Each NBA team’s best X-Factor

Apr 11, 2015; Miami, FL, USA; Miami Heat center Hassan Whiteside (21) is fouled by Toronto Raptors center Jonas Valanciunas (17) during the second half at American Airlines Arena. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports
Apr 11, 2015; Miami, FL, USA; Miami Heat center Hassan Whiteside (21) is fouled by Toronto Raptors center Jonas Valanciunas (17) during the second half at American Airlines Arena. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports /
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Apr 11, 2015; Miami, FL, USA; Miami Heat center Hassan Whiteside (21) is fouled by Toronto Raptors center Jonas Valanciunas (17) during the second half at American Airlines Arena. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports
Apr 11, 2015; Miami, FL, USA; Miami Heat center Hassan Whiteside (21) is fouled by Toronto Raptors center Jonas Valanciunas (17) during the second half at American Airlines Arena. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports /

Who is the X-Factor player that can make or break each NBA team?

One of the things that makes the NBA so fascinating is the how dependent a team’s success is on the concept of actually playing as a unit. You can have one of the most talented players in the world on your roster, but that doesn’t necessarily mean you’re a shoo-in for the title picture. It takes an entire team, a cohesive unit to truly have success in the Association.

There might not be a better semi-contemporary example of this than LeBron James’ first run with the Cleveland Cavaliers. Despite the multitude of pieces that organization put around a guy who was clearly the best player in the world at the time, he never won a title with any of those teams. LeBron was asked to be the go-to guy, the playmaker, and that guy who brought everything together for a team.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, you have a team like the 2014-15 Golden State Warriors who also had a guy, Stephen Curry, playing like the best in the world. However, they went 67-15 and ran through the playoffs to the title not because of Curry’s individual dominance, but rather because the team around Curry made everything work. Yes, that team doesn’t hit the heights from a year ago without Curry. However, they also wouldn’t have won if it was only Steph and no one else of consequence around him.

The point is that there’s a glass ceiling for teams without players that, for lack of a better term, are the X-Factor. These are the guys that, despite possibly not being the best player on the roster, can ultimately take a team to the next level based on how they perform.

It’s worth noting that these X-Factor type players aren’t exclusive to teams on the cusp of a championship. Even teams like the Philadelphia 76ers have that type of player. While they may not swing whether or not a team is going to win a title, they do swing the promise of the team in the future and hope for the organization. For teams in the process of rebuilding, that can be equally as fulfilling and important.

It’s about the one guy on every team who, for one reason or another, is the key to a team being the best that it can be. These are the biggest X-Factors for each NBA team.

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