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Checkout the NBA’s Top 10 Playoff X-Factor Players

Written by on April 10, 2015

You know, while the NBA likes to feature superstar performers like Steph Curry, Russell Westbrook or James Harden, it is often an irreplaceable role player that is the deciding factor in their respective team’s postseason successes or failures. With that thought in mind – and the start of the 2015 NBA playoffs approximately two weeks away from getting started – NBA roundball betting buffs need to know just which ‘X-Factor’ players could become huge difference-makers for their title hopeful franchisees this spring. Thanks to this insightful breakdown on the top 10 X-Factor players that will compete in this season’s playoffs, you’re going to have a great idea of where to place your postseason NBA betting bucks and why.

Honorable Mention – Hassan Whiteside – Miami Heat

miami-heat-nba-betting-odds The 7-foot Whiteside seemingly came from out of nowhere to make a big impact for Miami this season, both on the glass and as a rim protector. Now, the athletic big man is also averaging 11.0 points per game to go along with 9.7 boards and 2.5 blocks per game in a mere 22.7 minutes per game. Whiteside has grabbed 20 rebounds or more five times and averaged a stunning 13.2 rebounds and 14.5 points per game in the month of February.

10. Nene and Marcin Gortat – Washington Wizards

wizards-nba-odds With John Wall and Bradley Beal leading the way, the Washington Wizards undoubtedly have one of the best young backcourts in the league. Still, I think the Wizards are going to need to give the ball to both of their competent big men more once the postseason rolls around. Nene averages a solid 11.0 points and 5.1 rebounds per game and Marcin Gortat averages 11.9 points and 8.7 boards and 1.3 blocks per contest, but I think both could do more for Washington in the postseason – if they get the ball on the low block a bit more.

9. Matt Barnes – Los Angeles Clippers

clippers-nba-lines Matt Barnes may average a modest 10.2 points per game, but more importantly, he’s one of those ‘crazy’ guys you need on your team – especially in the postseason. Barnes plays 29.9 minutes per night for the Clippers, but he’s an emotional ‘tough guy’ for a Clippers team that is severely lacking in the toughness department and desperately needs someone with a ‘pair’.

8. Jonas Valanciunas – Toronto Raptors

raptors-online-betting The Toronto Raptors’ first two options on offense are DeMar DeRozan and Kyle Lowry, but if they’re smart they’ll look to get Valanciunas more touches in thee paint this postseason. The underrated 7-footer averages 12.2 points and 8.7 rebounds per game but could really give Toronto’s mostly perimeter-based offense more balance. Somehow, I suspect that Toronto won’t change its offensive approach much, even though it’s a fact that playoff games are played at a slower, more grinding pace.

7. Draymond Green– Golden State Warriors

golden-state-online-sportsbook A lot of folks thinks the Warriors x-factor player could be center Andrew Bogut, but I believe it is actually versatile forward Draymond Green (11.8 ppg, 8.1 rpg). When the Warriors’ emotional leader plays well, Golden State is virtually invincible. However, when Green struggles, the Warriors are statistically more vulnerable. The former Michigan State star has scored 10 points or less in nine of Golden State’s 13 losses this season, making it a virtual must for Green to reach or top his season scoring average.

6. Jeff Green – Memphis Grizzlies

memphis-sports-betting-online The Grizzlies made a smart trade to nab Green and it could pay off huge if the versatile forward (15.1 ppg.4.3 rpg) plays like he’s capable of. Of course, that’s the tricky part with this enigmatic high-flyer. One game, Green looks like he’s better than LeBron James, the next three, he’s either mediocre at best – or severely disappointing…depending on who you talk you.

5. Arron Afflalo – Portland Trail Blazers

portland-nba-online-odds Arron Afflalo is undoubtedly one of the best two-way guards in the game. However, since the former Orlando Magic star was acquired by the Blazers at the trade deadline as a backup to starter Wesley Matthews, Afflalo has largely been ineffective. Now, with Matthews sidelined, you’d think Afflalo would start to play a more prominent role in Portland’s offense, but that hasn’t necessarily been the case. Afflalo is averaging a modest 11.3 points per game in 29.8 minutes per game, but I’m thinking the Blazers need to see him average around 16.0 points per game if they’re going to be anything more than a likely one-and-done playoff participant.

4. Nikola Mirotic – Chicago Bulls

chicago-online-betting Mirotic has gone absolutely bonkers for the Bulls lately. The sweet-shooting stretch four ‘rookie’ has scored 24 points or more in five of his last eight games while grabbing nine rebounds or more five times in his last 11 starts. Despite coming off the bench, the 24-year-old Spaniard a jaw-dropping 20.8 points per game for Chicago in the month of March and became one of the league’s top  fourth quarter scorers in the process.

3. Brook Lopez – New Jersey Nets

brooklyn-online-sportsbook-odds You can say what you want about the oft-injured seven-foot Lopez, but one thing you can’t say is that he’s not talented. Lopez (16.9 ppg, 7.3 rpg) has topped the 30-point plateau five times in his last 10 games while averaging stellar 20.9 points per game in the month of March. Make no mistake about it, Lopez could be a force for the Nets in the playoffs in an Eastern Conference that isn’t exactly brimming with talent at the center position.

2. DeMarre Carroll – Atlanta Hawks

atlanta-online-betting-sportsbook Who would have ever thought that Atlanta Hawks forward DeMarre Carroll could be the most important player in the Eastern Conference this season? Carroll’s stellar perimeter defense has effectively led the way in helping the Hawks put the clamps on LeBron James in Atlanta’s three wins over the Cavaliers this season. If Carroll and the Hawks can make things tough for James again in their potential postseason matchup, the Hawks could very well end up in the NBA Finals.

1. Boris Diaw, San Antonio Spurs

san-antonio-nba-odds-online I don’t think there’s a more versatile big man in the league than San Antonio Spurs hybrid forward/center Boris Diaw. The veteran native of France, can shoot it from distance, pass it, rebound and put the rock on the floor, effectively creating mismatches that the Spurs can exploit depending on who they’re playing.  Kawhi Leonard and Tony Parker may drive the Spurs these days, but it is the multi-faceted Boris Diaw that could put San Antonio over the top this postseason.