NBA Playoffs: 3 X-Factor Sixers that could surprise us, 2 that could fall flat

(Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)
(Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images) /
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Welcome to the NBA Playoffs! They have not started just yet, and the Western Conference seeding has the potential to drastically shift in this last weekend of regular season games. The Philadelphia 76ers however have clinched the 3rd seed in the Eastern Conference and are locked into that spot. The most likely matchup for the Sixers in the first round is the Brooklyn Nets, who have surprisingly maintained a similar record following the departure of their two superstars, Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving, at the trade deadline.

With the playoffs top of mind, Doc Rivers’ postseason rotation will be under a magnifying glass this year. It begs the question, which Sixers could surprise us this postseason and be an X-factor in the early series? And which Sixers could fall flat and not live up to expectations? Let’s start with 3 X-factors. First up, Jalen McDaniels.

Philadelphia 76ers
Philadelphia 76ers /

Jalen McDaniels

McDaniels was acquired at the trade deadline from the Charlotte Hornets, in a deal that saw Matisse Thybulle depart Philly for the Portland Trailblazers. In his 21-game tenure with the Sixers, McDaniels has averaged 5.6 points and 3 rebounds per game in 16 minutes of game time. This may seem like a fall-off from his Charlotte averages of 10.6 points and 4.8 rebounds, but he was playing much more and often starting games for the Hornets.

With the Philadelphia 76ers, it seems that Doc has not given McDaniels the necessary playing time to make an impact on games and show his worth. McDaniels is an extremely athletic wing who can get to the basket when he wants and knockdown midrange shots if he gets the opportunity. In his lone start for Philly, McDaniels scored 20 points on 62% shooting from the field and secured 8 rebounds.

When given more playing time, McDaniels has proven to be reliable.

Depending on how deep Doc’s playoff rotation will be, McDaniels, unfortunately, has a chance of not seeing meaningful playing time, but that would be a mistake. Not many teams have a player with McDaniels’ skillset as an 8th or 9th player coming off the bench and I truly believe he could be an X-factor in series-deciding games this postseason.