Conventional wisdom is that in the playoffs it’s the stars that matter. When everyone is giving it their best it’s your teams’ star players that make the difference.
Stars are stars in large part due to their consistency. Anyone can score 25 points in a game but only three players averaged more than 25 points per game this season. In the playoffs it’s no different. he stars typically play well.
Many times, playoff success comes down to the players on the team who aren’t stars. Remember Ray Allen’s three a couple years ago or all the big shots Robert Horry made? Their teams would not have won championships without those contributions from role players. We have identified key role players, X-factors, from each of the playoff teams.
San Antonio Spurs – Danny Green
Green is the classic three and D type player that teams covet. Green is a career 42% shooter from three and his athleticism and size allow him to effectively guard the perimeter. He’s also a great rebounder and shot blocker for his position. If Green is hitting his threes and letting his teammates play their game the Spurs are almost unbeatable.
Los Angeles Clippers – JJ Redick
Redick is a pure shooter. Unlike Green he doesn’t contribute much else. Also unlike Green, he uses his great shooting skill inside of the three point line. Redick is the best in the league at coming off screens and knocking down 18 footers. On a team with Chris Paul and Blake Griffin, JJ Redick is actually the Clippers best offensive weapon. He’s averaged 20 points per game since the All-Star break.
Houston Rockets – Terrence Jones
Jones has had a number of injuries this season and has only played in 32 games. His health in the playoffs is important especially with Donatas Motiejunas out for the playoffs. Jones is a versatile forward who can shoot, score, defend, rebound and block shots. When he’s healthy and playing with energy the Rockets are a better team.
Memphis Grizzlies – Kosta Koufos
Koufos is maybe the best backup center in the NBA but because he plays behind one of the NBA’s best centers overall, he doesn’t get much playing time. If one of Memphis’ big men gets hurt or in foul trouble, Koufos can help minimize the loss. Even if that doesn’t happen he’ll provide toughness and rebounding to the Grizzlies second unit.