The teams left in the playoffs have made it to conference finals in their respective conference thanks to their x-factor player performing well in their previous round. To continue their postseason journey, each remaining team’s x-factor player needs to continue performing well for their team.
The conference finals are the final stage separating teams from becoming NBA champions. Reaching the Finals is notably one of the most significant accomplishments an NBA player can earn outside of prestigious individual awards.
This instance makes the conference finals more competitive than the other rounds we’ve previously seen in the playoffs. This round is arguably more competitive than the previous rounds because players realize how close they are to achieving their goal of becoming an NBA champion.
Certain players are needed more than ever in this round to see their team having a shot at claiming the NBA title. Here’s a look at the X-factor players of each conference finals matchup.
The NBA’s sixth man of the year, Tyler Herro, hasn’t been performing at his typical level this postseason. His stats have decreased in almost every category, from the regular season to the postseason.
Herro averaged 20.7 PPG, 4 APG, and 5 RPG in the regular season. In the postseason, he has averaged 13.8 PPG, 3.2 APG, and 4.7 RPG.
These averages are two drastically different performances, and against the Celtics, he must produce a stat line similar to what we saw from him in the regular season. When the Miami Heat can get a decent contribution from the Herro on the bench, it increases their chances of success because of their intense defense.
Ideally, it would be nice if Herro could match the offensive production of whoever is the Celtics’ best bench player in the series. Suppose Herro can consistently put up numbers equivalent to the regular season. In that case, undoubtedly the Miami Heat should advance to the next round, as Tyler Herro is a vital x-factor player in deciding the conference finals.
This postseason, Grant Williams has been the Boston Celtics’ breakout player, qualifying him as an essential player in this series. During the postseason, Williams averaged 11 PPG on 42.4% shooting from the field and shot 41% from the three.
Additionally, It Is important to mention that in the Celtics’ closeout game against the Milwaukee Bucks. The Celtics attempted the 3rd most three-pointers in NBA playoff history, with 55 attempts. Notably, Williams shot 18 times from the three while only converting 7 of his attempts. Williams attempted 32.7% of the Celtics’ three-pointers in this game, showing he plays a massive role in spreading the floor for his teammates.
In addition to playing a significant role on the offensive end, he also plays a vital role on defense. In each series Boston has played, Williams was assigned to guard the opposing team’s best player. When the Celtics played the Milwaukee Bucks, Williams was arguably the best defender on Giannis Antetokounmpo. Before that, he spent a fair amount of time guarding the Nets’ best player Kevin Durant.
In conclusion, look for Williams to play a significant role for the Celtics on both ends of the ball. Williams seems to be the Celtics’ x-factor player in deciding the conference finals.
This postseason, Andrew Wiggins has been very efficient for the Golden State Warriors on both ends of the ball, so he is a considerable x-factor player for the conference finals.
Wiggins averages 14.5 PPG on 49.2% shooting from the field and 40% shooting from the three. If Wiggins can match the offensive production of whoever he is guarding, then that’ll boost the Warriors since their offense is already so explosive.
Wiggins also has made his mark on the defensive end, almost averaging a steal and 1.1 BPG. Notably, he ranks in the top 40 in defensive win shares. Defensive win shares is an individual statistic that shows a player’s ability to prevent the opposing team from scoring. Wiggins is one of two Golden State Warriors players to rank in the top 40.
For the Warriors to advance next round, Wiggins must be heavily involved on the offensive end, converting his shots. Wiggins will also need to be a two-way player this series. His assignment will likely include guarding Luka Dončić or Dorian Finney-Smith on some possessions. These players are efficient scorers and increase the Mavericks’ chances of winning if they perform well.
In conclusion, Wiggins will have to produce more on the offensive end in this series than he’s typically averaging. He’ll also have to protect the Warriors perimeter from players like Dončić to help advance the Warriors.
The Dallas Mavericks’ sixth man, Spencer Dinwiddie, is a crucial x-factor player in deciding the result of the conference finals.
After coming off a phenomenal game seven performance, Dinwiddie needs to continue performing this way for the Mavericks’ to succeed. Dinwiddie scored 30 points in his recent game against the Suns while shooting 11-15. It is fair to mention that he did all this in only 25 minutes of play.
Performances like his previous game haven’t been a consistent thing for Dinwiddie this postseason, but his last game could get him in a groove. It will be very intriguing to see how Dinwiddie comes out and responds after performing efficiently in his previous game. Against the Warriors, it would be ideal that Dinwiddie matches the offensive production of the Warriors’ sixth man, who is typically Jordan Poole.
These performances make the Mavericks a more challenging team because of their star backcourt featuring Jalen Brunson and Luka Dončić consistently offensively have showed up this postseason. In conclusion, Dinwiddie needs to have somewhat of a consistent offensive production for the Dallas Mavericks to advance.
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