Top Five Players In The 2023 NBA Playoffs | Nikola Jokic Leads The Pack

The NBA Finals are in full swing and following weeks and rounds of crazy end-to-end action, we’ll crown an NBA champion over the next two weeks.

In a series now tied 1-1 as it shifts to Miami, if we’re lucky enough to reach a Game 7, that will take place on Father’s Day, June 18. 

That may be a little ways from now. In the meantime, here’s a list of the best players in the playoffs so far.

Nikola Jokic, Denver Nuggets, Center

The Denver Nuggets are appearing in their first NBA Finals in franchise history, and the bulk of the credit goes to the “Serbian Sensation.” The former back-to-back MVP has been the best and most consistent player in the playoffs. In Sunday’s tough Game 2 loss, Jokic went for 41 points, 11 rebounds and four assists. Such a low total of assists is not usually a successful recipe for the Nuggets, who thrive when Joker is distributing more than shooting. So he’ll be looking to get back to his normal approach in a huge Game 3 in Miami. 

In the 2023 playoffs, Jokic is averaging 29.8 points, 13.1 rebounds and 10.5 assists per game.

Prior to last week’s NBA Finals Game 1, Nuggets head coach Mike Malone spoke highly of his superstar. 

“The MVPs are real. All the narratives are silly. He’s averaging a triple-double. Do you see any stat padding there? Give him his d–n respect.”

Jimmy Butler, Miami Heat, Forward

The heart and soul of the Miami Heat basketball team is star player Jimmy Butler.

The former first-round pick out of Marquette has found himself a home in South Beach, and he’s making the most out of it. More importantly, he’s a true leader.

During Miami’s improbable run in the NBA Finals, Butler has been magnificent. In series wins over the heavily favored Milwaukee Bucks, New York Knicks and Boston Celtics, Butler’s grit and determination have resonated with his team and driven them within three games of winning the franchise’s second NBA championship.  

Averaging a cool 27 points, seven rebounds and nearly six assists per game, on shooting splits of 48/36/81, Butler is the straw that stirs the drink for the Heat.

Stephen Curry, Golden State Warriors, Guard

Steph does what Steph does, and that’s put on epic shooting displays like we’ve never seen before. While the defending champion Warriors came up short in their repeat bid, losing to the Los Angeles Lakers in six games in the Western Conference Semis, Curry was magnificent throughout the Dubs run. 

In an epic Game 7 win against the upstart Sacramento Kings, Curry poured in 50 points, a Game 7 record.

The greatest shooter ever overcame a slow start, and rebounded masterfully to post averages of 31 points, seven assists and six rebounds in 13 playoff games — on shooting splits of 47/37/85. 

Jamal Murray, Denver Nuggets, Guard

Having returned this season from a torn ACL suffered at the end of the 2020-21, Murray was up-and-down for a good portion of the regular season.

But in these playoffs, the former Kentucky star has been the “Robin” to Jokic’s “Batman.” His performance in the Nuggets surprising Western Conference Finals sweep of the Lakers proved that he’s definitely back and even better than he was pre-injury. 

His breakout Game 2 and Game 3 performances of that series further proved his worthiness of being mentioned with the league’s best guards.

The Canadian-born sharpshooter is averaging 27/7/6 on shooting splits of 48/39/92 in the postseason. His play over the next five games will go a long way in determining if the Nuggets are able to win their first NBA title. 

Jalen Brunson, New York Knicks, Guard

In his final season with the Dallas Mavericks, Brunson showed his value, but for some strange reason the Mavericks decided they’d be better off without the talented combo guard.

He was just what the doctor ordered for a Knicks team in need of a floor leader, playmaker and big-shot maker.

He led the team to 47-35 regular season and its second playoff appearances in the last three seasons, which included a five-game series win over the No. 4 Cleveland Cavaliers in the first round of the playoffs.

In that series, the former two-time national champion at Villanova outplayed Cavs star Donovan Mitchell, whom the Knicks originally looked to trade before signing Brunson as a free agent. 

In 11 playoff games, Brunson averaged 28 points, six assists and five rebounds on shooting splits of 47/34/91. The Knicks found one, while the Mavs are kicking themselves for letting him get away. 

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