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Most Impressive Players of First Round

Posted by Jay Sanin on 5/1/2016 7:09:31 AM

With the majority of the NBA Playoffs first round in the books, it's safe to look back at which players stood out the most for their teams, and helped deliver them results. These three players were instrumental to the success of their teams, and would have been out of the postseason in short order had they not delivered the way they did. These have been the three most impressive players of the 2016 NBA Playoffs so far.

3. Draymond Green

With Steph Curry going down due to injury, there was a reason that the Warriors were still considered odds on favorites to win the NBA Finals, and one of those reasons is Green. Green dazzled in the team's first round win over the Houston Rockets by playing excellent defense at multiple positions on the floor, as well as hitting a number of timely threes to separate the Warriors from Houston once and for all in several games. If he can keep shooting that well, the Warriors could walk to the title.

2. Kyrie Irving

Irving was a similar story for the Cleveland Cavaliers, who did not get consistent contributions from Irving or Kevin Love in their run to the NBA Finals last year. This postseason, though, Irving has been a dynamic distributor and outside shooter, and was the difference in the Cavaliers' sweep over the Detroit Pistons in round one. He will have to play even better in the second round, as the Atlanta Hawks will throw Dennis Schroeder and Jeff Teague at him at the point guard position. If he can do that, it'll be another trip to the Eastern Conference Finals for Cleveland.

1. Kemba Walker

It doesn't take an odds calculator to know that if Kemba Walker wasn't with the Charlotte Hornets, the Miami Heat would have run them out of the building by now. But Walker has been there to carry the Hornets when needed, using his ability to get to the basket to keep Heat defenders off balance, freeing up space for him to take outside shots in the process. His game has improved steadily since arriving in the NBA, and he's given his team a chance to advance in game seven in Miami.

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