The drama of the NBA playoffs transforms average players into heroes, superstars into legends, and most importantly, players with limited but unique skill sets into X-factors.
It’s the behind-the-scenes, blue-collar, and tin-hat efforts that translate into team success in the playoffs—the kind of production that does not necessarily show up on the stat sheet.
Each year and in every playoff series there is an X-factor.
Certain players step up and serve as a catalyst, equipped with talent and tools necessary to win multiple seven-game series. In the NBA, there is a difference between basketball and "playoff" basketball.
It’s that time again—when basketball takes over the national sports scene again after taking an undercard to the opening weeks of Major League Baseball. It’s that time again when players make plays.
Here’s a look inside the first round matchups, and which players hold the keys to their team's success.
Who will be this year’s ultimate X-factor?