Ranking the best of the Past 10 years.
By: JJ Louis
By: Jennelle Alfred
We are now in the Sweet 16 of the Spring Spectacle that has seen stars born and legacies cemented. As we anticipate the great performances that we would be praising over the next two months, let us take a look back at the outstanding playoffs we have been privileged to witness, thus far.
Here are the Top 10 worst to best Playoffs years in the NBA over the last ten years.
NBA storylines dominated this particular year’s playoffs. And it was fitting; considering the league was still reeling from the Big 3 formation in Miami. Everyone wanted one, so now every player wanted out. From Chris Paul to Dwight Howard. It wasn’t about winning as much as it was about leaving and creating a dynasty. Kobe was on his downfall, and Miami’s only real opposition was an older Celtics team, whom were all butting heads with their lead All-Star guard Rajon Rondo. Add to the fact that the Postseason Finale was a matchup of James-Wade-Bosh and company against a younger, reckless, and more disconnected version of the Thunder team we see today.
All in all, not the most interesting, but for the careers of Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook, and Houston Star James Harden.
Two things that are synonymous with 2006: Kobe’s game winner in the Game 3 opening round against the Suns, and D-Wade’s takeover in the NBA Finals.
Whether controversial or not, the oldest Playoff year of the list was a year of flux. However, as the only powerhouse teams, the Spurs and Pistons were stuck in their respective Conference Finals by the end of it. The series that saw Dallas lose a hold of the Championship title was historic, yet, the matchup itself was a foul shooting fest followed by ref scrutiny. Take away LeBron’s playoff debut (and duel with Agent Zero) and this playoff was gone in a flash.
This edged out 06′ and 12′ in this respect: it was the changing of the guard.
Chris Paul and Blake Griffin took down the Spurs in a classic that proved Lob City had grown up. Though they squandered their opportunity to go to the NBA’s Final Four, it allowed an even wider window for another guard to take hold of the Western Conference torch which is now held by the Golden State Warriors. Though the series had pretty big game winning plays, those plays were often overlooked by the storyline of the new Big 3 of LeBron, Kevin, and Kyrie. Matchups were good, but with few surprises on the East end. Add to the fact that the then (and presumably back to back) MVP Stephen Curry went uncontested at the point guard position in a 7 game series and you got a two round classic.
Two simple factors come to play in this year: LeBron’s Conference Final performance and Spurs beating the Suns at playoff chess.
LeBron dragged a team which had Daniel Gibson. Yes, Daniel Gibson, as the starting point guard. He even played a heavy hand in making “Boobie” Gibson’s career with his 31 point explosion in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Finals (versus the powerhouse Detroit Pistons). But with all of LeBron’s talents at the tender age of 22, nothing was getting in the way of the San Antonio Spurs.
Stay up LeBron, things will look up soon enough.
Probably not the best part of the list to reference LeBron. After all, this is where Skip Bayless’ rants on the future hall of famer reached its apex.
Meanwhile, how about Serge Ibaka naming his first son Dirk? Or maybe just the most perfect playoff run from a team, top to bottom, in recent memory not named Spurs?
The Dallas Mavericks were flawless in the playoffs, dominating every team set in their way in 2011 only to run into the Big 3. With the storyline running 5 years in the making for Dirk, payback was a dish best served with one leg from 15 feet. Add to the big upset of Memphis, sans Rudy Gay, against the Spurs and you got a good playoff year.
Tip our hats to Derrick Rose, the MVP who challenged the super heavyweights; for Miami was a proverbial meal ticket to the finals.
Death, Taxes, and the San Antonio Spurs. The common theme? Consistency.
The Miami Heat went back to back the year prior (spoiler for later) against the Gregg Popovich led clan in a seven-game classic. The question throughout the year was whether or not they’d recover. Well, unlike the Mavericks, payback was on the mind and man did they get Miami back. Every man from 1 to 12 played like a star, and the Heat cracked under pressure. That story alone warrants a top 5. And the series prior were no slouches either. See Thunder/Grizzlies and Heat/Pacers for more evidence.
Celtics versus Lakers.
Two of the biggest storied franchises in the league. *weeps looking on as a Knick fan*
Six games, Kevin Garnett’s never say die attitude and huge 3’s from Paul Pierce and Ray Allen. Let’s not forget leadership from Rasheed Wallace and Sam Cassell. That was really all you needed to see. There wasn’t anything problematic with the playoff in its totality, but the ending was a nice icing on the cake.
When I think 2013, I think Nate Robinson’s takeover against Brooklyn and game one versus Miami.
I think Golden State scaring the Spurs. I think the birth of a star in Paul George. But I also think of Game 6 of the NBA Finals.
Danny Green, a Long Island native, was on the verge of being the unsung MVP. Then, Ray Allen happened. One big 3, followed by missed free throws by, then inexperienced Spurs, Kawhi Leonard and we had ourselves a Game 7 ending in the second Championship for Miami following “The Decision”.
See the video package for TNT on this playoff year and tell me that this was not a masterpiece of a two month spectacular.
I have never seen so many close calls in games since this time period. Iggy, before the Warrior years, fighting tooth and nail against the eventual Eastern Conference champs the Orlando Magic; and Brandon Roy becoming a top 5 guard and top 3 clutch player in the league with his heroic performances against the Rockets. These were moral victories and I have yet to get to the second round.
But before #1.
I must say, the young upstart Bulls versus the defending champion Celtics was one of the best series of all time. Bar none!
Before diving in, I must say first and foremost I have no allegiance to either team, but, the Celtics vs Lakers Part 2 was one of the most heart wrenching series in recent memory.
It was Pierce’s hoarse victory speech versus Kobe’s 5th; one away from Jordan. They both had battle tested paths as well. The Lakers practically pulled a victory out of a hat with [the artist formerly known as Ron Artest] Metta World Peace’s game winning tip-in on Kobe’s air balled, that was shot seconds prior.
The Celtics ended LeBron’s first go round with the Cavaliers. Then, they unseated the ones who took them down the year prior the Orlando Magic.
And who could forget Shrek and Donkey?
With the list over and the playoffs underway, what shall we see this year?
Any thoughts on the list?
Sound off Ball fans!