Ranking Most Important Duke Players Remaining in NBA Playoffs

There are plenty of Duke alumni playing a huge role for their playoff teams. Let's take a look at the five most important Blue Devils of the NBA Playoffs.
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2. Jayson Tatum, Boston Celtics

This is a championship-or-bust season for Tatum and the Celtics. Ever since he was the third-overall selection in the 2017 NBA Draft, no player has found as much postseason success as Tatum. The 26-year-old has made the postseason every single year of his career, and made at least the conference finals four times.

Unfortunately, the title has eluded him thus far. But with almost 100 postseason games under his belt and a deep, stacked roster, Tatum's Celtics are the championship favorites. Boston's path to the NBA Finals is wide open with Eastern Conference foes like the Heat, Bucks, and the Sixers dealing with injuries to key players.

The only reason Tatum is not number one on this list is the fact that the Boston Celtics are good enough to win the title without Tatum being at his best.

1. Kyrie Irving, Dallas Mavericks

The Dallas Mavericks, on the other hand, can't win anything without Kyrie Irving being at his best. If the Mavs hope to make a deep postseason run, they need Irving to be himself throughout the playoffs.

And he has done that so far. Through four games, Irving is averaging 28.8 points, 6 rebounds, and 4.5 assists per game on ridiculous 51.3/48.5/90.5 shooting splits.

The Mavericks lack quality role players across multiple positions. They are a top-heavy team with Luka Doncic and Kyrie Irving doing everything on the offensive end. They will go as far as Irving and Doncic will take them.

Kyrie is looking as good as he ever has. At age 31, he is playing the best basketball of his career. After a few seasons of struggles, it seems like Irving has found his basketball home, forming a formidable duo with Doncic. Let's hope we get to enjoy it in more playoff series this season.

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