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Vendetta Roundtable: Who is the biggest X-Factor for Celtics in 2024 NBA Finals?

Celtics X-Factor NBA Finals
Who will be the biggest X-Factor for the Boston Celtics if they want to win the 2024 NBA Finals and hang banner No. 18? (Peter Casey-USA TODAY Sports)

Vendetta Roundtable: Who is the biggest X-Factor for Celtics in 2024 NBA Finals?

The 2024 NBA Finals between the Dallas Mavericks is officially here! Before the series, I asked them a series of questions–that I will also answer–regarding the series. Let’s begin with the X-Factors for the Boston Celtics

If the 64-win Celtics want to cap off their season by hanging banner No. 18, who is their biggest X-Factor? Let’s see what the crew says:

Jiarmani Depena: Kristaps Porzingis

His skillset helped the Celtics become the best team in basketball. A month away can possibly make or break this series. Although Boston has played well without him.

Trey Daubert: Kristaps Porzingis

It’s Porzingis. Always has been. Without him, the Celtics are last year’s team except Jrue Holiday is an upgraded version of Marcus Smart. It’s not about the talent of Porzingis. It’s about what he provides you. Without Porzingis, the Celtics are a team that has a really nice curveball. With Porzingis, they have a splitter, cutter, and changeup too. His ability to stretch the floor, score in the post against mismatches, and protect the rim can’t be replaced. They’re going to need him to truly beat a great team. We’re going to find out just how good the Mavericks are. 

James Moore: Kristaps Porzingis

KP is the key. Trading for him elevated Boston to the level they are now. They dominated the regular season, and despite how well Boston has played in the playoffs, you can see how his absence affects them. Going up against Luka and Kyrie, Boston is going to need every bit of defense they can get. KP’s size and rim protection is going to be crucial.

Alex Chick III: Kristaps Porzingis

It’s hard to deny Kristaps Porzingis’ impact in this series. He will be the best big the Mavs have faced in this playoffs and will be a challenge for Dereck Lively II. They will and should play through him and force Dallas to gameplan for him first. That should open up Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown, and Jrue Holiday offensively.

Matt Hanifan: Kristaps Porzingis, but let’s provide another answer–Derrick White

Porzingis is my real answer. But let’s offer another, for the sake of conversation: Derrick White. He’s been integral to Boston’s success over the last two-and-a-half years and has been massive in crucial moments. White does all the little things well, but is capable of going off at any given moment.

He will draw a lot of Kyrie and Doncic defensively while being one of Boston’s top-floor spacers and connectors offensively. He has a ton of responsibility, but if he has a big series, Boston likely wins.

***

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