Blogtable: Breakout 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.

We know who the superstars are this postseason. Who’s your pick to become a breakout star in the next couple months?

Steve Aschburner: The key here is identifying the guy whose team is going to last two, three or four rounds but who isn’t already a known quantity. By definition, anyone who already has been an All-Star is eliminated, so that wipes out Chicago’s Luol Deng even if he opens eyes globally with his full array of offensive and defensive skills in a Finals run. So I’m going with Indiana’s Paul George, young enough and tucked-away enough in Indianapolis to still sneak up on people, but explosive enough and versatile enough to cause some real headaches for the Pacers’ postseason foes, especially if they line up in the East as New York, Miami and Chicago. George has the length and quickness to pester some of the big scorers on those or any other teams, with serious open-court chops.

Fran Blinebury: If they can make the bells inside his head stop ringing by the time the playoffs begin, James Harden and his beard could become the hottest thing in June this side of brides in bikinis.

Scott Howard-Cooper: Serge He-Blocks-Ya. Though hardly an unknown around the league as the Thunder’s interior presence on defense, Ibaka is not well known among fans. That all changes now. He gets first-place votes as Defensive Player of the Year, Oklahoma City has a long playoff run, and Ibaka routinely swats four shots on national television.

Shaun Powell: Rudy Gay missed all the fun last spring with a bum shoulder and he’s anxious to prove he can be an elite scorer when it counts. I’m not ready to elevate him with the KDs and LeBrons by any means. But he could have some monster games for the Grizzlies, especially with Z-Bo still trying to ease his way back into shape and the starting lineup. Rudy can hit from distance when he’s rolling, and very few can finish at the rim as explosively. He could push Memphis into the second round, at least.

John Schuhmann: The Pacers have to be the most under-the-radar team in the league. Were they ever on national TV this season? And now, they’re set to play at least two rounds in the playoffs. So I imagine the world is going to take notice of Paul George, who will be matched up with either LeBron James or Dwyane Wade in the Eastern Conference semifinals. When the non-League-Pass-watching public gets a hold of George’s size, athleticism, willingness to play defense, and burgeoning skill set, it will wonder, like I do, just how high his ceiling is.

Sekou Smith: While I love what I’ve seen from Paul George all season and expect him to finally get some well-deserved shine during this playoff season, the Celtics have a young guard in Avery Bradley that has made me do double takes repeatedly in the past few weeks. It has as much to do with coach Doc Rivers and his ability to get the most out of his talent as possible as it does with Bradley’s skills, talent and willingness to be coached. Against the Hawks in a series that will be long on drama and intriguing individual matchups, Bradley will have a chance to be the true game-changer in that series and perhaps beyond.

64 Comments

  1. Lil Wayne says:

    Avery Bradley gone kill it in da playoffs. Youngin got what it takes. -Weezy

  2. ChrisE says:

    Avery Bradley has been outstanding in Allen’s absence. I think that Bradley and Dooling are great bench players. Bradley has shown he has great scoring ability and is a great basket-cutter

  3. MYSELF says:

    AVE BRAD YOF COURSE. AND WTF IS UP WITH THESE WRITERS, I MEAN SERGE IBAKA? NOBODY KNOWS MR SHOTBLOACK, REALLY? C’MON NOW. HE SHOULDN’T BE ON THIS LIST, HE DONE BROKEN OUT, SMASHED AND TORN THE WHOLE PLACE UP!

  4. Steven Gray says:

    Paul George definitely. He has been on the rise and has got some pretty neat moves stored in his arsenal. If he keeps up his game, He might just be a future MVP.

  5. xireskinner says:

    This is the best Indiana Pacers team i’ve seen since they’re nba finals fun in 2001. They will go far in the future, and as far as i’m concerned, Paul George is a future mvp if he just stays focused. P.S. he is my favorite player in the nba right now. GO G2 AND AREA 55!

  6. shayne says:

    Although Atlanta lost the series between Bosotn i think that the athleticism is too much for Boston to overcome.

  7. luka says:

    Avery Bradley And Goran Dragić

  8. Im going for OJ Mayo, i have a feeling that he could be that X-Factor off the bench for the Grizzlies. OR much more far fetched is Gilbert Arenas returning to the big stage with a bang

    Make sure you check out
    http://bartlettsbasketball.wordpress.com/

  9. ethan says:

    Get ready NBA cause the Indiana Pacers are coming.

  10. Holland says:

    James Harden will be the decisive factor for a successful Thunder playoff run!
    Not Durant or Westbrook. Thunder all the way

  11. lynnsanity says:

    If Jeremy Linn plays…thats my pick

  12. Master says:

    The Pacers are a championship team, already beaten the best team, I don’t know why they keep saying they need a “Star”?
    But if you look at them, they already have a five starting stars who are underrated. They can beat my Miami as long as they don’t focus on one particular person, and feed it in the post to D. West and Roy Hibbert. If you think about it, they were just like how Dallas was last year, underated championship team!

  13. Firetrot says:

    Paul George is a boss!

  14. LhelloA says:

    I think Kobe will be good this play-offs. Hopefully he will take it home to LA!!!

  15. Choker says:

    Paul George defense and some offense. Tony Allen steals. Bynum boards. Serge blocking. Harden offense. Shumpert and JR chemistry

  16. gutihaz says:

    Two words.. James Harden..

  17. kissmyb says:

    how bout gordon hayward? i know he is still inconsistent, but the kid knows how to play D and score.

  18. Mamba says:

    The White Mamba will kill you all! LOL!

  19. unggi says:

    Ivan “The Great” Johnson of Atlanta Hawks. =))

  20. Ted says:

    Seriously, Paul George? No way. Got to be Rudy Gay or Avery Bradley

  21. Dan says:

    Can anyone say Josh Smith.
    Honourable mentions to Paul George, Aaron Afflalo and Ryan Anderson

  22. turkbox420 says:

    George Hill, George, D West, Granger, Hibbert!!!!!!!!!!! 5 Sleepers

  23. james says:

    Kenneth Faried will be great in the spotlight.

  24. Mark from the PHILIPPINES says:

    IMAN “THE ROOK” SHUMPERT is the one to watch this playoffs. wade better prepare.

  25. Rick says:

    how could you people forget about the Nuggets? there’s Afflalo, Gallinari, Lawson and FARIED!!!

  26. Twenty Seven says:

    Yep, definitely Paul George for me.
    The Indies really exploded this season and so far that I can see is they will explode to another level in the playoffs.
    Big teams better watch out for this underdog.

  27. Paul George says:

    Nuggets… Is that a new franchise? Coke!

  28. Shaqtin a Fool says:

    Javale McGee FTW!! LOL

  29. krelod says:

    Derrick Favors with Utah Jazz. Their front line of Favors, Milsap, and Jefferson is formidable and Favors breaks out with huge games. If he doesn’t break out this post season then soon. Check out the near identical comparison to Dwight Howard. remember, Howard drifted under the radar for his first few years and then kaboom!
    http://weareutahjazz.com/lockedonjazz/2012/04/25/derrick-favors-is-dwight-howard/

  30. john adams says:

    ty lawson or javelle magee

  31. Chi-town says:

    don’t sleep on Jevale MaGee!! he has been playing pretty gud lately.

  32. JAMES says:

    YAHH…THE NO.1 ROSE

  33. Rams says:

    everybody sleeps on this Pacer team, i think this team has enough talent to bring the Miami Heat’s 1st Game 7 in the Playoffs.
    REALITY?

  34. willy says:

    funny how everyone forgot about the Nuggets?!

  35. Melo says:

    What about Ty lawson, First round he will take Ramon Session to school come the first round

  36. AC says:

    I think Rip hamilton will be the one to watch out for. Off late he has been the RIP of yester years (PISTONS era) and if he continues his hot hand, he can definitely have drose get some rest which would translate to a stronger bulls run in the playoffs.

  37. bowcheck says:

    I gotta go with RUUUUUUUUUUUUUUDY GAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAY
    LOOK OUTT LA RUDYS COMIN
    YOU TALK ABOUT BG

    BG COULD NEVER MAKE A GAME WINNER, ALL HE DOES IS DUNK AT THE END OF THE GAME, HE BARELY TOUCHES THE BALL

    ZEBO COMMANDS A DOUBLE TEAM LEAVING OPENINGS FOR RUUUUUUUUUUUUUUDY GAAAAAAAAY

  38. Mavsfanryan says:

    i absolutly love how big hibbert has been playing, im always taken back from people not knowing how good the pacers really are they have amazing players, paul george, danny granger, roy hibbert, david west, collinson, george hill, barbosa, hansbro, no to mention a couple young guys wanting to be somebody, so they have great chance, just watch the playoffs, i got pacers for east for while, the size can beat heat i think and i like the chances over bulls with granger and george blowing up people we will see.

  39. Branden says:

    My bro Paul George is gonna shine, I played with him in High School and I always knew he was gonna be a star!

  40. Jessica says:

    Carmelo, Stat and the New York Knicks will definitely surprise a lot of people this post season, the knicks may be the one to eliminate Miami!

  41. bob says:

    Tiago Splitter. The way he played aginst the Suns last night suggests he’s going to surprise a few people

  42. Nutty says:

    I gotta go with Paul George to be the most impact player for Indiana

  43. Roy says:

    Although Im not a huge fan I think Blake Griffin will go crazy in the playoffs. I just see him crushing his matchup whoever that may be. And his playoff dunks are going to be HUUUGGGEE

  44. richie says:

    Steve novak is getting a alot better

  45. Swatguy says:

    Josh Smith and Ivan (9-5) Johnson.

  46. Derrick says:

    you gotta go with Paul George and the Pacers not sure how they have been dogged all season with no TV time but yet top 5 best records in the NBA beats me, they have enough talent to push MIA to a game 7

  47. chris says:

    AVERY BRADLEY, FUTURE ALL STAR

    • Joey says:

      He may not make an all star team but he will be a star for Boston. Ray Allen most likely wont resign knowing he has no chance to start next year!! AAHHAAAAAAAAAAAAAA Love me some AB! Go Celts!

    • beantownallday says:

      thats what im talkin about boys!

  48. ACSlater says:

    Taj Gibson will surprise everyone this playoff run. Boozer lacks that defensive presence and strong low-post game to be effective for the Bulls against bigger players, he’s more of a jump shooter. This is going to open up minutes for Gibson, and I expect to see some big games from him.

  49. beantownallday says:

    BRADLEYYYYYY

  50. mvp says:

    gotta go with paul george. i think he will shine in this playoffs

  51. phillip says:

    Aaron Afflalo has been heating up and added so much to his game this year !!!