4 Playoff X-Factors for the Orlando Magic

The Orlando Magic are in the final countdown of the regular season as they aim to clinch their spot in the Playoffs. With the postseason on the horizon, there are several players who could determine their postseason fate.

Orlando Magic v Toronto Raptors
Orlando Magic v Toronto Raptors / Mark Blinch/GettyImages
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4 Playoff X-Factors for the Orlando Magic

Jalen Suggs

One of the most underrated and important roles to have in a playoff series is to be the third option. It might sound strange, but having a productive third option is the difference between making it to the Conference Finals and getting out in the first round.

When a team has time to specifically plan for one team and its players, it is a whole different game than during the regular season where you get the scouting report the day of the game. In a playoff series, the other team does the most it can to slow down and contain a team's first two options. It will be especially difficult for the Orlando Magic because their top two scorers have never played in a playoff series.

Normally when a star player is in their first playoff series, they struggle. They are not used to as much game planning just based around them. This is when having a reliable third option is extremely important.

They need a third player to step up and relieve that pressure and attract some added attention.

The third option normally sees the biggest stat boost when going to the playoffs while the first two options normally see a small decline in their production. Right now, Jalen Suggs is the third-leading scorer for the Magic, averaging 12.5 points, 3.2 rebounds, 2.6 assists and a team-leading 1.4 steals per game on 46.4 percent from the field and 39.8 percent from three.

Suggs finally carved out a role as the defensive hustle and energy player who dives for loose balls and puts it all out on the floor, much like a Marcus Smart or a Jrue Holiday.

Suggs is going to have to guard the other team's best ball handler, and he is going to have to pick up the slack offensively when Wagner and Banchero inevitably struggle in their first playoff run.

This should be no worry for the Magic as Suggs has a career-high in points per game and all efficiency aspects. Suggs has even found himself a lethal shooting stroke from three which some Magic fans thought would never happen.

Suggs has to be able to continue to hit open threes and be able to pump fake and drive the lane with a closing defender.

With most of the attention going to Franz Wagner and Paolo Banchero, Jalen Suggs is going to see the most amount of open shots he has seen in his career. Suggs has to be able to hit shots and be ready late in the game specifically.

If he hits a couple of open looks defenses are going to adjust to that. So the question is not only going to be if he can make open shots and take it to the rim, but can he make the extra pass if a defender rotates his way, or if he does get an off-balance defender and gets to the rim and the defense collapses can he get it back to Banchero or Wagner, or can he find the open man?

He also has to preserve energy between carrying the offensive slack and possibly guarding an All-NBA player.

Suggs has shown this year he is ready to take on the responsibility on both sides of the floor. He has nine games with at least 20 points including a season high of 27, and he has 22 games with three or more three-pointers including a career-high of seven.

Defensively he held Donovan Mitchell to 8-for-19 shooting, Tyler Herro to 6-for-16 shooting, De'Aaron Fox to 5-for-14 shooting and Jamal Murray to 2-for-11 shooting.

Suggs is the X-Factor when it comes to the Magic's playoff run this year and he has the opportunity to make a name for himself and secure a big contract when the time comes.

Every contender needs a Suggs-type player. The Magic might have found their X-Factor player. Magic fans should be excited to see their team have a real chance of making a run and getting to see a preview of what will be for years to come.