Seven-game series are volatile! And so are these rankings. The players are ranked on the balance of their performance so far in Round 2.
1. LaMarcus Aldridge (+1 from last edition)
Aldridge is an amazing midrange shooter, and helped the Spurs claw their way back into Game 2 with his three-point prowess. The Thunder appear to be comfortable letting the Spurs pour possession after possession into Aldridge post-ups, and the odds are high that his shooting comes down to earth soon. If not, they’re going to have to deal with prime Kareem-level production throughout the series.
2. Russell Westbrook (+7)
Recency bias! After an atrocious Game 1, Westbrook is still averaging 29/10/7 on 44% shooting for the series. Westbrook set the tone in Game 2, getting the Thunder started on the right foot and redeeming himself in pick and roll defense all game.
3. Kawhi Leonard (-2)
Leonard fell way off from his monster Game 1 performance. His still-great team defense wasn’t as effective, as Westbrook torched the back line when funneled there by Leonard. He did almost consume Cameron Payne in the backcourt, though.
4. Kevin Durant (+2)
Durant is shooting 50% for the series, and hit the biggest shot for the Thunder late to help put away Game 2. But most of his 5 turnovers were ugly, and the Westbrook-less units led by KD are still very shaky.
5. Steven Adams (+3)
MVP of Game 2. The Toof scared/defended the Spurs out of 4 shot attempts in the final 10 seconds. Also: he’s averaging a double-double for the series.
6. Serge Ibaka (-1)
Ibaka is getting punished by LaMarcus Abdul-Jabarr, but somebody’s gotta. Serge’s shooting stroke is still holding up, and he’s been playing smart for the most part. (Fouling Aldridge on a three-pointer in the clutch: one of his not-so-smart moments.)
7. Danny Green (-3)
Green didn’t do a lot in Game 2 outside of hitting wide open shots and starting the sloppy 3-on-1 that went kaput for San Antonio.
8. Andre Roberson (+7)
Roberson made life difficult for Leonard all night. If he can sustain close to that level of resistance, he’ll keep moving up these ranks.
9. Dion Waiters (-2)
I can’t tell you how badly I wanted to put Dion #1. Waiters’ corner three, one-on-one defense on Leonard, and playground shove are all going on display in the Waiters Island Museum.
10. Tim Duncan (-7)
Duncan went from locking down the paint in Game 1 to looking washed in Game 2. Three days rest before Game 3 should save him from a final, disgraceful DNP-OLD.
11. Enes Kanter (+3)
Who predicted 3 blocks for Kanter in Game 3? If the lesser Mustache Bro can deter Parker in the paint, his vulnerabilities in the PNR are just about moot against the rest of the Spurs’ personnel.
12. Manu Ginobili (+0)
13. Boris Diaw (-3)
Why isn’t he playing more?
14. Tony Parker (+5)
15. David West (-2)
16. Patty Mills (+0)
Mills’ final shot in Game 2 was so bad that he had an awkward exchange with a reporter who was sure it was deflected. His poor three-point shooting has been a flat tire on the Spurs’ offense.
17. Cameron Payne (-6)
Bad game for the rookie, but Billy Donovan appeared committed to featuring him over Randy Foye for better or worse. No guarantee he gives him that leash again, but the point guard’s feet might be under him a bit more at home.
18. Anthony Morrow (+0)
19. Kyle Anderson (1)
20. Boban Marjanovic (-3)
If Duncan is slow, Boban is 56k.
Honorable mentions: He hasn’t played a minute in the series, but I wouldn’t be shocked if Gregg Popovich dusted off Jonathon Simmons should the Duncan/Anderson/Diaw/Marjanovic crew continue to struggle.
Dishonorable mentions: None of the worst players saw the court in Game 2 for either team.