Superstar players are generally credited with the responsibility of leading their team to a championship. Elite caliber players like LeBron James, Tim Duncan, Kawhi Leonard and Stephen Curry have all demonstrated their ability to perform and shine on the big stage under the bright lights of the NBA playoffs. None of these superstars would have won a ring without the unexpected play of an RPG player who stepped up when it mattered most. Remember the decisive shots Robert Horry made for the Lakers and Spurs at crucial moments during their title runs? How about Bruce Bowen’s defense playing a big factor in the championships the Spurs won over the years? And who can forget Andre Igoudala’s heroic deeds for the Golden State Warriors in the Finals winning the MVP award?
These RPGs are just as crucial to the success of your team as the Superstars, as we’ve seen over the years. Who will be that key player to step up and elevate your team in this year’s playoffs?
Louis Williams – Los Angeles Clippers
Williams is an instant offense and scoring machine who can shoot from anywhere on the court. In the event that Kawhi Leonhard or Paul George have a bad game and struggle on the offensive end, the Clippers can count on Williams to take over and give them a spark off the bench by playing big minutes. The 3-time Sixth Man of the Year has a lot of playoff experience and will be a valuable asset to the Clippers going forward.
Gordon Hayward – Boston Celtics
As talented as he is, Hayward could very well be considered an elite player, but the role he plays for the Boston Celtics fits perfectly into head coach Brad Stevens’ scheme. With so much attention given to Jayson Tatum, Jalen Brown and Kemba Walker, Hayward will have offensively favorable matchups that he should easily exploit.
Fred Van Vleet – Toronto Raptors
Van Vleet was the x-factor on the Raptors championship team last season. He especially excelled in the decisive moment in the fourth quarter of the sixth game that secured the series, scoring 12 of his 22 career playoff points in the final period. Van Vleet is very efficient from behind the arc, shooting 39% on the season. He’s also efficient on the defensive end, ranking 12th in the NBA in total steals. It’s even more important for Van Vleet to have a repeat performance this time around, as the Raptors don’t feature last year’s Finals MVP Kawhi Leonard, as we can expect Van Vleet to play an even bigger role.
Kyle Kuzma – Los Angeles Lakers
Teams know there really is no answer to slowing down the dynamic duo of LeBron James and Anthony Davis. But who else could that third offensive option be that they can depend on to deliver in tough situations? Even though he has struggled with bouts of inconsistency, Kyle Kuzma is the best man for the job. He’s had times where he’s played really well, but he’s going to have to consistently play that way if he wants to take some of the pressure off James and Davis.
Carmelo Anthony – Portland Trailblazers
While he has graciously accepted his role within head coach Terry Stotts’ system, Carmelo Anthony has excelled beyond expectations. While he’s not the elite scorer he used to be during the prime of his career, Anthony can still provide double-digit scoring totals in every game as a threat on the perimeter. Many critics dismissed Anthony thinking that his career was over and that he had nothing left in the tank or nothing else to offer to an NBA team, but he has relived his career with this team and has shown that he can contribute to a championship. – Gauge equipment.
Myles Turner – Indiana Pacers
Myles Turner is a great defensive player and an excellent rim guard, as evidenced by the fifth-highest number of blocked shots in the league. While he’s not seen as a viable scoring option that the Pacers can depend on going forward, he would benefit the Pacers if he became more aggressive on offense. He averaged 12.1 points per game during the season, but if he could increase his scoring average by a small margin, he could make a big difference. Turner will also have to step up in the absence of All-Star Domantas Sabonis, who missed out on a season-ending injury.
Tyler Herro – Miami Heat
While star forward Bam Adebayo has turned into a dangerous threat offense, the Heat have been going through it on offense. Jimmy Butler will prevail and become more aggressive as the Heat will need him to score. Rival teams can adjust their game plan and find ways to neutralize the other team’s best players, but that’s where players like Tyler Herro come into play. Herro scored impressive numbers during his rookie season, scoring 13.5 points and shooting 38.9% from center. While playoff experience is considered a valuable asset, Herro can make a big impact during his first playoff career as a dangerous shooter, giving the Heat a dynamic option that can score and knock down jump shots with ease. .
Torrey Craig – Denver Nuggets
Torrey Craig is a do-it-all type of player who excels on the defensive end of the court. He’s a good size with a great span and athleticism, and he provides a lot of value as a defender. Craig will play a role similar to Deshawn Stevenson did with 2011 NBA champion Dallas Mavericks when he helped hold LeBron James to a 17.6 series scoring average.