What does it mean to be an NBA Playoff X-Factor? In the dictionary, an X-factor is defined as “a circumstance, quality, or person that has a strong but unpredictable influence.” The NBA is a league full of stars but every now and then, a role player can tip the scales. Sometimes it manifests itself as a quality a particular player has. Other times, it’s an under-appreciated skill set like taking charges. Sometimes being an X-factor means playing up to the standard you set for yourself. The players below exemplify these traits.
For this post I’m enlisting the help of my colleague, fellow writer and NLJ founder: James Macey.
To be eligible for this list, I made up one rule: no 2020 all-stars. You can be a former all-star or a potential future all-star but this post is for the players who didn’t get that type of recognition this season. James and I will take a look at each team and determine which players could be an X-Factor for their teams going into the playoffs. Without further ado, here are our X-factors for the Eastern Conference: