The NBA finals have started, and arguably this is the most critical time for x-factor players need to step up. In the previous rounds, certain players from the Celtics and Warriors had to step up to get their team here. But in the NBA finals, certain players’ contributions and efforts are needed the most to sway their team into hoisting the NBA trophy in the air. Here are the X-factor players of the NBA finals who could impact the results of how this series goes.
Unsurprisingly, Draymond Green is one of the most significant Golden State Warriors X-factor players in the NBA finals. Before you question my judgment, let me explain why Green is a vital player in the series against the Celtics.
Green’s Defensive Ability
Green was honored as one of the best defensive players this past season making the All-NBA second defensive team. This instance was his 3rd time making the All-NBA second defensive team and 7th time making an All-NBA defensive team. Green winning these honors shows how important he is defensive to the Warriors. Unsurprisingly, When Green is on the court for the Warriors, their defensive rating is listed as 104.2. With him off the floor, it increases to 112.0.
The defense of Green is going to be essential when guarding Jayson Tatum. Tatum just recently won the Larry Bird Eastern conference finals trophy. Tatum won this award because of his explosive scoring on the offensive end in the conference finals. It will be intriguing to see if Green can maintain Tatum’s scoring contribution below 20 points. If he minimizes Tatum’s offensive contribution, it’ll be more difficult for the Celtics to win this series.
Green’s Offensive Ability
I have mentioned a decent amount about Green’s defense for the Warriors, but how vital is he for the Warriors’ offense? Green is arguably considered the quarterback of the Golden State Warriors because of the fantastic chemistry he has with his teammates. Green’s ability to connect passes to his teammates at the right time helps make the offense of the Warriors flow.
In addition to Green’s passing skills, he does have the ability to get himself some points. Of course, nothing compared to the scoring ability of his teammates, Stephen Curry or Klay Thompson. In the Warriors’ closing game against the Mavericks. Green was able to notch 17 points while shooting 85% from the field, which is well above his average of 8.7 PPG. The Warriors will easily win if Green can contribute to his team by scoring above his average and passing the ball. Overall, Draymond Green has a significant task these NBA finals. Whether or not he can step up to the plate will decide the Warriors’ fate.
The NBA defensive player of the year, Marcus Smart, has been the anchor on the defensive end for the Celtics. He will need to continue anchoring the defense for the Celtics to prevail in the NBA finals. His presence on the defensive end will be huge when guarding Stephen Curry. Something else that’ll impact the results of the NBA finals is his offensive production. How well he performs on that side of the court will be vital. Here is a look at why he is one of the Celtics x-players for the NBA finals.
Smart’s Defensive Ability
As mentioned before, Smart won the NBA defensive player of the year award, making him the 6th guard in NBA history to win this achievement. The aggression Smart shows all 90 feet on the court is what persuaded the 100 sportswriters and broadcasters to give him the award. Another thing that won over the voters was the defensive efficiency that Smart produces game in and game out. Smart’s defensive efficiency is 107.
During the postseason so far, Smart has shown why his defensive efficiency is so high by averaging 1.1 SPG. It is challenging to see Smart’s impact in defensive statistical categories, but you immediately know that he is the lead man for the best defense in the NBA when you watch games. Smart never fails to show up for his team on the defensive end. If he can continue this play for this round of the playoffs, then the results of the finals will end with the Celtics winning.
Smart’s Offensive Ability
Another thing that can significantly impact the results of this NBA finals is how well Marcus Smart performs offensively. During the postseason, Smart has had spurts when he’s one of the best offensive players for the Celtics. He also has had times where he’s inefficient and nonexistent. It will be very intriguing to see how well Smart performs on the offensive side for the Celtics.
Smart’s averaging 15.5 PPG on 39.5% shooting from the field and shooting 33% from the three on the offensive side. Smart’s numbers aren’t the most efficient, but he averages a decent number of shots per game, 13.2. For instance, In game 7 of the eastern conference finals. Smart positively impacted the Celtics’ offense when scoring 24 points on 36.4 shooting from the field and 30% from three. In addition to his scoring ability, Smart’s dishing out 6.1 APG. Smart ranks in the top 15 for players this postseason. If Smart can give the Celtics 18 PPG and 5+ APG, then it’ll be difficult for the Warriors to match the Celtics’ offense.