10 Gabe Vincent. The man who has become Miami's leading point guard is one of the pleasant surprises of the season. A player who wasn't even selected in the draft, but turns out to be a great basketball player and also someone who knows how to reach the big stands.
In the second game he was great and Miami won, it needs more games like this from him to stay in the picture in this series.
Vincent. Had a great time in Miami, Photo: AP
9 Duncan Robinson. Going by the stats, Gabe Vincent deserves to be on this list ahead of Robinson. But in the finals, the mighty scorer has already proven that the coach will prefer him on the floor in the decisive moments.
Robinson, after a weak regular season, shot 43 percent from three in the playoffs and was one of the standouts in the series against Boston. After a shocking game in the Finals opener, Spoelstra and Miami need him sharper.
Robinson. It's on time, Photo: USA TODAY Sports
8 Cantavius Caldwell-Pope. KCP is the kind of player any NBA coach would want on his team. He is a great defensive player both individually and as a team, an excellent shooter from outside the arc and brings a lot of experience to the court.
If he wins a championship with Denver, it will be his second championship title in four seasons, after winning the bubble with the Los Angeles Lakers in the 4 season. Even then on Miami's head.
Caldwell-Pope. Want a second championship, Photo: AP
7 Aaron Gordon. At 27, Denver's forward is finally getting the recognition he deserves in the NBA. Until now, he was best known for his dunk competition and athletic abilities.
He's been able to stop all opposing teams' stars defensively, and he's played a huge part in the Nuggets' success. "I'll definitely sit in my rocking chair when I'm 90 and tell my grandchildren, 'Yes, once, you stopped these guys,'" he told Israel Hayom envoy Ronen Dorfen at the press conference.
"Definitely gonna be sitting in my rocking chair ... talking to my kids like, 'yeah, back in the day, I locked these guys up.'"
-Aaron Gordon on guarding KAT, KD, LeBron & Jimmy in the playoffs 🤣 pic.twitter.com/KwP4oBkfxu
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) June 3, 2023
Gordon. Mighty shield, photo: AP
6 Michael Porter Jr. I debated whether to rank Porter Jr. above Caleb Martin, but he has been very disappointing so far in the Finals, even though on the page he is a very quality player.
For years the forward has been criticized for bad defensive play, but he has improved a lot in that area, and offensively he is one of the most dangerous players in this series. Definitely someone who could prove to be Denver's X-factor in the remaining games.
Porter Jr. Not yet in the final, Photo: AFP
5 Caleb Martin. Honestly, most of you didn't know this player before the playoffs. He probably wouldn't even have gotten into that ranking. But what Martin does in the postseason is tremendous.
Beyond the huge improvement in numbers, and the baskets in the clutch, what is no less impressive about the guard is the level of performance. He has managed to almost completely forget Tyler Herro's injury, and by next season he will be worth a lot of money.
Martin. On the way to the basket, photo: USA TODAY Sports
4 Bam Adebayo. One of the best defensive players in the league, winning the last playoffs with quite a bit of criticism from fans and the media. However, he also deserves quite a bit of credit for what he's been doing with Miami this season.
The center rarely gets off the floor for a minute, he is involved in every offensive move of the team, puts up very nice averages and does an important job on defense. So far in the finals he has been good on the offensive side, but his real goal in the series is to stop Nikola Jokic. It's hard.
Adebayo. Deserves more credit, Photo: AP
3 Jamal Murray. Jamal Murray isn't a superstar on the level of Jokic or Butler, but the qualitative gap between him and the names that will come after him is big. In fact, when you look at his numbers in the playoffs, he's not far from Jimmy. A Manny Time player.
In Denver's last two postseasons, he sat injured on the bench and watched his teammates from the sidelines, and when looking for the significant difference in Nuggets' ability this season compared to the past, Murray is definitely the answer.
Jamal Murray. At its peak, photo: USA TODAY Sports
2 Jimmy Butler. What Jimmy Butler is doing with the Miami Heat in the current playoffs is unimaginable, historic. At 33, with a mediocre team on paper, Butler delivers a postseason that makes everyone realize he's much better than we thought. It's a playoff that will radically change the legacy he'll leave behind in the league.
Jimmy is a playoff beast, for real. Otherwise, it is impossible to explain the drastic jump in his numbers (from 22.9 in the season to 27.3 in the playoffs). Miami came into the Finals as a clear underdog, and if it manages to surprise, then its superstar will surely have a significant part in the achievement. Imagine how we would remember him if he ended this season with a ring on his finger.
Butler. Get a ring?, Photo: AP
1 Nikola Jokic. Nikola Jokic's ego was supposed to take a hard hit in the NBA regular-season finale when Joel Embiid was named MVP. But the Serbian center has no ego, so it didn't exactly bother him, and if anyone still had any doubts, then in the current playoffs Jokic proved that he is the best player in the world. In the gap.
With psychic averages of 30.5 points, 13.4 rebounds and 10.1 assists per game in the playoffs, the center lacks only one last stamp, a championship ring on his finger. "If you don't like him, you have a problem," Charles Barkley described the Denver Nuggets phenomenon.
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Jokic. The numbers are numbers, photo: USA TODAY Sports
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