The Playoffs are all that matters, as regardless of how good you were throughout the whole regular season, it can all go to waste over a week or so, with the postseason happening so fast and having so little time to make adjustments.
Either because of exhaustion, defensive adjustments or merely because they got scared, some players tend to disappear in crunch time or get totally beaten by their opposition and get acknowledge as chokers by most fans.
This year’s Playoffs hasn’t been exactly the exception, with several ballers struggling to replicate their regular season success over the first week of the postseason, and today, we’re going to let you know who the top 5 players that need to play way better in the playoffs are.
5. Marcin Gortat
Marcin Gortat has completely disappeared throughout these couple of matchups, being totally bullied around by Jonas Valanciunas en route to a 1-2 Raptors lead against a Wizards squad that doesn’t look like they’re actually trying to compete.
After posting a modest 12-6 stat line in 28 minutes in Game 1, the Polish hammer went scoreless with 3 boards in just 4 field goal attempts in 12 minutes in Game 2, and they definitely need to make his presence feel down low if they want to make this one a series.
Finally, Gortat has a solid stat line last night with 16 points and 5 rebounds.
4. Eric Bledsoe
Eric Bledsoe has a big mouth but has struggled to live up to his words. When asked about Terry Rozier, he blatantly replied he didn’t know who the (bleep) he was, but truth to be told, he’s been completely embarrassed by the Celtics backup point guard in both ends of the hardwood.
Bledsoe was supposed to be a huge factor down the stretch for the Milwaukee Bucks, but the only thing worse than his shot selection this series has been his horrid defense. Over 2 games, he’s averaged just 10.5 points on 36% shooting, with just 2 free throw attempts and 3 turnovers a contest.
Last night, he was very good with 17 points, 4 rebounds and 4 assists.
3. Hassan Whiteside
Just like Bledsoe, Whiteside is a guy that needs to put his money where his mouth is, as he continues to blame Erik Spoelstra for his mediocre performances night in and night out, not to mention how much Joel Embiid toyed with him during game 3 following a couple of games in the sidelines.
Whiteside has struggled all season long and he’s got way more confidence than actual contributions, posting averages of 3.7 points, 4 rebounds, 3 personal fouls and 2.3 turnovers for a plus-minus of -6 in just 13.6 minutes per game.
2. Damian Lillard
Jrue Holiday has had Damian Lillard in his pocket all series long, and the Portland Trail Blazers and in serious danger of being not only swept but also humiliated by the New Orleans Pelicans after having a terrific season and finishing off with the 3rd best record in the Western Conference.
Lillard has always thrived in crunch time and tends to peak during the postseason, but Holiday has done a terrific job completely erasing him out of this series. Over 3 games he’s averaged 18.3 points in roughly 32% shooting, with 5 turnovers against 4.3 dimes and a plus-minus of -11.7.
1. Karl-Anthony Towns
After showing up huge down the stretch to help the Timberwolves secure a playoff berth, Karl-Anthony Towns has been by far the most disappointing players of the playoffs so far, being unaware, unaggressive, hiding and barely facing up to the basket against Clint Capela.
The Rockets have done a fantastic job taking him out of rhythm but come, even Derrick Rose has outscored Towns over the course of the series. He’s looking extremely soft, averaging just 9 field goal attempts per game en route to 6.5 points on 27% shooting to go along with a plus-minus of -11.