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Top Ten Players in the NBA Finals

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One thing the long wait between the end of the Conference Finals and the start of the NBA Finals has afforded is the time to debate several trivial issues.  While some of the arguments are ridiculous (Kobe Bryant is better than Michael Jordan), some of them do have merit, such as ‘who are the ten best players playing in this year’s Finals?’.  In that vein, we tapped into the brightest basketball minds in the world today (otherwise known as Bloguin’s NBA writers) and voted on that issue.  So, without further ado, here is our rankings of the top ten players in this year’s Finals.

(The voters were Jeff Fox from The Hoops Manifesto, College Wolf of TWolves Blog, Brendan at Stepien Rules, Diego from Leaving It All On The Court, Mookie from A Stern Warning and newcomer WhiskeyDizzy from The Real Shaq)

1) Kobe Bryant – Lakers

A playoff assassin.  It doesn’t matter what he does during the regular season – in the playoffs you know he is going to bring it. (Jeff Fox, The Hoops Manifesto)

Shaq said at the beginning of the season that he wanted to be the “first to five” however it looks like his old teammate just might beat him there. (Brendan, Stepien Rules)

There is no better player in the game when it comes to the Finals. Who else would you want with a game on the line? (Mookie, A Stern Warning)

2) Rajon Rondo – Celtics

Step aside “Big Three” – your kid brother is running the show now. (Jeff Fox, The Hoops Manifesto)

STUD.  I don’t care what anyone says, he is the best player on the Celtics. (College Wolf, TWolves Blog)

If the Celtics beat the Lakers in this best of seven, it will be because the Lakers had no answer for the same guy the Cavs had no answer for. (Brendan, Stepien Rules)

3) Pau Gasol – Lakers

Lucky for the Lakers he’s not as Charmin Soft as he was two+ years ago. (College Wolf, TWolves Blog)

The most skilled big man in the game. He is a joy to watch with his footwork, soft touch and basketball IQ. I could quite happily watch Pau and Pau only for the entire series. (Mookie, A Stern Warning

Could average 20 & 10 every night if Kobe would let him. A credit to him how efficient he is with the touches he gets. (WhiskeyDizzy, The Real Shaq)

4) Paul Pierce – Celtics

Is still an offensive threat, as evidenced by his 24 points per game average in the Conference Finals. He has a respectable jump shot and while not the fastest player on the court, is crafty enough to get to the rim. (Diego, Leaving It All On The Court)

I think my fellow voters are underestimating Paul Pierce.  Only two seasons removed from winning Finals MVP, it wouldn’t be considered a shock if he won the award again this year. (Jeff Fox, The Hoops Manifesto)

5) Kevin Garnett – Celtics

Although he did not play well in the Conference Finals, Garnett will challenge Gasol with his length. His health is a concern, but he is still a formidable player. (Diego, Leaving It All On The Court)

His intensity on defence is a necessity for this Celtics team. If he can be an effective scorer as well, then the Lakers have a serious task on their hands. (Mookie, A Stern Warning

His resurgence is the reason the Celtics have made it back to the Finals. His stats are not eye-popping, but KG’s defense and leadership make him the most important of the Big Three. (WhiskeyDizzy, The Real Shaq)

6) Ray Allen – Celtics

Playing so much better this post-season.  His shot is beauty. (College Wolf, TWolves Blog)

If Artest guards Pierce, look for Allen in this series. Doc Rivers may have Allen constantly come off of picks to open up space for Allen to take long-range shots in an effort to wear Bryant down. (Diego, Leaving It All On The Court)

The veteran scorer is as pure a shooter as there has ever been and a few big scoring games from him will turn the tide Boston’s way. (Mookie, A Stern Warning)

7) Ron Artest – Lakers

The ultimate X-factor as a player, if he can find a way to impact this series significantly it will be tough to beat the Lakers. (Brendan, Stepien Rules)

The ultimate X-Factor. I’m sure that Phil Jackson makes his game plans with the thought that Odom will not show up — when he does, it’s a bonus and generally results in a Lakers win. (Mookie, A Stern Warning)

Something tells me he could be the ultimate X-factor this series. (Jeff Fox, The Hoops Manifesto)

8) Lamar Odom – Lakers

Has not played that well this postseason, but he is a very skilled player. He rebounds better than Amar’e Stoudemire, can take his man off the dribble and handles the ball like a guard. (Diego, Leaving It All On The Court)

You could argue that he is the most skilled player in the Finals.  But can you count on him? (Jeff Fox, The Hoops Manifesto)

9) Kendrick Perkins – Celtics

His D on Dwight Howard was lauded as a massive factor for the Celtics against Orlando. Will he be required to put up the same effort against Andrew Bynum? Unlikely. (Mookie, A Stern Warning)

I had a hard time choosing between Bynum and Perkins here. For now, I’ll go with the Boston center because of Bynum’s injury; the Lakers big man has been inconsistent at best throughout the playoffs. With that being said, Perkins’ defense is overstated. Dwight Howard shot 57% from the field and had 32 points in a game during the Conference Finals. (Diego, Leaving It All On The Court)

His defense on Gasol and Bynum will be key to Boston’s success. (WhiskeyDizzy, The Real Shaq)

10) Derek Fisher – Lakers

kobe_bryant_holding_nba_finals_mvp_trophy_while_derek_fisher_holds_the_championship_trophy

If he gets the opportunity to knock down a big shot, there’s a good chance he’ll make it. Needs to hold his own against Rondo. (Mookie, A Stern Warning)

Say all you want about Gasol or Odom, but Derek Fisher is really Kobe’s right hand man. (Jeff Fox, The Hoops Manifesto)

About Jeff Fox

Jeff Fox is Mr. Manifesto - the Supreme Leader and evil mind behind The Hoops Manifesto & The MMA Manifesto

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