The Western Conference is an eternal minefield for any potential candidate to navigate the NBA Playoffs. The West has more superstars, more good teams, more competition – and they’ve had them for decades. That means being one of the best in the Western Conference playoffs has to be a cut above.
Evaluating a player in the playoffs isn’t just about looking at their individual stats, although that does play a role. You also need to consider their impact on the pitch, their defense, their team’s success, and how other teams have defended them. If a player forces the opposing coach to draw an entirely new defense in pencil on the back of a hand towel, you know that player is making an impact.
As the Phoenix Suns reach the NBA Finals, let’s take a look at the outstanding performance of the NBA Playoffs as we reveal the All-Western Conference squad.
Let’s take a look at the top five players in the Western Conference playoffs this year, balancing all of these many factors to narrow the list.
The entire Western Conference team: honorable mentions
Kawhi Leonard was a well-rounded two-way scholar, appearing in 11 games and averaging 30.4 points per game. His 2.5 winning shares lead the West playoff pack. His injury absence keeps him just outside the Top 5, as does (to some extent) the Clippers’ success without him.
Devin Booker has had a few absolutely brilliant games, including shutting down the Los Angeles Lakers and starting the series against the Clippers with a bang. Overall, his numbers for the series were good, not elite, and the advanced stats are slightly below the best, keeping him just outside the top 5. He could absolutely still lead to a magnificent NBA Finals.
Donovan Mitchell has had a few games of simply sublime beauty, tearing apart the opposing defenses. In his 10 games, the Jazz went 6-4, and in the games where he was healthy, they went 6-1. A hamstring injury slowed him down towards the end, but he showed his NBA Bubble shot was no fluke and that Spida is able to elevate his game to the bigger stage.
Reggie Jackson, Deandre Ayton, Ja Morant, Rudy Gobert and Cameron Payne also deserve a shout. Now let’s move on to the Top 5, the best of the best: The All Western Conference Team.