NBA Playoffs: 1 Crucial series-changing X-Factor for every playoff team

Predicting 1 series-changing x-factor for every team heading into the 2024 NBA Playoffs.
Cleveland Cavaliers v Los Angeles Clippers
Cleveland Cavaliers v Los Angeles Clippers / Harry How/GettyImages
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Los Angeles Lakers

NBA Playoffs X-Factor: D'Angelo Russell

Over the course of the second half of the season, D'Angelo Russell has been a completely different player for the Los Angeles Lakers. Heading into their first-round playoff matchup against the Denver Nuggets, I can't help but wonder how big of a series this could end up being for Russell as he emerges as a potential x-factor for the Lakers. Looking back at last year's series between the Lakers and Nuggets in the Western Conference Finals, there came a point where Russell became pretty unplayable against the Nuggets.

Ultimately, Russell ended up averaging six points and four assists on 32 percent shooting from the field in those four games. During that final game, Russell was benched. Have things truly changed for Russell? If so, we should find out soon. And if they have, the Lakers are going to have an element in their backcourt that they didn't have last season. And that could end up playing a big factor in this series.

If the Lakers have any shot to upset the Nuggets in the first round, you'd have to think that Russell is likely going to play a pretty big role if LA is going to be successful.

Next. players leaving next season. NBA Rumors: 1 player from all 30 teams that definitely won't be on 2024-25 roster. dark