NBA Playoff X-Factors – West

Which players are willing to guard baseline to baseline? Which play to the final buzzer. These are the Western Conference X-Factors.


Los Angeles Lakers

52-19, 1st in West
Season: 49-14
Bubble: 3-5

Playoff Match-Up: (8) Portland Trailblazers

Sean: Kyle Kuzma

  • The Los Angeles Lakers go as Lebron and Anthony Davis do. However, in order for them to accomplish their lofty expectations, they’re gonna need another guy to step up and be that third option. 
  • Kyle Kuzma has shown flashes of brilliance in his short career thus far. His performance in these playoffs will be his chance to show that the Lakers were right in keeping him out of the Davis deal.  He had some huge games in the bubble and I expect him to perform similarly once the playoffs begin. With Kuz’ length and shooting ability he allows the Lakers to play “small” with him in a stretch 4 position. With the 6’8 Kuz next to 6’10 Anthony Davis, the Lakers don’t lose anything offensively and remain massive on defense. As evidenced in the bubble, Kuz is going to be called upon to hit clutch shots. When you play with Lebron James those shots will come. It will be up to Kyle Kuzma to make his name known and capitalize on this moment.

James: Kyle Kuzma

  • Kuzma is a pure talent, but he’s playing behind two of the greatest players in the NBA. LeBron and AD. If that isn’t scary I don’t know what is.
  • Arguably one of the best paint defenders in the league, Kuzma’s ability to move his feet and avoid giving up baseline are just a few small traits in his game that make him an X-Factor. He defends with a purpose and it translates to his impeccable offensive game as well.
  • Can we also note that he’s improved his three-point shooting as the last few seasons he could only manage to knock down 10-20 foot jumpers.
  • The biggest reason he’s an X-Factor is the fact that he’s 23 years old, and took a dip statically while managing to keep a level head and accept his role at hand. He knows what he brings to the table and that he can go off on any given night, but is reserved enough to know the bigger end goal….a championship.

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One response to “NBA Playoff X-Factors – West”

  1. Samwise Avatar

    Kuuuuuuuuz!!! Y’all agreed a lot more on the West vs East. Interesting

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