Each conference semifinals playoff series has x-factor players who will determine whether or not their team will advance. Each team needs to receive terrific play from their x-factor player to advance to the next round. For starters, it is essential to mention that an x-factor player is someone who has a solid but unpredictable influence on the game.
Each team in the conference semifinals has an x-factor player whose play will determine that team’s success in this round. Now, some x-factor players have been able to step up in the conference semifinals helping their team win. Others have gone downright ghostly and haven’t impacted their team much.
Memphis Grizzlies: Desmond Bane
Desmond Bane is coming off a sensational 1st round after averaging the most points for the Grizzlies through the series. Bane averaged 23.5 PPG while shooting 50% from the three and 49.1% from the field.
The second-year guard’s play has declined this series, as he’s completely disappeared as one of the Grizzlies’ x-factor players in the conference semifinals against the Warriors. In the 2nd round series’ first three games, Bane has averaged 10 PPG while shooting 34% from the three and shooting a 36.2% FG percentage.
The Grizzlies need their x-factor player to perform better to achieve four wins and advance to the next round. Desmond Bane has to recreate the efficient scoring performances we saw from him in the last series.
Golden State Warriors: Jordan Poole
Jordan Poole has been a huge reason for the Warriors’ success in his first playoffs. So far in this series, Poole is averaging 26 PPG, 5.3 APG, & 5 RPG.
Poole is doing all of this while coming off the bench, making his contribution even more impressive. Suppose the Warriors continue to receive this type of play from their sixth man, then without a doubt. In that case, they’ll be advancing to the conference finals.
Dallas Mavericks: Jalen Brunson
Arguably, the Dallas Mavericks’ x-factor player this playoffs has been Jalen Brunson. Especially in the first-round series against the Utah Jazz, where he averaged 27.8 PPG on 48% shooting from the field.
In the second-round series against the Phoenix Suns, Brunson hasn’t been able to replicate these stats much on the road. In the series, Brunon averages 17 PPG on 37.8%, which is a vast difference from the performances he put up in the first round.
Recently, in-game three against the Suns, Brunson was able to drop 28 points while shooting 10-21 from the field. When Brunson puts up numbers like these, it makes the Dallas Mavericks a more challenging team to beat, making him their x-factor.
Phoenix Suns: Chris Paul
Chris Paul’s play in the first two playoff series has been very efficient, as he’s been the Suns’ x-factor player. Paul is almost averaging a double-double with 19.8 PPG and 9 APG and is shooting 57.6% from the field. This field goal percentage ranks in the top 10 out of all the players who qualify for this category.
It is essential to mention that the Suns have won every game when Paul records at least 18 points in a game this postseason. The elite play from the 37-year-old point guard will be the main reason why the Suns advance to the Western Conference finals. Paul will continue to be the Suns’ x-factor player the further they move in the playoffs.
Milwaukee Bucks: Bobby Portis
With Kris Middleton ruled out for a few games in the second-round series against the Boston Celtics. His departure from the lineup results in Bobby Portis having more of a more significant role to fill offensively.
For the Milwaukee Bucks to be successful, it is mandatory that Portis somewhat replicates the offensive load that Middleton was producing before exiting in the first round. So far in the playoffs, Portis has been averaging a double-double, with 11.9 PPG and 10.4 RPG
When Bobby Portis is active on the offensive end, more focus will be on him. This result allows Giannis Antetokounmpo to be more dominant offensively, making it harder to defeat the Bucks.
Boston Celtics: Jaylen Brown
Jaylen Brown has played like a superstar thus far in the postseason for the Boston Celtics, which makes him their x-factor player. Brown has played a vital part in the success the Boston Celtics have had this postseason, as they’ve gone 5-2 on their current playoff run.
Brown averages 22.7 PPG, 4.4 APG, and 2 SPG. Also, Brown is second in leading the league in steals, which qualifies him as one of the best two-way players in the playoffs. The Celtics’ chances of winning increase when Brown dominates on both ends of the floor.
Miami Heat: Kyle Lowry
The Miami Heat X-factor player is Kyle Lowry, as he’s been one of the best defenders for the Heat. It is essential to mention that Lowry ranks in the top 10 for NBA player defensive ratings.
Lowry’s defense will be vital in the Heat’s success, as he’ll be guarding Tyrese Maxey or James Harden. Suppose Lowry can maintain those two offensive contributions and match their offensive output. Then it’ll result in the Heat advancing to the next round.
Philadelphia 76ers: Tobias Harris
Tobias Harris has had a tough time adjusting to the 76ers acquirement of James Harden back in a blockbuster trade in February. However, he’s shown moments where he looks like his old self. Harris is the 76ers’ X-factor player because when he shows up for the 76ers, it makes them offensively one of the best teams in the league.
With Embiid temporarily out of the lineup with an injury in the conference semifinals. Harris is averaging 17.5 PPG, 5.8 RPG, and 1 SPG in the series. If Harris can continue his all-around play, it’ll make the Miami Heat have a more challenging time containing the 76ers’ many offensive threats.
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