2021 NBA Playoff X-Factors – East

Which players will separate themselves as 2021 NBA Playoff X-Factors? Which unsung hero will come through for their team in the clutch?


New York Knicks

41-31, 4th in East

Playoff Matchup: (5) Atlanta Hawks

Sean: RJ Barrett

I’m incredibly excited to see RJ Barrett’s postseason debut.  He’s improved every aspect of his game this year and he’s become the perfect partner for Julius Randle. Coach Thibs also seems to trust the kid as he’s averaging 30+ minutes per game. 

The Knicks as a whole have gotten to this point on the strength of their defense.  However, if they can find a way to unlock the offensive potential of Barrett in the postseason; they could do more than merely win a first round series. With Barrett and Randle playing at their most dangerous power levels, the Knicks can cause problems for any team in the Eastern Conference. On both sides of the ball at that.

James: Derrick Rose

The Knicks are one of the most exciting teams to watch this year and although they are being led by All Star Julius Randle, the real weapon of mass destruction is the emergence of Derrick Rose. Rose is coming off the bench for New York providing roughly 15 points a game on 48% shooting. Under Thibs he’s seeing the most minutes he’s seen in over 5 years at 26.8 and has managed to rack up a career high from the three point line at 41%.

Every night this team leans on the veteran leadership Rose exemplifies. He might not be the mvp D Rose we all are accustomed to seeing, but on the defensive end he’s Uber effective. When Rose is on the floor he has a PER of +18.33 the second highest on the team behind Randle. Expect him to see big minutes this postseason and he might even make his way in the starting lineup.

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One response to “2021 NBA Playoff X-Factors – East”

  1. 2021 NBA Playoff X-Factors – West – No Limit Jumper

    […] For the second year in a row; my friend, colleague and NLJ founder James Macey joins me as we breakdown our favorite unsung hero’s. The players who could swing a game or series based on their hustle, skill or indefinable qualities. Players otherwise known as “X-Factors.” Join us as we breakdown our favorite 2021 NBA Playoff X-Factors in the Western Conference. To view our post on the Eastern Conference X-Factors, click here. […]

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