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5 Players Who Will Be X-Factors In The NBA Playoffs

As everyone knows, superstars win games, but a team wins championships! Here, we will discuss some lesser-known players. Think of them like pawns in a chess game; they may not be very impressive, but they serve a strategic purpose. Despite their lack of celebrity status, they are the real playoff game-changers. Watch them closely; they could be the reason their team emerges victorious!

5 Players Who Will Be X-Factors In The NBA Playoffs

The NBA playoffs are right around the corner, and while everyone’s focused on the superstar showdowns, some lesser-known heroes are waiting to steal the spotlight. Let’s delve into five X-factors—the unsung players who could swing the series for their teams!

Payton Pritchard – Boston Celtics

Amazing athletes are the focal point of the NBA playoffs, but occasionally there are surprises! Payton Pritchard, a guard with the Boston Celtics, might be very important this season. Payton, known by his moniker “Fast PP” due to his quickness, is a fourth-year player with the Celtics. He was a fantastic scorer in college, even taking home the Player of the Year award! Although he hasn’t always been a starter, Payton, who the Celtics drafted in 2020, has been a fantastic teammate. He’s now got more of an opportunity to demonstrate his abilities.

Everyone is curious whether Payton can contribute his quickness and scoring prowess in the biggest games. Will he be the Celtics’ covert weapon for victory? It will take time to ascertain, but Payton Pritchard is undoubtedly a player to keep an eye on.

  • Born: 28 January 1998 (age 26 years), Tualatin, Oregon, United States
  • Height: 1.85 m
  • NBA Draft: 2020 (Round: 1 / Pick: 26)
  • Current team: Boston Celtics
CategoryStat
PPG12.2
APG4.7
3P%42.3%
MPG26.2

Naz Reid – Minnesota Timberwolves

Naz Reid didn’t have the usual path to the NBA. It wasn’t until middle school that he began playing organized basketball, despite being born in 1999 in Asbury Park, New Jersey! But he was a natural when he did. By high school, he was captaining his team to championships and even invited to an All-Star game. Many colleges in the nation wanted him, but he decided to play for LSU.

Naz played in college for just one year but left a lasting impression. He scored a season-high 26 points on one occasion, in addition to a solid amount of points and rebounds each game on average! As a result, he was selected for the league’s All-Freshman team. The Minnesota Timberwolves saw his talent even though they didn’t immediately draft him into the NBA.

  • Born: 26 August 1999 (age 24 years), Asbury Park, New Jersey, United States
  • Height: 2.06 m
  • NBA Draft: 2019
  • Current team: Minnesota Timberwolves (#11 / Center)
CategoryStatsTeam Rank
MPG28.76th
PPG19.42nd
RPG6.83rd
3 PM/G3.51st
3P%47.53rd

Deuce McBride – New York Knicks

No one anticipated that Deuce McBride would be a New York Knicks standout this season, but he suddenly became one of the team’s most valuable players. His first two seasons were somewhat uneventful; he didn’t start and saw little playing time. Then, though, things took a crazy turn. After several important Knicks players sustained injuries, Deuce found himself in the public eye.

For Deuce, this was a huge step. He went on to become one of the most trusted members of Coach Thibodeau’s team! Deuce has been playing defence like a boss, putting on plays that leave the audience in awe. The most unexpected aspect, though? His gunfire! Deuce was never very good at three-point shooting, but he’s improved greatly this year! He’s achieving a remarkable 42% of his threes, which is among the greatest in the NBA. What a change of pace!

  • Born: 8 September 2000 (age 23 years), Cincinnati, Ohio, United States
  • Height: 1.85 m
  • NBA Draft: 2021 (Round: 2 / Pick: 36)
  • Current Team: New York Knicks (#2 / Point guard)
Category Stat Team rank
PPG14.03rd
3PA6.53rd
3P%46.2%1st
NRTG+11.84th

D’Angelo Russell – Los Angeles Lakers

It hasn’t been easy for D’Angelo Russell to stay with the Lakers. The playoffs were a complete bust last year. Opposing players overwhelmed him, and his shooting dried up. After the Lakers’ defeat, trade speculations regarding Russell started to circulate. 

However, things have been different in 2024. Russell has been all over the place since the new year. Even when LeBron James and Anthony Davis are having trouble, he has emerged as one of the Lakers’ best scorers and go-to shooters in crunch time. The Lakers have been successful recently in large part because of this reversal. Russell has transformed from possible trade bait to an essential component of their title ambitions.

  • Born: February 23, 1996
  • Height: 1.96 m
  • NBA Draft: 2015 NBA Draft by the Los Angeles Lakers
  • Current Team: Los Angeles Lakers
CategoryStatTeam Rank
PPG21.43rd
APG6.62nd
3P%44.6%2nd
NRTG+2.63rd

Jaime Jaquez Jr. – Miami Heat

Jaime Jaquez Jr. (JJ), a rookie from Miami, has been a surprising success this season! Though his effort and hard work have made him stand out from the crowd, he wasn’t anticipated to be a huge deal straight away. JJ is a vital player for the squad because he can play strong defence and score points.

There is plenty that this young player contributes to his team. He is a strong offensive player who can shoot well. However, his defence is outstanding. JJ is a tenacious defender who disrupts opponents with his power and enthusiasm. Every club that wants to win a championship needs players like him. Everyone is eager to watch JJ’s postseason exploits! He has a bright future with the Miami Heat because of his talent and effort.

  • Born: 18 February 2001 (age 23 years), Irvine, California, United States
  • Height: 1.98 m
  • NBA Draft: 2023 (Round: 1 / Pick: 18)
  • Current Team: Miami Heat (#11 / Small forward)

Conclusion

Don’t just watch the big names! These lesser-known players are ready to explode: Payton Pritchard (Boston) with his scoring bursts, Naz Reid (Minnesota) draining threes, Deuce McBride (NY Knicks) locking down defence and raining threes, D’Angelo Russell (Lakers) back with clutch scoring, and rookie Jaime Jaquez Jr. (Miami) bringing energy on both ends. These guys are ready to be playoff heroes!

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Swastika Dubey
Swastika Dubey
Swastika's inclination towards sports, irrespective of the game, has often left her peers awestruck. She never misses a sporting event and devours every single piece of information pertaining to an athlete or their game. People who know her say that calling her a sports fanatic would be an understatement.

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