NBA Playoff X-Factors – East

Who’s willing to put their body on the line to win a playoff game? To do the dirty work? These are the Eastern Conference X-factors.


Miami Heat

44-29, 5th in East
Season: 41-24
Bubble: 3-5

Playoff Match-Up: (4) Indiana Pacers

Sean: Jae Crowder

  • Is it possible Jae Crowder was the biggest acquisition in the Iguodala trade? I’d argue yes.  
  • Crowder offers the Heat a ton of defensive versatility with his ability to play big at the 3 and 4 spots. He can also knock down 3’s at a decent clip on the offensive end. He’s the perfect bodyguard to Jimmy Butler and even though his defense has slipped a bit, he’s still capable and willing to take on any challenge.  The Heat have a ton of excellent offensive players to rotate in and out but Crowder is the guy with the chip on his shoulder willing to lay his body on the line for a game-winning play. 

James: Tyler Herro

  • Tyler Herro is playing at such a high clip and it’s lasted throughout the season and translated right into the bubble. Being a rookie is one thing, but this dude can flat out score the basketball. When Butler or Robinson aren’t in the lineup he thrives. That is just one beneficial aspect to what the Heat have going for them.
  • At 20 years old he’s already grasped shooting off the dribble and getting open off the screen and does so at an elite level. If you put Kyle Korver and Tyler Herro side by side in this instance the differences just aren’t there. It’s all similarities.
  • Now, Herro has stepped up in clutch moments on a number of occasions and he’s doing it off the bench. He sees roughly 11 shots on a night, but when the offense is run through him he sees 14-16 shots a night and as a rookie that’s a beautiful thing to accomplish at such an early stage in a career.

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