NBA Playoffs: X-Factors For Each Western Conference Team


The time has come for the second round in the NBA Playoffs, and two games finished Sunday. The victorious teams were the first seeded Oklahoma City Thunder and the third seeded Indiana Pacers, stealing Game 1 in New York. Monday, the Golden State Warriors play in San Antonio, and the Chicago Bulls play in Miami. These teams are all deserving of being in the second round, but who gives them that extra push that they need.

There are a few teams like the Heat that don’t really need X-Factors, but for other teams, they need an extra push. Again, the fatigue starts to get to you at this point, and all you want to do, if your the star of the team, is see somebody else step up.

May 5, 2013; Oklahoma City, OK, USA; Oklahoma City Thunder guard Kevin Martin (23) attempts a 3 point shot against the Memphis Grizzlies during the second half in game one of the second round of the 2013 NBA Playoffs at Chesapeake Energy Arena. The Thunder defeated the Grizzlies 93-91. Mandatory Credit: Mark D. Smith-USA TODAY Sports

1. Oklahoma City Thunder:

Again, this late in the season, teams tend to get tired. When you have an inexperienced point guard at the helm your offense seems to go flat. Fortunately for the Thunder, however, they have one of the best scorers in the league, and will continue to attack teams like they always do. They still, however, need an extra scorer to help Kevin Durant out. Kevin Martin is the perfect guy for this, as he has been needing to make his presence felt in the postseason.

2. San Antonio Spurs:

The Spurs have found themselves in a very good position to make a championship run. Unfortunately for them, the only thing standing between them and the Western Conference Finals are the Golden State Warriors, who aren’t very easy to take care of. As Stephen Curry has been able to prove, he is one of the best point guards in the league. A pure scorer, Curry can also dazzle you with an amazing pass. For the Warriors, ending a 16 game winning streak would be impressive, but not as impressive as beating the best home team at home.

This is why the Spurs are going to need some help. Luckily, they’re going to get it. The Spurs were able to take of the Lakers in four games, no problem, but what does that even mean? The Warriors are a much better team this season. Because the Spurs are getting old, however, they’ll need help from deadly undrafted shooters like Gary Neal, who is the X Factor.

3. Memphis Grizzlies:

The Grizzlies may have lost game one to OKC, but they shouldn’t be worried at all. For a team that really needs a good scorer, they did pretty well offensively, and were almost able to shut out Kevin Durant when it mattered. Unfortunately for them, a fourth quarter collapse was their downfall. They still, however, shouldn’t be worried at all.

They’re going to need a scorer to emerge to help out some of the studs. Mike Conley, Zach Randolph, and Marc Gasol are dominant, we know this. It’s the guys that are under-the-radar, however, who the Grizzlies need to depend on. This would be either Tony Allen, or Jerryd Bayless. They’re both capable of providing huge contributions, but haven’t really done so just yet. Of course, it’s only been one game.

4. Golden State Warriors:

May 2, 2013; Oakland, CA, USA; Golden State Warriors center Andrew Bogut (12) high fives point guard Stephen Curry (30) after scoring a three point basket against the Denver Nuggets during the third quarter of game six of the first round of the 2013 NBA Playoffs at Oracle Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

With a team like the Warriors, there’s a different X Factor each day, who all have different contributions. The Dubs are going to need all three of these guys to chip in, whether it’s rebounding, defense, or offense, or all three! It really doesn’t matter, as long as the Warriors are getting something to counter what the Spurs are doing. Those three players would be Andrew Bogut for defense and offense, Draymond Green for all three, and David Lee, for anything he can do. The toughness of Lee persisted when he showed that he’s a true Warriors by returning in game six despite tearing his hip flexor in game one. He’s going to see more minutes in this best of seven series.