An "X Factor" for an NBA team is any one thing or person that can change the fate of the franchise positively or negatively just based off their performance.
For instance, the biggest X Factor for the Miami Heat is LeBron James. The team's chances for success, night in and night out, are heavily dependent on how King James performs. The same can be said about Kobe Bryant and the Lakers or Chris Paul with the Clippers.
These X Factors don't necessarily have to be stars. It can also be a rookie who can alter the outlook of their franchise by having an immediate impact or a young rising star who can play a big role for the team as he continues to develop. DeMarcus Cousins will be an X Factor for the Kings, as will rookie teammate Thomas Robinson.
Today, I'm breaking down the top-two X Factors for the five teams in the Southwest division. More specifically, I'm listing two players each for the Grizzlies, Hornets, Rockets, Mavericks and Spurs who hold the keys to their respective team's fortunes this season.
New Orleans, Dallas and Houston have been among the most active this offseason through the draft and free agency. The Hornets made a big splash by winning the lottery and selecting Kentucky big man Anthony Davis and pairing him with fellow rookie Austin Rivers. They also swung deals for forward Ryan Anderson and Robin Lopez.
After missing out on the opportunity to unite Deron Williams and Dwight Howard in Dallas, the Mavericks called an audible and brought in guys like O.J, Mayo, Chris Kaman and Elton Brand. The Rockets have been wheeling and dealing in an effort to swing a deal for Howard. They traded Chase Budinger and Kyle Lowry for draft picks and used the amnesty clause on Luis Scola.
All of this maneuvering has made the Southwest division very intriguing this season and how the division shakes out will be determined by how these 10 X Factors perform.