As the 2013 NBA playoffs continue to go by, we’re getting closer and closer to a champion. For some, this may be terrifying, but for others, it’s a very good thing. Teams like the Warriors, Grizzlies, Pacers, and the Bulls are underdogs, but are nevertheless in the series and none have been swept. It’s been pretty incredible so far and we’re set for a very long rest of the postseason.
The Bulls may have been obliterated by the Heat in Game 2, but they did their job to win one road game in the first two, come away with a split, and steal home-court advantage. So did every other road team, but I focus on them because they’re the team with the most heart in the NBA right now, especially playing without their MVP. The Warriors have as much heart as magic, but which players on these teams are actually the center of everything?
1. Nate Robinson
If there’s any disagreement here, I’d be stunned. Nate Robinson, without a doubt, earns the top spot on this list for the amount of heart that he’s shown this season. The Bulls are very much alive in this Heat series, and are competing very intensely. The reason that they’ve gotten so far is because he’s been leading the team fearlessly, showing he can defend the taller guys and score in the paint as well. With Kirk Hinrich, Derrick Rose’s replacement already out, Robinson has completely taken over the Bulls team and is running the helm pretty well.
He may seem arrogant or act like a punk, but he sure has a lot of heart, as he knows what he wants and will do whatever it takes to get there. He may be at the mercy of the King, but at least he’s trying to get his team through a tough time.
2. Chris Andersen
The only thing I need to say about Chris Andersen is that next to Kenyon Martin, he has been one of the best free agent signings this season. Anderson has had some double-doubles, electrifying put back dunks, nice rebounds, and insane blocks. His trademark flapping of the wings gets the crowd involved. We know that he’s got a lot of tattoos, suggesting that he’s just one of those arrogant players, but his heart is in it and he truly wants a championship, and will deserve the ring if the Heat win it all yet again.
3. Stephen Curry
If Klay Thompson won’t show any emotion after scoring 34 points, Stephen Curry will. It’s not just the fact that the Warriors have been knocking off higher seeds in important games, but it’s that the Warriors are the lowest seed remaining in the playoffs, and are alive and working. It’s incredible to say the least, and Curry is a big reason why. Thompson is also, but he doesn’t really show any emotion.
With the shimmies and the high fives, and the deep 3-pointers and celebrations, Curry shows more heart that one could imagine. He’s taking this Warrior team places and they have found their rhythm. It may seem arrogant that he does all this team, but considering how the Warriors built their team, over time, it’s about time they have some celebration, even if they don’t win the championship.
4. Kevin Durant
And then there was one. From the departure of James Harden, to the injury suffered by Russell Westbrook, the Thunder are struggling to get a flow going, and are down 2-1 in Memphis. It’s quite unfortunate because it’s intimidating to play on the Thunder’s home court, but it hasn’t seemed like that to the Grizzlies.
Aside from that, Kevin Durant never fails to impress, putting up nearly a triple double each game, and almost giving his shoulders a strain with the way he throws his fist in celebration. He continues to show heart, and that’s why the Thunder are still in this race.