Some of the greatest NBA players of all time didn’t make get a chance in the best NBA playoff players list, because they failed to win NBA championships with respect we are here to mention the top 15 Best NBA playoff players of all time. Players like Karl Malone, Charles Barkley, Patrick Ewing, and Allen Iverson are among the greatest players who never win an NBA championship.
Basketball enthusiasts all across the world look forward to the NBA playoffs. The top teams from the Eastern and Western Conferences fight for the coveted NBA championship title at this time. The playoffs are a series of best-of-seven games held after the regular season has concluded. The clubs with the greatest regular-season records are seeded and paired up against each other in a bracket system.
The NBA playoffs have a long history and are always eagerly anticipated by fans and players alike. The games are tough, and the stakes are great. The team that wins the championship is regarded as the greatest in the NBA that year.
Several teams have dominated the playoffs and won multiple titles over the years. Among these clubs are the Boston Celtics, Los Angeles Lakers, Chicago Bulls, and San Antonio Spurs, among others. Their playoff success cemented their place in NBA history and made them one of the league’s most beloved and respected teams.
We’re here to look for individual performances in the overall NBA playoffs seasons that have led to the Best NBA playoff players.
Here are the 15 best NBA playoff players in history:
1. Michael Jordan
Jordan dominated the NBA playoffs like no other player in its history. He is not only the greatest NBA player of all time. Jordan is the best NBA playoff player of all time, having won six titles with the Chicago Bulls and winning Finals MVP each time.
Michael Jordan has the best play in NBA history because he has a habit of delivering when it counts the most. After stealing the ball from Utah’s Karl Malone, his final shot for the Chicago Bulls was a clutch game-winner to clinch the 1998 NBA Finals.
Jordan averaged at least 30 points per game in the playoffs 11 times and retired as the NBA playoff point leader with 5,987. LeBron James now holds that record, but Jordan’s postseason scoring average of 33.4 points per game is unrivaled. Jordan was a complete player in the playoffs, averaging 6.4 rebounds, 5.7 assists, and 2.1 steals per game.
2. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar won six NBA championships and appeared in 237 playoff games, the equivalent of nearly three full NBA seasons. He averaged 24.3 points per game and 27.3 points per game if you exclude his last three playoff years when he was 39 to 41 years old. With 5,762 points, Abdul-Jabbar retired as the all-time leading playoff scorer. In addition, during the postseason, he averaged 10.5 rebounds and 2.4 blocked shots.
3. Tim Duncan
Tim Duncan, a five-time NBA champion and three-time NBA Finals MVP, was instrumental in the Spurs becoming an NBA dynasty for nearly two decades. Duncan wasn’t flashy, but his dependability was unrivaled. He is currently sixth all-time in postseason points with 5,172, and in 251 postseason games, he averaged nearly 21 points and 11.4 rebounds. In nine consecutive playoff runs, he averaged more than 20 points and 10 rebounds per game.
4. Kobe Bryant
Kobe Bryant played in 220 postseason games during his two-decade NBA career, ranking among the top ten in NBA history. He won five NBA championships and was named Finals MVP twice. Bryant ranks fourth all-time in playoff points with 5,640, averaging 25.6 points per game. He was the league’s postseason scoring leader three times, and he also averaged 5.1 rebounds and 4.7 assists per game. Only LeBron James and Michael Jordan have seven postseasons with at least 450 points.
5. LeBron James
LeBron James has established himself as not only one of the best NBA players of all time but also one of the best NBA playoff players in history. He led the Cavaliers to the championship in 2016-17 despite having one of the weakest NBA Finals teams in history. The title was also won after the best-blocked shot of all time.
He also appeared in four straight NBA Finals with the Heat and Cavaliers. James has four NBA titles and has been named Finals MVP each time. LeBron James has three times led the league in postseason scoring and has averaged 28.7 points, 9.0 rebounds, and 7.2 assists in 266 playoff games in his career, and King James is one of the best playoff performers ever.
6. Stephen Curry
Stephen Curry is one of the NBA’s most talented and successful players. For many years, he has been a key player for the Golden State Warriors, and he has led the team to multiple championships. Curry single-handedly led the Golden State Warriors to their fourth NBA title in the last few years. In his career, he’s scored 3,520 points and averaged 26.6 points, 6.2 assists, and 5.4 rebounds in 134 playoff games. He has reached the NBA Finals six times in the last few years and makes more than 45% of his three-point attempts in the playoffs.
Curry’s postseason performances have been nothing short of spectacular. He has consistently delivered clutch performances, hitting big shots and making crucial plays when it counts. In fact, his ability to rise to the occasion in postseason games has become one of his defining characteristics as a player; he has made over 300 three-pointers in postseason games, a record that may never be broken.
Stephen Curry’s most memorable playoff performances came during the 2015-2016 season when he led the Warriors to a historic 73-9 regular season record. Curry was even more dominant in the postseason, averaging 28.1 points per game and leading the Warriors to the NBA Finals. Although the Warriors were defeated in the Finals, Curry’s performance throughout the playoffs was nothing short of remarkable.
7. Shaquille O’Neal
Shaq is ranked fifth among NBA playoff players. Shaquille O’Neal won four NBA championships and three Finals MVP awards, including one with the Miami Heat and three with the Los Angeles Lakers. Shaq averaged 28.3 points per game in 133 playoff games during that time period. Shaq led the league in playoff scoring in 1999-2000 and ranks fifth all-time with 5,250 points in postseason play. Shaquille O’Neal averaged 24.3 points, 11.6 rebounds, and 2.7 assists in 216 playoff games during his career.
8. Larry Bird
Bird finished third all-time in playoff scoring, trailing only Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Jerry West. Bird averaged 23.8 points per game in 164 career playoff games. He led the Celtics to five Eastern Conference titles and three NBA championships. Larry bird was also named Finals MVP twice. In 1984, he had his best postseason performance, averaging 27 points, 14 rebounds, and four assists per game. With 3,897 playoff points, he is currently ranked 12th all-time.
9. Jerry West
Including Jerry West, only two players in NBA history have averaged at least 40 points per game during the postseason. One was Michael Jordan and the other was Jerry West. Jerry West accomplished this with the Lakers in 11 playoff games in 1965, averaging 40.6 points per game. In addition, he averaged at least 30 points per game in seven postseasons and 29.1 points in 153 postseason games. Despite winning only one NBA championship, he was the Finals MVP on the losing team in 1969. Jerry West has more 40-point playoff games than only Michael Jordan and LeBron James, who also averaged 5.8 rebounds and 6.3 assists per game.
10. Kevin Durant
KD has been nearly impossible to guard one-on-one throughout his career, especially in the postseason. He has appeared in 155 playoff games, five of which he led the league in scoring. Durant has won two NBA championships and was named Finals MVP both times. Over 155 career playoff games, he has averaged 29.4 points, 7.8 rebounds, 4.1 assists, and nearly 29 points per game in six playoff appearances with the Oklahoma City Thunder. Durant belongs on the list of the best NBA playoff players and is already one of the all-time leaders in 35-point games in NBA playoff history.
11. Magic Johnson
Magic Johnson is without a doubt the best point guard of all time. Johnson led the Lakers to a finals victory over the 76ers as a rookie in 1980, despite Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s absence due to injury. Magic has won five championships with the Lakers and is the all-time leader in playoff assist average. He averaged 19.5 points, 12.3 assists, and 7.7 rebounds in 190 playoff games in his career, and nearly 20 points per game in 190 games in which he won 128 playoff games.
12. Giannis Antetokounmpo
Giannis Antetokounmpo with an incredible playoff run in 2021, cemented his legacy, defeating so many legends along the way. He carries himself with a sense of purpose and humility that is uncommon among today’s NBA superstars. One thing is certain: when Giannis Antetokounmpo is on the court, he will give his all for the team and city for which he plays. Giannis Antetokounmpo averaged 26.8 points, 12.0 rebounds, and 5.2 assists in 76 playoff games during his career.
13. Hakeem Olajuwon
The GOAT, Hakeem Olajuwon took full advantage of Michael Jordan’s retirement, leading the Rockets to back-to-back titles in 1994 and 1995. During that stretch, he averaged 30 points and 10 rebounds per game. Michael Jordan and Hakeem Olajuwon were the two kings of the 1990s. In 145 playoff games, Hakeem Olajuwon averaged 25.9 points, 11.2 rebounds, and 3.3 blocks.
14. Elgin Baylor
Elgin Baylor is one of the NBA’s all-time greats, and the fact that he has no championship ring is truly tragic. Baylor announced his retirement two games into the 1970-1971 season. Unfortunately for him, his Lakers went on to win the championship that season, and he would not receive a ring. Baylor did have several outstanding postseason performances for the Lakers, including a 61-point game, the second-most points scored in a playoff game ever. Baylor averaged 27.0 points, 12.9 rebounds, and 4.0 assists in 134 playoff games during his career.
15. Allen Iverson
Allen Iverson may not have won an NBA championship, but his 2001 playoff run was one of the best of all time. Iverson led the 76ers to the NBA finals with a mid-tier supporting cast and an elderly Dikembe Mutombo. Despite being dominated by a far superior Lakers team, Iverson averaged 35.6 points per game in the series. A.I. is without a doubt one of the greatest NBA playoff players of all time. Allen Iverson averaged 29.7 points, 6.0 assists, and 3.8 rebounds in 71 playoff games during his career.
FAQs about Best NBA Playoff Players Of All Time
Michael Jordan is the greatest NBA player of all time. He has six titles with the Chicago Bulls, winning Finals MVP each time, and is the Best NBA playoff player of all time.
Michael Jordan is widely regarded as the game’s greatest player, and for many reasons. “MJ” did everything possible in the game, racking up stats and awards. Jordan went on to win 6 out of 6 in the NBA Finals, with Finals MVP awards.
Michael Jordan has the best playoff stats of all time, with 33.45 in 179 games. MJ is not only the greatest player of all time, but he is also the greatest postseason scorer of all time. He leads the league in total playoff points (5,987) and average (33.45).
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