NBA playoffs 2024: LeBron at 9? Here are the top 25 players in the postseason

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Now that we've made it through the play-in round, we're finally here! The NBA playoffs began on Saturday. Each conference has what appears to be a clear favorite to reach the Finals, but as we saw last year when the No. 8 seed Miami Heat stormed from the play-in all the way to the championship round, any team is capable of making a run, and particularly so with a bevy of injury questions hovering over the first round.

With those questions swirling, and the intrigue building, we ranked the best players in this year's playoffs. (For the time being, we held out star players such as Giannis Antetokounmpo, Zion Williamson and Jimmy Butler -- all of whom sound unlikely to see much, if any, game action in the opening round.)

The votes are in. The data has been analyzed. Film has been watched. Here are the top 25 players in the postseason.

25. Jalen Williams, Oklahoma City Thunder

Get this: The second-year guard, still just 23 years old, led the NBA in clutch field goal percentage (minimum 25 attempts) by a wide margin. He's an absolute midrange monster, having drilled almost 49% of his long midrange looks on the year -- metrics that rival the best marks the league has seen in 10 years from that distance. The scariest part of all: his shooting efficiency -- 54% overall, and almost 43% from deep -- skyrocketed from Year 1 to Year 2, even as his usage rate spiked. It usually doesn't work this way. But Williams is anything but usual for someone this new to the league. And now he gets to experience his first playoffs.

24. Paolo Banchero, Orlando Magic

The star forward does it all for Orlando, leading the team in points, rebounds and assists this season, and improving considerably as a shooter, hitting nearly 34% of his 3s (up from last season's 29.8%) and 42% of his long midrange attempts (up from just 35% last season). Banchero's first-round opponent, the Cleveland Cavaliers, did hold him in check in the last two regular-season matchups, though, with just 30 combined points on 10-for-29 shooting. But Banchero also had one of his best scoring performances of his career -- a 42-point outing -- at Cleveland in December. In Game 1, a 14-point loss, Banchero tallied 24 points on 9-for-17 shooting with seven rebounds and five assists in a game-high 41 minutes.

23. Karl-Anthony Towns, Minnesota Timberwolves