NBA: Who will become this years X factor?
The NBA playoffs can bring out the best in the underrated NBA stars. Some good examples have been guys like JR Smith, Speedy Claxton, Andre Iguodala, and Kawhi Leonard. Think as far back to a guy like Vernon Maxwell. He found his hot streak going down the late stretches of the NBA finals. Every team has their alpha, but the “X factor” to me is the guy who can break down a defense and do damage without their star on the floor. So who are some guys to keep a lookout for?
– The Denver Nugget is averaging 16.5 points a game on 46% shooting for the regular season. Jamal is one of those guards that could drop forty on any team depending on the night. In college at Kentucky, Murray showed flashes of being a playmaker but he really leaned on his ability to shoot the ball to find success. He obviously can still shoot but when the Nuggets are most scary is when Murray is attacking the basket. Moreover, forcing the defense to scramble, usually means a dish to Nikola Jokić for the easy bucket. If the Nuggets can free up their young point guard and get there passing lanes open and the three balls flying, I love their chances in the playoffs.
– The Milwaukee Bucks are a young team that has really shown signs of being a team that could make some noise come playoff time. Giannis Antetokounmpo AKA ” The Greek Freak”, is a real deal superstar with every gift you could want. With all that being said, he needs help for the Bucks to have a shot against teams like Cleveland or Toronto.
Their secret weapon, that most average NBA fans have forgotten about is Jabari Parker. Jabari has seen some brutal injuries that have set him back in his young career. In fact, the kid has averaged 15.6 points and 5.5 boards a game in his small sample size of games. The Bucks could go from a pretty good team to a legit title contender if Parker can become the second go-to scoring option. Additionally, that would give Giannis some much-needed help. Indeed, Parker is a pure scorer. Thus he is a mismatch for most defenders. Especially with his size and ability to put the ball in the bucket. God help us if the Bucks let Parker off the leash in the playoffs.
– He has never been the loudest guy on the court but his game speaks for itself. This season Wiggins is averaging 17 points a game at 43% shooting. Don’t forget, every night he guards the best player on the opposing team. Given all the elite teammates on the Timberwolves, with guys like Karl Anthony Towns and Jimmy Butler, it is only a matter of time before Wiggins gets his wide open looks. Minnesota needs Wiggins to knock down the three in the playoffs for the Wolves to be a real threat. Next step in his evolution as a ballplayer is to add the leadership gene to his game in the playoffs.
Keep an eye out for these young studs to step up when the lights are brightest come playoff time. If I were a betting man, I would assume Andrew Wiggins will be the guy, who helps his team big in the playoffs. His potential is borderline scary when he’s locked in.