8, were considered. The games that preceded the specified dates are not factored in. Here are the stats for the dates included from NBA.com/STATS. And, here are the players who stood out the most.
Point Guard: Chris Paul, Los Angeles Clippers
Statistically, they were pretty close to even. I ended up giving Paul the nod because he has the advantage in the head-to-head. When both the superstars have been on the court at the same time, the Clippers have outscored the Thunder by 16 points (account required).
Paul averaged 23.7 points, 11.7 assists and 3.0 rebounds in three games this week. He shot .619 from the field and .647 from deep.
Honorable Mention: Russell Westbrook, Oklahoma City Thunder
Russell Westbrook wasn’t far behind. He averaged 29.0 points, 10.0 assists and 8.0 rebounds. He shot .615 overall, .545 from three. He also had two triple-doubles. You can see why it was a tough decision.
Shooting Guard: Bradley Beal, Washington Wizards
Bradley Beal’s first postseason appearance has been a remarkable one. This week, the Washington Wizard was the best shooting guard in the playoffs. He positively stuffed the stat sheet, averaging 21.0 points, 7.0 assists, 6.0 rebounds and 3.5 steals.
For the postseason as a whole, he is averaging 20.1 points, 5.0 rebounds and 5.0 assists, putting him on pace to become the youngest player in history to have a 20-point, five-rebound, five-assist postseason.
Honorable Mention: James Harden, Houston Rockets
James Harden of the Houston Rockets gets the nod for honorable mention here. In the one game he played, he scored 34 points and dished out six assists. He shot .600 from the field and .667 from three. He also made all 12 of his free throws. His true shooting percentage was .838. Offensively, he was great.
However, his defense was suspect that game (as well as the rest of the series) and a key factor in the Rockets getting sent home early.
Small Forward: Kevin Durant, Oklahoma City Thunder
How do you say I’m the MVP in Oklahoman? If you’re Kevin Durant of the Oklahoma City Thunder, it’s with the best week of basketball in the NBA the week you get awarded the trophy.
Durant averaged 30 points, 5.0 assists and 8.0 rebounds in three games, leading the Thunder to a 2-1 record. That includes a bounce-back win on the night he received the award. Allegedly, he literally shot the lights out.
Honorable Mention: Paul George, Indiana Pacers
Paul George helped his team on and off the court this week. His 19.7 points, 7.7 rebounds and 4.0 assists were certainly helpful in getting the Indiana Pacers over the Atlanta Hawks in their first-round series and in evening out the series with the Washington Wizards.
Yesterday after practice, he invited me out on his boat and we fished for about two hours, and just relaxed and didn’t talk about basketball. We just talked about life and trying to catch some bass. He reached out and got my mind off things. Hopefully it’s something I can build on, and he’s a great teammate, so I really do appreciate him reaching out because he didn’t have to.
For both his play and leadership, George gets the honorable mention.
Power Forward: LaMarcus Aldridge, Portland Trail Blazers
If we’re just basing this on winning and losing, it’s hard to justify giving this to LaMarcus Aldridge of the Portland Trail Blazers. His team has gotten drubbed by a total of 41 points in the first two games.
However, we're only factoring in winning as a part, not the whole. We have to ask the question, is Portland getting destroyed by the San Antonio Spurs because of Aldridge or in spite of him? It seems the latter.
For the week, Aldridge averaged 26.0 points and 12.3 rebounds. In just the second round, those numbers are 24 and 12. Compare that with his counterpart on San Antonio, Tim Duncan, who has averaged 11 and 8.5.
Clearly, Aldridge isn’t the reason the Trail Blazers are getting their teeth kicked out.
Portland is getting decimated because they have no clue how to slow down San Antonio’s multiple screen sets, which are resulting in an astronomical three-point shooting performance. The Spurs are 19-of-36 from deep in the first two games, and that’s not on Aldridge. It's on the perimeter defenders and the coaching staff.
Honorable Mention: Blake Griffin, Los Angeles Clippers
Blake Griffin averaged 20.7 points, 5.3 rebounds and 4.3 assists for the Los Angeles Clippers this week. Those numbers aren’t fantastic, but they’re the second best among power forwards.
When you factor in the sideshow created by the Donald Sterling fiasco, it’s a bit forgivable that Griffin’s numbers are a bit down this postseason. However, if the Clippers are going to survive the storm and sail through the Thunder, he’ll need to pick things up, especially his rebounding.
Center: Marcin Gortat, Washington Wizards
Below the radar, Marcin Gortat had a spectacular week, averaging 16.5 points and 13.5 rebounds a contest. He also shot .519 from the field, including .667 inside the restricted area. Considering that most of the time he’s been defended by Roy Hibbert, the best rim protector in the business, that’s impressive.
The Wizards' first-round series was won by Nene outplaying Defensive Player of the Year Joakim Noah. Their second-round series might depend on Gortat outplaying Hibbert, the runner-up to Noah.
Honorable Mention: Chris Bosh, Miami Heat
I declare a one-week moratorium on all Chris Bosh jokes. No more “Two and a Half Men” or “dinosaur” jests can be made about the Miami Heat center. He notched 16.5 points and 8.5 boards in helping the Heat to continue their undefeated postseason. Thus, as result of Week 3’s honorable mention, all mentions of Bosh must be honorable.