Updated: Jul 28, 2020 4:54 am
Any team can have the classic fan-favorite NBA X-Factor. The 22 NBA teams that are in the bubble have 8 games before the playoffs to either get ready or get sent home packing. Many of the playoff locks have players who can make or break that squad. We always have the unlikely hero in the postseason who goes off and has a huge impact. There is a ton of talent in the NBA and on their benches but in the postseason guys who are ignored get their time to shine in. With these teams wanting an extra boost for this weird postseason, which 4 X-Factors can have the biggest impact in the postseason?
Josh Reddick is the X-Factor Who Can Push the Pelicans
Against the Milwakuee Bucks the New Orleans Pelicans’ sharpshooter JJ Reddick went off for 20 points on 57.1% from 3 with 7 attempts in the latest scrimmage. They have a player who on 6.4 attempts from three over 54 games shot 45.3%. He’s averaged 16.7 PPG and had a 61.5 True Shooting %, making him a lethal shooter off the bench. If he can be healthy the Pelicans can have Reddick, Ball, and Ingram who shoot at least 38% from three on 6+ attempts a game from three. With those lethal shooters and a dominant force in the paint like Zion Williamson and Derrick Favors with a good scorer like Jrue Holiday and you have a team that can get the 8th seed and give the Lakers a run for their money.
JR Smith’s Shooting is Exactly What the Lakers Need
While I won’t put too much stock in JR Smith’s performance against the Washington Wizards, I will say that JR Smith’s hot hand can be the reason the Lakers win the championship. JR Smith drained 6 of 7 threes for 20 points and was able to show that he can still shoot it from the arc. In 5 seasons with the Cavs, JR Smith shot at 38.1% from beyond the arc at 6 attempts per game. If the Lakers can get that JR Smith who in his postseason career as a Cavalier shot 40% from three on 6 attempts a game they give LeBron another option in the corner to get them a bucket.
Furkan Korkmaz Can Be an Excellent Beyond the Arc Savior for the 76ers
It’s no surprise that the 76ers desperately need shooting, and with Ben Simmons moving to PF, they can try to give Furkan Korkmaz more minutes and allow the 76ers to have a solid option from three. Korkmaz is shooting 39.4% from 3 on 5 attempts a game and has a 57.1 True Shooting %. While he struggles defensively and isn’t much of a playmaker, he’s certainly one heck of a shooter and can come off the bench and give the 76ers some great buckets when they need them. With shooting being their biggest weakness, an unlikely hero can come in clutch and get a disappointing team deep into the playoffs.
Can Fred VanVleet Stay Consistent and Be a Hero Again?
The Toronto Raptors look to try to repeat as champions, and their sharpshooting guard Fred VanVleet. He’s a 38.8% shooter from three but overall only shoots 40.9% from the field. He takes a lot of attempts but if he can be a better shot selector by taking less mid-rangers and more deep shots where he’s most effective, he can be a seriously good scorer and help the Raptors reclaim their Eastern conference and give them a shot at winning their second title in a row. The Raptors don’t have Kawhi, so everyone needs to step up.
Unlikely X-Factors in the NBA happen every single playoff run, and they can make an odd postseason even crazier. All it takes is a player getting hot to shift the entire postseason and take the league by storm.