For the first edition, I’ve balanced the players’ regular season play against their relatively meaningless first-round playoff series play. I don’t owe any player a blurb outside the top-10, and the list cuts off completely at 20—below that, I don’t think you’re fit to be playing in a conference semi-finals. Obviously, this is subjective, but get at me with your outrage and arguments for players you feel should move up or down.
1. Russell Westbrook
Kawhi Leonard may have had a better first round than Westbrook, and may have led his team to a more thorough dismantling of their opponent, but he didn’t murk anyone in a post-game conference while wearing a poncho.
2. Kawhi Leonard
Kawhi is not boring. He’s an active monster on defense that jumps off the screen. And despite his mild mannered reputation (or even because of it), he could give just as ruthless a deadpan interview as Westbrook if he wanted. You know he’s been sitting on a hushed-but-vicious clapback regarding Kevin Durant’s “system player” take, ready to pull it out in unexpected thug fashion after stealing Durant’s cookies in a key moment. Leonard plays with no mercy and has blossomed on offense (35.7 PER against Memphis); he’ll be a problem for the Thunder to figure out on both ends of the floor. Keep Reading…