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Colin Cowherd reveals top 10 players in NBA Finals between Mavericks, Celtics
National Basketball Association

Colin Cowherd reveals top 10 players in NBA Finals between Mavericks, Celtics

Published Jun. 4, 2024 7:55 p.m. ET

The NBA Finals are coming up.

The Western Conference champion Dallas Mavericks and Eastern Conference champion Boston Celtics about to come together in a clash for the Larry O'Brien trophy, with Game 1 tipping off on Thursday. The star power could not be stronger, as talented guards, rim-running big men and first-rate forwards will be showcased on full display. 

Who are the top 10 players in this matchup between Boston and Dallas, though? Colin Cowherd took us through his list Tuesday on "The Herd." 

Here's who he specified.


10. Celtics C Al Horford

Cowherd's thoughts: "You know only LeBron [James] as an active player has got more playoff experience? He has the highest net rating by any Celtic, and is a historically great corner 3-ball shooter. He's a 38 percent 3-ball shooter during the playoffs in his career.

9. Mavericks F PJ Washington

Cowherd's thoughts: "Versatile, can guard the five, maybe guard the three, maybe guard the two. Also, he has more 3s in the playoffs than Jayson Tatum."

8. Celtics C Kristaps Porzingis

Cowherd's thoughts: "Porzingis had his best defensive year. He's versatile, he's hard to defend. He's got great length. Third-leading scorer on the Celtics this year, over 20 points per game. … I would put him at eight, again I'm crossing my fingers on his health. But he will make key plays in this Finals. That I can guarantee you."

7. Mavericks C Dereck Lively II

Cowherd's thoughts: "How about the rookie, Dereck Lively? Dude's shooting 67 percent from the field. Second-highest plus-minus for the Mavericks. Not only is he a rim defender, he's good on the lobs from Luka. To get a No. 12 pick in the current state of college basketball who can come into these high-leverage games and be this much of a contributor is really something."

6. Celtics G Jrue Holiday

Cowherd's thoughts: "Lockdown perimeter defender. Smart, gets the ball to the right people, will guard the other player's best offensive guard. Second-highest plus-minus, when he's on the floor your team is better.

Tatum, Brown, Luka, Kyrie, Porziņģis highlight Colin's Top 10 players in NBA Finals

5. Celtics G Derrick White

Cowherd's thoughts: "An inch ahead of [Jrue]. Only two Celtics made All-NBA defense, he was one of them. He's an underrated player, like he would be a number two for a lot of teams. … He's been their best 3-point shooter in the postseason, 41 percent, because Tatum hasn't shot the ball well."

4. Mavericks G Kyrie Irving

Cowherd's thoughts: "He can be a bit temperamental, but Kyrie's having a good year. Here's the thing about Kyrie, he leads the playoffs – the entire playoffs – in second half scoring. The ultimate finisher, and he's shooting 51 percent from 3s, he's committed to the defensive end. Not had great success against the Celtics, 0 for 10 last 10 games he's played them,  but he's a great second-half closer, and NBA Finals historically are won by the better closing team in the fourth quarter."

3. Celtics G Jaylen Brown

Cowherd's thoughts: "I think he's more consistent than Tatum. He's giving you 25 points a game on 54 percent shooting. Second-leading scorer for them in the postseason, and again here's a guy who's always to guard their best player. I feel like I know exactly what I get every game from him. He's just gotten a little better every year. Very consistent, hard worker, kind of quiet, doesn't make a lot of news."

2. Celtics F Jayson Tatum

Cowherd's thoughts: "Tatum's had a bad postseason shooting 3s, but he does lead the Celtics in points, rebounds, assists, all that stuff. Gives you 26 points a night, he just can't shoot 3s right now. He is 29 percent in the postseason on 3s. 29 percent. I don't want him shooting big 3s, I want Derrick White and Jaylen Brown to be shooting them. I'll take Horford from the corner. I don't want Tatum shooting those 3s."

1. Mavericks G Luka Dončić

Cowherd's thoughts: "It's Luka. He leads the playoffs in everything. Steals, assists, rebounds, points, field goal percentage, 3-pointers, free throws. He doesn't get off the ground. But he's something else."

Game 1 of the NBA Finals tips off Thursday at 8:30 p.m. ET.

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