DAR Sports: The Most Important Player On Each NBA Playoff Team

By @TrueGodImmortal

With the NBA playoffs almost here, the picture is shaping up clearly and the teams are gearing up for their run. What will make each team successful in the playoffs is playing to their strengths. Within every set of strengths is the X-Factor, or in this case, the most important player on the team. Today, we take a look at the most important player on every playoff team. Keep in mind, in the Western Conference, spots 5-9 are still really up for grabs, so I included the Denver Nuggets as well. Who are the most important players on each team? Let's take a look.

Eastern Conference
The East has their 8 playoff spots set, at this point the only thing left is the seeding. Will Miami finish at the 6th seed? 7th seed? Or will they finish at the 8th? What will Milwaukee do? Can the Wizards turn it around? All of these answers can be found in the most important player on each team. Who are the most important players on these playoff teams? Some of these might shock you.

*Toronto Raptors
(Most Important: Demar DeRozan)

-I want to say Kyle Lowry is the most important because his struggle in the playoffs can make or break the Raptors. However, DeRozan is their primary scoring option and he is the anchor for them going into the postseason. If DeRozan is not himself or explosive offensively, the Raptors can be out of sync. If the rest of the Raptors struggle and DeRozan can't step up, an early exit will be in order. With that said, DeRozan is the most important Raptor.

*Boston Celtics
(Most Important: Jaylen Brown)

-In the place of Kyrie, who will be missing the rest of the postseason, Jaylen Brown is the most important piece of the Celtics on both ends of the court. In terms of all around game, Jaylen is the best two-way player on the team and as a second year player, he has more responsibility than Jayson Tatum and a bigger role than Terry Rozier. If Jaylen is shooting well and defending well, the rest of the team will follow suit. Horford is an important piece, Marcus Smart is important, Rozier and Tatum are very important, but Jaylen is the most important piece.

*Philadephia 76ers
(Most Important: Ben Simmons)

-While Joel Embiid is a huge piece of their success, I still believe the most important player on that team is Ben Simmons. When he wasn't playing that well, the Sixers struggled even with Embiid on the floor. Simmons has found his comfort zone and is the runaway choice for Rookie Of The Year. Because of that, I think Simmons is the key to the success. He isn't a shooter but he can score well. He can rebound, defend, and assist at a high level, so if Simmons can get it all done in the playoffs, he will be the biggest reason why the Sixers have the most success overall.

*Cleveland Cavaliers
(Most Important: LeBron James)

-This is an easy choice and I don't need to really explain it. LeBron is the man of course and he has been the most vital part of the Cavs and their success. However, if Bron were to be slightly underwhelming at all this postseason, one would assume that the Cavs are doomed. If Bron and the Cavs are successful and make another NBA Finals trip, it will be because Bron played at his best, especially with no Kyrie Irving at his side anymore. He has a solid supporting cast, but Bron is the engine behind the team and without him playing at a high level, they are doomed. Luckily, Bron won't have any issue playing at a high level come playoff time.

*Indiana Pacers
(Most Important: Victor Oladipo)

-The shocker of the year has to be the Pacers. Perhaps, I was just sleep on the coaching of Nate McMillian, or I was completely shocked to see how good Oladipo is. Oladipo is the man in Indiana and he has improved his game in many facets. Solid defender, excellent scorer, and his team is confirmed for the 5th seed in the playoffs out East. They're going to need him in the playoffs and they are going to need him to be as excellent as he has been since the season took off. Oladipo is the key to any long term success for the Pacers in the playoffs.

*Miami Heat
(Most Important: Dwyane Wade)

-Wade isn't the player he used to be. That much is clear. However, his role in the playoffs is going to be extremely pivotal to the success of the Heat. More than anyone else. Neither Dragic nor Whiteside will be the difference maker in the series. That title will go to the playoff experienced Wade, who is a leader even off the bench. If Wade plays with glimpses of himself in the playoffs, the Heat are the toughest out in the East.

*Milwaukee Bucks
(Most Important Player: Giannis)

-Truthfully, Giannis is the most important but Khris Middleton is equally important this postseason. Giannis can carry the team to a winning record and playoff appearance, but he is not going to be able to do it himself alone. This begs the question, is Giannis ready for the big time? That remains to be seen. What we will see is if Giannis has what it takes to walk into the playoffs against the hostile crowds and win a series. The 7th seed currently in the West, Giannis is going to have play like a MVP candidate and then some to get anywhere in the postseason.

*Washington Wizards 
(Most Important: John Wall)

-The Wizards are not legit.. I don't believe in them at all as a team in this playoff scene and their inconsistency is a huge reason why. However, John Wall is the key to success. If he can get into rhythm and help them push the pace and have better spacing, then maybe they have a chance. Likely however, the Wizards are a first round exit. Still, Wall is their most important.

Western Conference The West has been interesting for numerous reasons, but none more important than the tight playoff rice. The Rockets and Warriors are miles ahead of everyone, with everyone scrambling to make the other spots. which players are the best of the best and most important for their team this year? Let's take a look.

*Houston Rockets
(Most Important: Chris Paul)

-James Harden has seemed to have an easier life this season and the crazy truth about that is, Chris Paul is the X-Factor this year. The Rockets without CP3 and their current roster might be a first or second round exit. His court vision, his efficiency, and his determination has changed the identity of the team and made them unstoppable in a way. Harden has been there. The team hasn't been this good. When you look at names like PJ Tucker and others, it doesn't seem like they make THAT much of a difference overall. The true difference maker is CP3 and while Harden has been the best player overall, the most important is something different. The Rockets with Harden and CP3 together could make the Finals, where a team without CP3 would be the 3rd seed and probably have some problems. With that, CP3 is the most important player in Houston. 

*Golden State Warriors
(Most Important: Steph Curry)

-Obviously. The Warriors are a good team without Steph, but not good enough. If they didn't have Quinn Cook, things would be so much different without Steph. His value came into play this season when his injury sidelined him for an extended period of time. Regardless, I think Steph has showed the world that there is no one in or around his league who is more valuable to their team. Let's hope Steph comes back ready to play sooner than later.

*Portland Trailblazers
(Most Important: Damian Lillard)

-The star PG for the Blazers is their deadliest weapon. He is clutch, and in the moments where it counted, he showed up. CJ is almost equally right there with Dame and that's going to be a problem for years to come. However, his role right now is easily the most important for the Blazers as they try to secure the first single perhaps. Still, Dame is the man in Portland and let us hope they pay him what they owe him when it comes time to re-up on that contract. 

*Utah Jazz
(Most Important: Rudy Gobert)

-Donovan Mitchell is the offensive anchor of the team. However, this DPOY candidate has been at his best this year. The Utah Jazz win games through their excellent defense and they are much better overall with Gobert on the floor. You can look at the other advanced stats that help paint this picture clear. Simply put, if the Jazz manages to pull out a surprise victory in the playoffs, Gobert will be the anchor for that.

*San Antonio Spurs
(Most Important: LaMarcus Aldridge)

-Kawhi Leonard is done. For the season. It would make no sense to bring him back now. He would be out of rhythm and there is clearly tension with this team and Kawhi. So, with Kawhi being out, the most important player on the team has to be LMA. If the Spurs can defend and get the role players going, the most important X-Factor is to have their All Star focused and able to deliver. I'm not so sure that this Spurs team has longevity for the playoffs, but if they do, LMA will be the reason why.

*Minnesota Timberwolves
(Most Important: Jimmy Butler)

-The Wolves aren't likely going for the long haul. They have struggled with Andrew Wiggins and their defense is hit or miss most games. Karl Anthony Towns has been good, but not good enough to lead the team to victory. The key to winning is with Jimmy Butler. A young veteran that has stepped up in clutch situations, Butler is the heart and soul of the team. If Jimmy Butler is playing, the Wolves have a shot to make the second round, but once again, this just confirms  how valuable Jimmy Buckets is to this solid roster.

*New Orleans Pelicans
(Most Important: Anthony Davis)

-Of course. This needs little explanation. AD is a MVP candidate and my personal choice for MVP. His work ethic since DeMarcus Cousins went down has been crazy and he has been working what feels like double to ensure the Pelicans make the playoffs. It is almost guaranteed at this point and with AD playing out of his mind..... this is a foregone conclusion. No one is more important period in the NBA this season.

*Oklahoma City Thunder
(Most Important: Russell Westbrook)

-Paul George and Melo are important but Russ is still the man who could alter a playoff series with his play for better or worse. I've seen these two take poorly advised shots and ruin the game and I've seen Russ do the same more often than not in games as well. If Russ is in MVP mode as the months progressed, we can be sure that the Thunder are a tough out for anyone.

*Denver Nuggets
(Most Important: Nikola Jokic)

-It is clear. Of all the Nuggets players, Jokic is the most important player on the team. When he plays well, they are successful. The rest of the team is talented and can win a game or two against anyone I believe, but with Jokic doing what he does best, they are even tougher. Gary Harris and Jamal Murray are important to the game as well for Denver, but Jokic is the reason why the spotlight has been on the Nuggets more than usual this season.



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