2014 NBA Playoffs: Biggest Surprises and Disappointments
There’s no debating it, this year’s postseason has been one of the best in history. The first round featured 5 game sevens, 21 games were decided by five points or less and to top it all off, the Memphis-OKC matchup had 4 straight overtime games. So with the Semifinals officially upon us, let’s take a look at a few players still in the postseason that have either surprised or disappointed their respective teams so far.
Surprise: Manu Ginobli, Spurs
Ginobli is back in full form, and boy has he looked great so far.
In 9 games the streaky sixth man has averaged 15.8 points, 4.6 assists and 2.1 steals, ranking a mind-blowing first in steals per game and second in assists per game out of all shooting guards currently in the postseason via NBA.com.
With the Spurs now going up against a tough Blazers team in the second round, it’s essential Ginobli continues to produce at a high rate so this team can return to the Western Conference Finals once again.
Surprise: Bradley Beal, Wizards
Bradley Beal has been an absolute monster in the postseason, leading the Wizards in scoring with 19.6 points per game while remaining remarkably efficient, shooting 42.5 percent from the floor and 42.1 percent from downtown.
Getting past the Pacers will be no easy task, but if Beal keeps up his stellar play, there’s no doubt the Wizards could advance to the Eastern Conference Finals for the first time since 1979 – the ‘Wes Unseld’ days.
Disappointment: Andrei Kirilenko, Nets
There’s no way this is what Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov had in mind when he signed Andrei Kirilenko last summer.
So far the Russian native has been completely ineffective in the postseason, averaging 1.7 points while shooting an awful 33.3 percent from the floor in 12 minutes per game.
The Nets strategy of a small ball lineup may have worked against Toronto, but putting Alan Anderson or Paul Pierce on LeBron James has been a disaster so far.
Kirilenko was supposed to be their go-to guy for covering elite forwards like LeBron. Maybe now coach Jason Kidd will feel inclined to take him off the bench and give him a second chance in the lineup.
Follow Evan Caulfield on Twitter @fieldhoops