Best players in the Playoffs for each position

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A.J. Perfetto, Contributing Writer

In 1949 the Basketball Association of America (BAA) and the National Basketball League (NBL) came together as one to form a new league. This league is what we know today as the National Basketball Association (NBA).

Since the NBA was founded in New York City 70 years ago there has been many additions and modifications to how the playoffs are operated. They’re structured into 16 teams (8 per conference) that battle it out in a seven game series to move on and win their respected Conference. The two teams that come out on top of the West and East conferences will partake in the NBA Finals.

The 82 game season takes a toll on the team’s chemistry, players and coaching staff whether it be positive or negative. But this year, the 2019 NBA Playoffs are full of phenomenal talent and big names.

As of April 10, 2019, the 16 teams that will be in the playoffs are the: Warriors, Nuggets, Rockets, Trailblazers, Jazz, Clippers, Spurs, Thunder, Bucks, Raptors, 76ers, Celtics, Pacers, Pistons, Nets and the Magic.

All the teams have amazing players to start for them. However, there are many that surpass the competition for each position. There are a lot of different opinions on who is the best in each position. These opinions create debates between friends, co-workers and even professional analysts. Here is how I would rank the best players for each starting position.

Point Guard (PG): Stephen Curry (Warriors)

2018-19 Season Stats

Points Per Game: 27.9

Assists Per Game: 5.3

RPG: 5.4

Stephen (Steph) Curry is the starting point guard for the possible one seed in the Western Conference, the Golden State Warriors. Curry was drafted by the Golden State Warriors in 2009 and has seen on a rise in his overall quality as a player and leader.

He led the Warriors to three championships in the past four years, and excels at the PG position with his speed, ball handling and vision of the court. This year Curry has recorded his second best points per game with 27.9 and rebounds with 5.4 and a below average assists per game with 5.3.

While Curry is far behind Russell Westbrook in assists (10.7 assists per game) he excels in the other aspects of what a point guard needs to do. The point guards main abilities are shooting, ball handling, court vision and ability to pass. This will be Curry’s fifth playoff appearance since he was drafted.

Shooting Guard (SG): James Harden (Rockets)

2018-19 Season Stats

Points Per Game: 36.4

Assists Per Game: 7.6

Rebounds Per Game: 6.5

The reigning NBA MVP James Harden is by far the best Shooting Guard in the playoffs and in the NBA as a whole. Harden was originally drafted by the Oklahoma City Thunder in 2009. He became a Free Agent in 2012 and chose to leave Oklahoma City and continue his NBA career in Houston as a Rocket.

This will be Harden’s 8th playoff appearance with the Rockets and he has shown impressive numbers each year. Coming off an amazing season last year, Harden is putting up an even better one this season. So far, he’s has been averaging an amazing 36.4 points per game, 7.6 assists per game and 6.5 rebounds per game.

Harden excels at the main skills of shooting, passing and finishing at the rim. His main downfall, however, is his defense, his defence is so bad he probably ranks among the lowest overall for Shooting Guards. On the other hand he has one of the best plus minus (Measures overall team impact and point differential per 100 possessions) than any other player in the NBA.

Second place to Harden would have to be Donovan Mitchell from the Jazz. While his numbers might not be up with Hardens incredible stat line he has the edge in athleticism. His overall capability of knocking down shots anywhere on the court is very impressive also.

Small Forward (SF): Kevin Durant (Warriors)

2018-19 Season Stats

PPG: 26.5

APG: 5.8

RPG: 6.5

Kevin (KD) Durant is one of the best players in the NBA at the moment. He has put up incredible numbers since he left the University of Texas. KD was drafted in 2007 to the Seattle Supersonics (later named Oklahoma City Thunder). Then, in 2016, he decided to go to the Golden State Warriors.

KD received a lot of hate for leaving his team and was given the nickname “Snake.” KD is no rookie to the playoffs. In fact, he’s partaken in a total of 9 (6 with OKC and 3 with GSW) playoffs since 2007. Durant has put up an average stat line of 26.5 points per game, 5.8 assists per game and 6.5 rebounds per game. He has been a key part to the Warriors offense these past three years with his length, speed, power and overall athleticism.

KD’s main competitor for this spot is Paul George of the Thunder. Paul George is a very close second to Durant averaging about two points and two rebounds per game. With that being said KD’s overall athleticism and length give him the upper hand against His opponents while George does not have that ability.

Power Forward (PF): Giannis Antetokounmpo (Bucks)

2018-19 Season Stats

PPG: 27.4

APG: 5.9

RPG: 12.5

Giannis Antetokounmpo, at the moment, is the favorite for winning the 2018-2019 NBA MVP with his incredible state line of 27.4 points, 5.9 assists and 12.5 rebounds per game. Giannis has length that helps him out a lot when it comes to his game, being 6-foot-11 and having a wingspan of 7-feet-3 he uses both of these freakish heights to his advantage.

Giannis was drafted in 2013 by the Milwaukee Bucks, being from Greece he had to do a lot more to improve his game while being overseas and being looked at as a top 20 pick for the NBA. However, that didn’t slow him down or scare him as he has led the Bucks to the best record in the NBA for the first time since Kareem Abdul-Jabbar played in the 1970-1971 season.

The main competitor for Antetokounmpo would be Blake Griffin from the Detroit Pistons. Griffin has helped a needy Pistons offence and brought them to the eight seed in the East. One the other hand, Antetokounmpo has Griffin beat in every main category with 24.5 points per game, 7.5 rebounds per game and 5.4 assists per game.

Center (C): Nikola Jokić (Nuggets)

2018-19 Season Stats

PPG: 20.3

APG: 7.4

RPG: 10.8

Last but not least is the center position, this position is by far the most physically demanding position in the history of the NBA. You need to have height, strength, finishing ability and quick reflexes.

This year in the playoffs, the best center has to be Nikola Jokić, he has put up decent numbers as a center with 20.5 points, 10.8 rebounds and an astounding 7.4 assists per game. His rebounding numbers are a little low for a center, but he fills that hole with his amazing court awareness and swift passing.

Jokić was drafted by the Denver Nuggets in 2014 and with his 7-0 height and 250 pounds of pure muscle he can move wherever he want to in the paint. He has dominated opposing centers throughout the season and have helped the Nuggets earn a possible two seed.

The main contender with Jokić would be Joel Embiid, the numbers are in Embiid’s favor however, he doesn’t provide as much to the team as Jokić has. He also hasn’t shown me anything special in the playoffs while Jokić has.

When it comes to the playoffs it is only the best that survives. For the teams, these key players performances could make or break their season. Being the best team is an awe of itself but being the best of the best for each position is much harder to accomplish based on individual and not team performance.