The time between the NBA’s stoppage in March and the upcoming restart has given NBA players time to recover from injury, build chemistry with their teammates, and eliminate most excuses for poor performance.
But it begs the question, who will be the most ready and which stars will shine brightest for Orlando?
Discussion on that topic on The Jump led to a debate of how a player like Kawhi Leonard will perform in the postseason given his playoff track record. Here’s what Paul Pierce had to say on Kawhi:
“No restrictions, no limits Kawhi will be the most dangerous player in the bubble, and I’ll tell you why. First of all, Kawhi doesn’t need a crowd to get himself going. You talk about a guy who shows no emotion on his face. He doesn’t need guys in his face to pump him up. And we’ve already seen the spectacular run he put on last year… Kawhi will be the best player in this year’s playoffs in this bubble.”
Speaking of the league’s top talent, last season’s Rookie of the Year Luka Doncic is now an MVP candidate heading into his first NBA postseason. Pierce was also asked on how Doncic will perform in the upcoming playoffs.
“I expect special things from him. You talk about a kid who made one of the biggest leaps in recent memory from Rookie of the Year to MVP caliber player. I mean, he’s won every European championship that you can think of, every European MVP that you can think of, so I expect special things from this kid… To me, he is the most talented player in the NBA today, and the lights are never too bright for him. So, I expect big things out of him come playoff time.”
Catch these conversations and more on the Jump, weekdays at 3 p.m. ET on ESPN.