National Basketball Association

Colin Cowherd's 10 best players in the NBA Finals

June 1

With the NBA Finals tipping off Thursday, the biggest question is obvious: Who will win between the Golden State Warriors and the Boston Celtics?

But the answer might lie in who has the better players, and Colin Cowherd counted down the 10 best heading into the championship series.

Let's get into his list.

Colin's thoughts: "The best defensive rating of any Celtics defensive player, and that's saying something. Now, he's had injuries, he's missed a lot of games, but he shut down Bam Adebayo. Draymond Green was telling me yesterday, 'If that guy is on the floor, we're not scoring inside.'"

Cowherd's thoughts: "He's Mr. Double-Double in the playoffs. He'll get you 12 and 12. He's also been a very efficient 3-point shooter in the series. He's an experienced, high-IQ basketball player [and] a little better defender than people give him credit."

Colin's thoughts: "Now he comes off the bench, but he averages over 17. The difference between him, Horford and Robert Williams is if he scored 30 in one of these games, you wouldn't be shocked. He's got a huge ceiling, he's very clever, lightning-fast first step."

Cowherd's thoughts: "His thing is inconsistency because when he scores, [the Celtics] don't lose. He's a great defensive player. Offense is a struggle for him. He's not a natural, fluid offensive player, but about every third or fourth game, he'll give you 20-plus, and when he's done that in the playoffs, the Celtics are 5-0."

Cowherd's thoughts: "When he's on the floor, you feel like the Warriors are more athletic and better defensively. When he's on the floor, I feel like he's just a 6-foot-7-and-a-half springy, twitchy athlete. He can score 20. He can shut Jayson Tatum down for moments."

Cowherd's thoughts: "He's leading all remaining players in assists, believe it or not. He doesn't hit many 3s, but in the 20 games this year that he's hit one, they've won 19. Draymond will get the toughest defensive assignment. He is annoying and difficult, and the [Dennis] Rodman of this era."

Cowherd's thoughts: "They've made the Finals in six straight years when he's healthy. The two years he wasn't, they stunk. Klay allows Stephen Curry breathing room on the defensive end. Klay looks like he's got his stroke back, and he could be the difference in this series."

Cowherd's thoughts: "He gives you some of the dimensions of Klay: good 3-point shooter, good defensively, and he's the second-leading scorer for the Celtics. In the Eastern Conference finals, he made more 3s than any other player. He made 19."

Cowherd's thoughts: "One of the best young players in the game and there are no holes in his game. I don't think he's a terrific ball-handler. He can be a bit sloppy with the ball and turnover-prone."

Cowherd's thoughts: "He's the most lethal scorer, the fastest scorer, the game-changer. He is the most active player without the ball in the league. He's the table-setter. He's the finisher, the culture-setter, and he's the leader. He can be a bit sloppy like Tatum, a little showy at times, but he's the most influential player of my life." 

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