2021 NBA Playoff X-Factors – West

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


Memphis Grizzlies

38-34, 8th in West

Playoff Matchup: (1) Utah Jazz

Sean: Jaren Jackson Jr.

Jackson missed 61 out of a possible 72 regular season games. On top of that, he hasn’t looked great in the play-in tournament. Despite that, he’s my X-Factor for the pure fact that he’s the Grizzlies second best player. With a looming matchup with the number 1 seed Utah Jazz, Jackson needs to be healthy and effective.

When healthy, Jackson can be a 2-way monster and a perfect complement to Ja Morant. The Jazz have a top 5 defense helmed by the likely DPOY, Rudy Gobert. If Jackson can play to his potential, perhaps the big combination of him and Jonas Valančiūnas can overwhelm the typically small-ball Jazz.

James: Dillon Brooks

Brooks Is emerging into a great two way threat. Having a career season averaging 17.2 ppg, 2.3 apg, and 2.9 rpg; he makes an impact in almost every game he plays. Having an unorthodox shooting form, he shoots a healthy 34% from deep and sees at least 12-15 shots a night.

On the defensive side of the ball he’s improved in every facet. A career high in steals this season (1.2), and is an absolute pest defending on the perimeter. Brooks is one of the best face defenders in the league but also leads the league in fouls per game. Being aggressive is a blessing and a curse, but if he keeps his game under control the Grizzlies will be a tough team to handle in the first round.

Written by Sean Curley and James Macey

Check out the Eastern Conference X-Factors as well!

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

  1. 2021 NBA Playoff X-Factors – East – 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 Eastern Conference. To view our post on the Western Conference, click here. […]

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