This last stretch of the season is largely about contending for a playoff spot (or play-in) and securing a favorable seed for many teams. The playoffs are when the actual work for NBA contenders begins, and several of those teams have critical role players who have been having trouble.
These last few weeks are crucial for teams like the Warriors, 76ers, and Cavaliers to get every player playing at their peak.
3. Isaac Okoro, Cleveland Cavaliers
While Okoro’s catch-and-shoot 3-point shooting percentage is a relatively respectable 35.4 percent, nobody really bothers to stop him, and even when his shots are falling, he can hinder Cleveland’s spacing.
2. Tobias Harris of the Philadelphia 76ers
Tobias Harris used to play a supporting role in Philadelphia’s offense. However, Tyrese Maxey’s rise to prominence and the addition of James Harden have pushed him down the offensive priority list, making him a solidly complementary offensive threat. This season, more than at any other time in his career, he has taken more 3-pointers, and 93.3 percent of his field goals have been assisted, which is by far the best rate since he joined the 76ers.
1. Golden State Warriors player Jordan Poole
We got a first-hand glimpse at just how crucial Jordan Poole might be to the Warriors’ current incarnation during their championship run in the previous season. We’ve also seen firsthand this year what happens when he’s unable to get it all together.
Due in large part to his penchant to settle for pull-ups, Poole has had slightly more opportunity to function as the primary initiator and creator with Steph Curry being injured so frequently. As a result, his effectiveness in those scenarios has plummeted.