2022 NBA Playoffs: 5 biggest x-factors for the Western Conference

Dallas Mavericks, NBA Playoffs
NBA Playoff predictions, Klay Thompson

NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA – APRIL 10: Klay Thompson #11 of the Golden State Warriors stands on the court during the second quarter of an NBA game against the New Orleans Pelicans at Smoothie King Center on April 10, 2022 in New Orleans, Louisiana. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images)

The Western Conference playoffs are just days away and these five players can be x-factors capable of powering their team to the NBA Finals. 

Superstars understandably get the lion’s share of media attention heading into the NBA playoffs but basketball is still a team sport. That gives less heralded players a unique opportunity to make massive impacts in the postseason if they’re presented with the right matchups.

The Western Conference playoffs project to be a hard-fought blood bath to see who earns the chance to take on their Eastern Conference Peers in the NBA Finals. The Suns enter the postseason as the No. 1 seed but no one believes they’re a lock to blitz their inter-conference competition.

That means fans can expect long series all over the bracket. Stars will have their say in the outcomes of each game, but x-factors are going to pop up as the postseason rolls around. The following five guys have the best chance to swing a series in their team’s favor as a positive x-factor if things break in their favor.

5. Klay Thompson

Thompson was a bona fide superstar before injuries derailed his career. Fortunately for the Warriors, he’s returned this season and is playing at a pretty high level on the wing.

The 32-year-old wing’s status as a potential x-factor depends on his ability to up his workload and increase his efficiency at the same time. The higher-ups in Golden State were very careful to keep his average minutes per game under 30 during the regular season. If they can push that closer to 35 and Thompson can up his shooting to 40% from behind the three-point arc then the Warriors could be the team to beat in the West.

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