Ranking All 40 Starters Left in the NBA Playoffs

By Oren Ramer   May 2, 2023 

Ranking All 40 Starters Left in the NBA Playoffs

As the NBA playoffs progress, the importance of having the best player on the court becomes increasingly crucial. The performance of star players has proven to be a significant factor in determining a team’s success both in individual games and throughout a series. Notably, players such as Jimmy Butler and Steph Curry have displayed their ability to take over games and carry their teams to unexpected victories

So, we decided to rank the 40 remaining starters in the NBA Playoffs based on their regular season success, playoff performance, and overall impact on the game.

The Playoff 40

1. Steph Curry

Curry is arguably playing his best basketball ever at age 35. He was the first ever player to put up 50 points in a game 7, and he did it shooting 53% on 38 shots.

2. Nikola Jokic

The back to back MVP is the most efficient player in the league. The Joker is averaging 27.7 points, 13.9 rebounds, and 7.9 assists per game in the playoffs.

3. Kevin Durant

KD is doing KD things: Putting up monster numbers on already formed super teams. He shot 50/40/90 numbers while shooting 17 shots per game in round 1.

4. Joel Embiid

Embiid is going to win MVP and he barely had to do anything to sweep the Nets. An effortless 20 and 11 in three games vs. Brooklyn.


5. LeBron James

LeBron is the third oldest player in the league, but he’s still playing elite basketball. He’s like a bear showing no signs of hibernation. 

6. Jimmy Butler

Jimmy Butler is doing his annual Michael Jordan impression the second the playoffs hit. The Heat became the sixth 8 seed to beat a 1 in the first round behind Jimmy’s historic 37.6 points per game. Butler led the Heat with 25 points in their game one win over the Knicks. 

7. Jayson Tatum

Tatum has the talent to top this list by the end of the playoffs if the Celtics win it all. They are currently +200 to win the NBA championship, and if they do, Tatum would likely be the finals MVP.

8. Devin Booker

Booker may not be the highest Sun on this list, but he is playing out of his mind right now. 35.4 points on over 57% shooting. Enough said. 

9. Anthony Davis

Anthony Davis had an excellent series against Jaren Jackson Jr. and the Memphis Grizzlies, specifically dominating the boards grabbing 13.7 rebounds per game. He has a tough task ahead of him in the leading rebounder of the playoffs, Kevon Looney, but AD will be ready.

10. Jaylen Brown

Many believe Jaylen Brown deserves All-NBA first team this year. He had an excellent regular season and has followed that up with a stellar playoffs so far, averaging 26.1 points while shooting over 54% from three.

11. Jalen Brunson

Brunson was just named the King of New York Sports by GQ and deservedly so. He had the Mecca of Basketball rocking with 29 points in the Knicks’ game 4 win at the Garden. 

12. Bam Adebayo

Bam is the defensive anchor for the Heat with a stellar defensive rating of 110.7 in the playoffs so far. Butler led the way on offense, but Adebayo was the main reason Giannis Antetokounmpo wasn’t at his best the whole series.

13. Jamal Murray

Similar to Jimmy Butler, Jamal Murray seems to turn on a switch come playoff time. His scoring in the playoffs compared to the regular season has jumped from 20 to 26 points per game.


14. James Harden

Before the playoffs, James Harden would’ve been higher on this list, but a poor series against the Nets moved him down. But last night the Harden we all know showed up, pouring in 45 to upset the Celtics in game one.

15. Tyrese Maxey

Tyrese Maxey was playing like the best player on the court in the Sixers-Nets series. 22 points and 4 threes per game is exactly what the Sixers need from their third star. Maxey scored 26 points last night to help bring the Sixers to victory.

16. Julius Randle

If this were strictly a regular season list, Randle would be higher than his teammate Brunson, but he has been awful in the postseason. 14 points per game on 34% from the field isn’t going to cut it going into the second round.

17. Deandre Ayton

Ayton was solid in the first round, putting up 16 and 11, but he’s done a poor job defensively with Nikola Jokic so far in the second round.

18. Tobias Harris

Tobias Harris has been solid for a really long time, and continues to give the Sixers really quality play. 19.8 points and 8.0 rebounds while shooting 53% from three from your fourth best player is a recipe for success in Philly. 

19. Klay Thompson

Klay was definitely up and down in the first round series vs. Sacramento. He played great in games 4 and 5, putting up 26 and 25 points, respectively, but in games 6 and 7 he shot a combined 4 for 19 from three.


20. Michael Porter Jr.

MPJ has never seen a shot he doesn’t like, as his 6 foot 10 frame allows him to shoot over anyone. He’s also done better in the passing department in the playoffs, upping his assists from 1 to 1.3 per game from the regular season.

21. Andrew Wiggins

Andrew Wiggins has been exactly what the Warriors need: a reliable third option who can get his own bucket. He put up 18 points a game against the Kings, and played great defense with 1 steal and 2 blocks per game.

22. Chris Paul

CP3 had an up and down regular season, but he’s playing pretty well in the playoffs, putting up 12.4 points, 7.4 assists, and 5.0 rebounds per game. Plus he finally beat Scott Foster in a playoff game. 

23. Kevon Looney

Looney might’ve been the biggest riser on this list after the first round. He put on an absolute rebounding clinic against the Sabonis and the Kings, grabbing 106 boards in 7 games. 

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24. Draymond Green

Draymond is hard to rank because the numbers don’t tell the full story. He is more than just stats, he is the anchor of the Warriors defense and is like a second coach on the court.

25. RJ Barrett

Knicks fans want RJ Barrett to be a fan favorite so badly, and his play in the playoffs has been respectable, but he will never live up to third overall pick expectations.  

26. D’Angelo Russell

Dlo has really resurged his career in LA. The one time All-Star is playing great basketball, including a 31 point performance in game 6 to close out the series vs. the Grizzlies.

27. Marcus Smart

Marcus Smart will always be one of the most underappreciated players in the NBA. He plays some of the best on-ball defense in the league and will give you the occasional 20+ point game. 

28. Mitchell Robinson

Mitchell Robinson is a beast in the paint for New York. A high motor guy who will block a shot on one end and catch a lob at the other. He’s averaging 10.5 rebounds and 2.2 blocks per game in the playoffs. 

29. Aaron Gordon

Gordon’s scoring has gone down slightly in the playoffs, but he’s still producing solid minutes for Denver putting up 15.5 points and 6.2 rebounds per game.

30. Austin Reaves

Austin Reaves is quickly becoming a fan favorite and could be one of the hottest free agents this summer. Reaves went undrafted and is now one of the main late game shot makers on a team with LeBron James and Anthony Davis.

31. Josh Hart

Josh Hart is everyone’s favorite role player. He can shoot, defend, and out rebounds 7 footers in clutch time. 7.8 rebounds per game as a 6’4” guard is incredible. 

32. Jarred Vanderbilt

Vanderbilt might be playing the best defense in the league right now. One NBA scout said that Vanderbilt was the best big man at defending guards in the entire league.

33. Gabe Vincent

Gabe Vincent went from undrafted two way player for the Heat in 2020 to starter on a second round playoff team in three years. He hit the shot of his life with a three with 9 seconds left that eventually helped the Heat takedown the Bucks in game five.

34. Derrick White

Derrick White was having a really nice playoffs for the Celtics through the first six games of the first round. He had two 20+ point games to start the series, but in game six against the Hawks and game one against the Sixers, he didn’t play well and only shot 4 of 14 from the field in those two games.

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35. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope

KCP has been a solid role player in the league for a long time. He is able to hit open shots and contribute to a contending team. In game two vs. the Suns, he went 4 for 4 from three.

36. Al Horford

Horford is a seasoned veteran who has a lot of playoff experience. His age and lack of mobility limits his ability to guard smaller players on defense, but he is still able to make an impact with his rebounding and outside shooting.

37. Kevin Love

Love, like Horford also has a ton of playoff experience, but is not who he once was. Although his production has slowed down, he can still shoot it, averaging 2.5 three point makes on 42.9% shooting from beyond the arc in the playoffs.


38. Max Strus

Max Strus is probably the least known player on this list. He went undrafted in 2019 and has found an impactful role on the Heat. Strus is able to stretch the floor and provide decent defense for Miami.

39. Josh Okogie

Josh Okogie took the starting job from Torrey Craig after coming off the bench for round one. Okogie has yet to make an impact offensively, which makes sense considering all the scorers Phoenix already has, but he is playing good defense and providing solid minutes for the Suns.

40. PJ Tucker

PJ Tucker used to be one of the most valuable role players in the league. He would guard the opposite team’s best player on a nightly basis and was able to stretch the floor on offense. Age has caught up to him however as his defense has fallen off and he just went an entire 37 minutes in game one without attempting a shot. 

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