National Basketball Association
2024 NBA playoffs: Nick Wright's King of the Hill player rankings after Round 1
National Basketball Association

2024 NBA playoffs: Nick Wright's King of the Hill player rankings after Round 1

Published May. 8, 2024 2:23 p.m. ET

The field in the NBA playoffs is dwindling, and so is the list of top players.

Fewer players remain to battle for Nick Wright's King of the Hill. Wright cut down his latest list for King of the Hill to six rows, dropping a handful of star players from eliminated teams, such as LeBron James and Joel Embiid

Several other players hopped onto Wright's King of the Hill following strong performances in the first round. Meanwhile, Tyrese Haliburton was the only player on a team still in the playoffs that was dropped from the hill.

Most importantly, there was a change at the top of the hill to reflect the recent developments in the Western Conference.


Here are Wright's latest NBA King of the Hill power rankings, with odds to win NBA Finals MVP from DraftKings Sportsbook as of Wednesday.

Row 6: Denver Nuggets G Jamal Murray (+8000), Minnesota Timberwolves C Rudy Gobert (+10000), New York Knicks F OG Anunoby (+40000), Indiana Pacers C Myles Turner (+100000), Cleveland Cavaliers F/C Evan Mobley (+100000), Timberwolves G/F Jaden McDaniels (unlisted)

Wright's thoughts: "Jamal Murray's got to slide. In Round 1, he was excellent in Game 5 from start to finish and he hit the game-winner in Game 2. Other than that, he wasn't very good. In this series, he's been bad. [In Game 2], he lost his cool and for the second straight game, he didn't talk to reporters afterward. He actually had a lot to answer for. 

"Rudy Gobert stays right where he is. Congrats to him for expanding his family and congrats to his teammates for picking up when he couldn't be there in Game 2.

"Some new guys to the hill: OG, Myles Turner, Evan Mobley and Jaden McDaniels. It's kind of a defensive corner of the hill with that group, but they all make it."

Row 5: Oklahoma City Thunder F Jalen Williams (+8000), Nuggets F Michael Porter Jr. (+80000), Pacers F Pascal Siakam (+14000), Boston Celtics G Derrick White (+3000), Knicks G Josh Hart (+10000)

Wright's thoughts: "These guys, in my opinion, are second and third options. You could say that Siakam is a first option, but it's supposed to be Haliburton. But these guys, right now, are playing some of the best basketball of their lives, maybe with the exception of Siakam. He's played at this level before.

"Obviously, Jalen Williams has played great in Round 1. Michael Porter Jr. was the best shooter in the playoffs in the first round. Siakam has been the best Pacers player. Derrick White, bald Derrick White, oh my goodness, he should've shaved his head way earlier than he did. 

"Josh Hart has 13 rebounds per game and is averaging 47 minutes per game in the playoffs so far. Unbelievable. Sidenote: If Hart's never going to be able to rest during the game, maybe don't pick him for your in-between-quarters interview. He's hyperventilating, let him sit down for 60 seconds!"

Row 4: Celtics F Jayson Tatum (+150), Cavaliers G Donovan Mitchell (+25000), Celtics F Jaylen Brown (+1000), Timberwolves F/C Karl-Anthony Towns (+3000)

Wright's thoughts: "These guys are all in their mid-to-late 20s and balling. Jayson Tatum didn't have to do much in Round 1. Donovan Mitchell had a kind of rough first five games in Round 1, but had 89 points in the last two games and was brilliant in Game 7. Jaylen Brown, in my opinion, was the best Celtics player in Round 1. 

Nick is not concerned with the Celtics despite Kristaps Porziņģis' injury

"Karl-Anthony Towns, what a resurgence for his rep, his ability to be a winner, his commitment on defense — all of it. There was real discussion, and I was a part of it, when he went down in the regular season and we thought, ‘Eh, how much does that hurt them, really?' There were a lot of trade talks surrounding him. Shoutout to Karl-Anthony Towns."

Row 3: Nuggets C Nikola Jokic (+1400), Thunder G Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (+700), Dallas Mavericks guard Kyrie Irving (+4000)

Wright's thoughts: "I'm sorry, but Joker, you've got to be better. The last time we did King of the Hill, he was at the top and no one was on the second row out of respect to him. But I thought he played poorly in the closeout game against the Lakers. They won despite it. I know he played poorly in Game 1, despite the numbers. Everyone knows he played poorly in Game 2.

"SGA stays right where he is. That's not an indictment on him. He was great in Round 1. They're one of two teams that haven't lost yet in these playoffs. Kyrie, man, I think he was the best Maverick in Round 1, especially in the second half of those games."

Row 2: Knicks G Jalen Brunson (+1000), Mavericks G Luka Doncic (+1300)

Wright's thoughts: "If the Nuggets lose, one of these guys [in the top two rows] is going to win their first title.

"Jalen Brunson is averaging 37 points per game, has scored 210 points in his last five playoff games, is the engine and the exclusive offensive option for the New York Knicks.

Is Jalen Brunson a superstar?

"Luka Doncic, I don't think he played to his best in Round 1 because he shot 23% from 3. He still averaged 30 points, nine assists and eight rebounds. I think he'll eviscerate the Oklahoma City Thunder. It'll be a close series. I think Luka's not going to shoot 23% from 3 again. He's going to have a great series."

Row 1: Timberwolves G Anthony Edwards

Is Anthony Edwards the next Michael Jordan?

Wright's thoughts: "He's at the top of the playoff hill for the first time. He got to the top of the regular-season hill a couple of times because of the highlight moments. Now, he's doing it as the best player on what's been the best team. He's been the engine of that team."

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