Every NBA playoffs features a small number of breakout stars who almost nobody saw coming. Whether he functions as the crafty veteran who was coasting through much of the regular season, this young star finally putting things together or simply a man with a good matchup, unexpected greatness is endlessly captivating.
Amar’e Stoudemire – The Mavericks have been an obvious step below the remaining portion of the West (with the possible exception of Memphis), but not looking to write off this team yet. Stoudemire has a dominating presence in Dallas since heading over in a trade and has put up some good stats in limited minutes. He’ll put up something similar to 30 points on 12-15 shooting one game and maybe more if the Mavs face Houston and Dwight Howard gets in foul trouble.
Andre Iguodala – He hasn’t had to do much this season given the Warriors’ insane depth, but Igoudala continues to be a distinctive playmaker in this league. Whether it be the Rockets’ James Harden, the Spurs’ Kawhi Leonard or even the Clippers’ Chris Paul, I must say I think Igoudala will have some moments of brilliance defending star players. I like how he has been shooting behind the arc this season and could see him having some great two-way games.
Tiago Splitter – Splitter has been heating up recently after an injury. Tim Duncan is still a force in this league, but has been more and more happy with giving more teammates bigger roles on offense. Splitter is one of the most underrated passing men in the game and I expect a huge run of games for him. He is a fun player to watch.
Dwight Howard – It’s weird calling Dwight overlooked, but with his injuries this season he definitely is. I can’t talk to his health going forward, but I do know that Howard is among the league’s best playoff athletes. I’ve said it before, the Rockets’ title chances are slim to none with James Harden maintaining his regular season role. The team will be needing someone to step-up and there’s no better candidate than Dwight Howard.