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Stepping up in the playoffs? Joe Johnson, Kevin Garnett, Mirza Teletovic among the best

Anthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sports

Bradford Doolittle analyzes who has stepped up during the playoffs thus far and finds three Nets -- Joe Johnson, Kevin Garnett and Mirza Teletovic -- were among top 10 with Johnson and KG ranking No. 2 and No. 3.  Doolittle, writing for ESPN, uses the differential in player efficiency ratings between regular season and playoffs to make the determination.

Johnson, no surprise, ranked No. 2, just behind Dwight Howard. A big playoff uptick for Johnson, writes Doolittle, is not a given.

During Johnson's first playoff appearance for Phoenix in 2003, he put up a PER of 1.0 in 164 minutes. ONE-POINT-ZERO! Two years later, he tacked on 3.3 PER to his regular-season number, leaping to 18.4. It's been up and down like that for Johnson his whole career. He had poor playoff performances for Atlanta in 2009 and 2012 and wasn't too good for the Nets last season. This season, Johnson's 20.5 PER was the best postseason result of his career, and he was a big reason why the Nets survived Toronto in the first round.

And for those who are wondering if KG is coming back, know this: after he got back from his back spasms, he played well enough to rank No. 3 in Doolittle's rankings.

Brooklyn was hoping that KG was saving himself for a playoff jump, and it appeared that he was. Garnett has generally been the same player in the playoffs as during the season. In a way, that's what you want. Maintaining performance under pressure is one definition of clutch. Garnett has never had to step up like this, though. His 5.3 uptick is easily a career high.

As for Teletovic, who played ONE MINUTE in last year's first round loss to the Bulls, stepped up and not in ways you might have expected.  His improvement ranked No. 7.

Teletovic's improvement didn't come from hot long-range shooting but better work near the hoop against closeouts. Teletovic shot 39 percent on 3s during the regular season but just 34 percent in the playoffs. However, his 2-point rate leaped from 47 percent to 65 percent.

Among the others who picked up their games in the playoffs LeBron James (of course), Bradley Beal, Danny Green and Draymond Green, a second rounder two years ago ... taken with the pick the Nets sent the Warriors for Dan Gadzuric and Brandan Wright.