Blogtable: Budding playoff star

Each week, we’ll ask our stable of scribes to weigh in on the three most important NBA topics of the day — and then give you a chance to step on the scale, too, in the comments below.

Which generally under-the-radar player do you see making a big-time impact in the first-round of the playoffs?

David Aldridge: I see Jeff Green poised for a breakout in Boston. If the Cs hold onto second and play Philly or New York in the first round, you’d anticipate a small ball series, which would allow Doc Rivers to play Green a lot at power forward. I like that matchup of Green over either a Thaddeus Young or a Jared Jeffries or ‘Melo.

Steve Aschburner: Gerald Wallace seemed to disappear with his coast-to-coast move from Charlotte to Portland, so he’s managed to be both an All-Star and under the radar for me. Wallace is a versatile player at both ends of the floor, allowing Nate McMillan to exploit mismatches with Wallace against both bigger and smaller foes. He’s active and aggressive, and he should be enthused by the Blazers’ postseason involvement, period, never mind their prospects.

Fran Blinebury: If the Sixers meet the Celtics in the first round, Thaddeus Young could make things interesting and difficult for Boston. Young’s defense and ability to attack the basket is everything coach Doug Collins wants out of his team. If an aging Celtics team continues to have health problems, Young is the kind of spark that could turn into a fire.

Scott Howard-Cooper: Kyle Korver, Bulls. Hardly an unknown, but can pass for under the radar on a team with Derrick Rose, Carlos Boozer, Joakim Noah and Luol Deng. He has playoff experience, he has playoff success and he is the perfect weapon for the conservative pace of the postseason. Catch. Shoot. Impact.

Shaun Powell: Tony Allen is a tough, brass-knuckles defender with heavy postseason experience from his previous stops, so don’t be surprised if he helps Memphis pull a surprise. He was a bit lost in the shuffle for most of the season, getting sparse minutes behind O.J. Mayo, but has turned it on recently, even offensively, averaging 15 points on 60-percent shooting in his last six games (with 23 points against the Spurs).

John Schuhmann: I’ve got a short memory and I just watched this guy make a big impact against his team’s likely first-round opponent. I’ve also kept a close eye on the numbers that say his team has been better with him on the floor (especially defensively) than they’ve been with their All-Star starter. Eric Maynor is the guy, and though he plays only about 15 minutes a game, he usually moves the scoreboard in the right direction for the Thunder. In the East, Jason Collins’ defense on Dwight Howard will clearly be critical in the Orlando-Atlanta series, as it has been in the regular season. And beyond the first round, I think Ronnie Brewer’s defense will be a key for the Bulls against the best scorers on the other East contenders.

Sekou Smith: Philadelphia‘s Thaddeus Young is one of the captains of the league’s All-Under The Radar team, along with teammate Jrue Holiday and Golden State’s Steph Curry. Young‘s work on both ends of the floor (12.6 points and 5.4 rebounds) in limited minutes off the bench should have made him a candidate for Sixth Man of the Year. Instead, he’ll have to settle for the opportunity to attack the Miami Heat or Boston Celtics on the big stage. Young’s length and ability to play inside and out causes matchup nightmares. And Doug Collins has found the perfect niche for him as a reserve. A potential free agent in 2012, Young won’t have a better time or opportunity to showcase his array of skills than he will on the playoff stage.

33 Comments

  1. Bob Sander says:

    Rajon Rondo, how could they not mention him??
    He always does good in the playoffs. Without him the Celtics wouldn’t be able to get past the Cav’s.

  2. Follower says:

    Tony Allen likes to showboat, thought the Memphis had a good run recently, they will fumble in the playoffs.

    I agree with James Jones. All eyes will be on the Heat’s Big 3 and Jones, being the 3pt champion, will punish the opponents big time. Sorry Bonner, u ain’t any playoff material to me.

  3. BullsFanFromLA says:

    aww cmon now, no love for Luol DENG?

  4. evan says:

    Grizzlies in the west… 76ers in the east… a lot of young talent on both teams. I also think the Bulls can surprise some doubters and critics with a run to the Finals

  5. Berlin4life says:

    Yeah, Shaq is definitly going to surprise some people, after beeing off the radar for quite some time now.
    And you really have to like a line-up with Pierce at the 2, Green at the 3. It just screams domination in the post.

  6. Juri says:

    What about Marco Belinelli? Especially if the Hornets will play the Mavs, he has always had great games against them

  7. Matt Boner says:

    For some reason, I can see Ty Lawson singlehandedly winning a game for the Nuggets in the Playoffs at some point….Also look out for Matt Bonner AKA the Red Rocket to have atleast one game where he can’t not miss a 3….

  8. cant stop the STAT! says:

    toney douglas i feel would definitely fit into this. he has the potential to nail 5-8 3 pointers per game when hes hot and will be a force coming off the bench

  9. SoCalSpur says:

    GEORGE HILL!

  10. SMOOVE says:

    So guys do you think the Bulls would make it to the Conference Finals and even to the Finals?

  11. jmL| says:

    finally
    i like what shaun powell said..

    tony allen…
    i like his tenacity on both ends of the floor
    if memphis play LA

    i wouldn’t be surprize if they take LA in 7 gms

  12. JV says:

    Shannon Brown. Having a career year and LA will depend on him to be an excellent replacement when Kobe comes off the floor.

  13. Pete says:

    I think Boston’s bench in general – Delonte West, Jeff Green, Big Baby, Nenad Kristic. Either one of those guys has the potential to have some big time games come playoff time.

    But for me one of the biggest is Shaq. People are very iffy on shaq being healthy fo the playoffs, but when he HAS been healthy in the minutes he’s played this year he has been an absolutely dominant force. He’s been doing it all season long when hes been healthy – comes onto the court, immediatelly scores 8 quick points on 4/5 shooting,draws a couple of fourls on the other teams bigs, grabs2 or 3 rebounds, blocks a shot, then goes to the bench for a rest.

    Doc has only played him big minutes one time this year (out of desperatoion due to injuries) and when he did shaq responded with a near 20./10 game.

    Come playoff time, if he can handle it, Doc is hoping to play Shaq 28 minutes a game. If he stays healthy he has the potential to be one of the biggest difference makers on any team, period. Check Boston’s Win/Loss record when Shaq has started and you’ll see what I mean.

    He may be old, but his sheer size and ability to dominate inside can completely change a game.

  14. Lee says:

    Jeff Green i think is the X factor for the C’s, if he plays well, we will be see Boston in June vs. LA or SA..

  15. crossover says:

    I say Gallinari…I love to see him play Pierce and nail a three in front of him…lol,.what a disgrace if Boston get upset by NY…

    • Pete says:

      Only two see Pierce fire back with three 3′s of his own, dominate him inside and out, and make him look like green and inexperienced…which he is.

    • wombat says:

      gallinari doesn’t even play for NY idiot

  16. 80s90sBaller says:

    My Short List: Harden, Maynor, Ibaka, Curry, Lawson, Gallinari

  17. Gavranko says:

    I strongly disagree with Kyle Korver and Jeff Green.Shooters don’t fare too well in the playoffs unless they are LEGENDARY like Ray Allen,Peja,or Reggie Miller.It’s gonna be a rough fella like Wallace,Young,Marvin Williams,Chris Andersen,Shannon Brown.WHY has everyone forgotten Shannon Brown?The dude hasn’t missed a game all season long,and he is THE Laker to watch out for in the future.

    • jeff says:

      marvin williams seriously??? this guy is in the all-time under achivement team

      • Sean says:

        yea i wouldnt consider marvin williams a threat and even if he did have a big game people would be like
        “yea your a second overall pick your suposed to have big games like that”
        otherwise hes just a underacheiver or the effect of the hawks making a dumb draft pick when deron williams was available

  18. jaymarv says:

    Watch for james jones of Miami.

    • Gary says:

      If Miami actually uses him yes watch out for that guy but he only gets about 2-3 touches on average.

  19. think says:

    If there’s a thunder-nuggets 1st round match-up… harden may have the opportunity to shine. Since the Nuggets don’t have melo, harden might play more minutes because thabo won’t be used as much as a lockdown defender.

    Due to uncertainty of the Oneal’s health come the playoffs, Doc will be forced to use KG and Big Baby at 5. A lot will be asked from Jeff Green this postseason as Doc will try on using him as 2-3-4.

    I wouldnt consider Wallace as “under-the-radar” since he was a franchise player before and has that skillset… might as well pick Tyson Chandler’s contributions for the Mavs when playoffs come.

    • think says:

      almost anyone from the nuggets could be here… felton, lawson, smith, chandler, galinari, nene and even kmart will have that opportunity since melo is gone.

  20. SpursFan says:

    George Hill, Carl Landry, Nic Batum, Darell Arthur, Ronnie Brewer, Ryan Anderson, Kirk Hinrich. Any of these guys could have a big game or two in a 7-game series.

  21. Jake says:

    I like Aschburner’s pick. Wallace is a unique talent, and he should be energized by a return to the playoffs. His energy, physicality and athleticism could cause some real problems for the Mavs.

    • prix says:

      Tonny Allen…will make a lot of damage and James Jones will surely have a great shooting if his HOT…the 3pt king in all-star!!!

    • Sean says:

      I agree with Jake, gerald wallace is one of my favorite players and he is very largely underrated for his defense and hustle
      there are A LOT of people that dont know this but
      Gerald Wallace was one of only THREE players THREE in the HISTORY of the league to average 2 blocks and 2 steals at the same time
      now that is some defense