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NBA Playoffs 2018: Top 10 role players who'll make a difference

SENIOR ANALYST
Top 5 / Top 10
11 Apr 2018, 16:21 IST

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This postseason is shaping to be one of the most engaging ones in recent times. For the first time in over 8 years, there is no clear favourite to win either the Western Conference title or the Eastern Conference berth to the Finals.

The Cavaliers are acclimatizing to life after Kyrie Irving, while the likes of the Toronto Raptors and the Philadelphia 76ers are on the rise this season.

The West, meanwhile, remains the Murderer's Row that it always has been. Barring the Houston Rockets and the Golden State Warriors, it is not clear which teams will make it past the first round of playoff games in this bracket.

Filled with high-caliber playoff teams, and the real possibility of an upset for the Warriors this season, NBA fans are promised a treat of a playoffs this time around as well.

Let's take a look at the top 10 role players playing for playoff teams this season.


#10 Larry Nance Jr.

2018 Verizon Slam Dunk Contest
Nance performs at the 2018 Verizon Slam Dunk Contest

The Cleveland Cavaliers were foundering in early February, coming off a rough patch in late December and January which had carried into the month of February. It was clear that their roster was aging and no longer able to play an uptempo game - especially at the defensive end.

Enter Kobe Altman. The Cavaliers' GM pulled off a slew of deadline deals that reduced the baggage in the roster, replacing them with young and promising players of the likes of Rodney Hood, Larry Nance Jr., and Jordan Clarkson. Out of these three players, Larry Nance Jr. looks like their most invaluable addition based on the evidence so far.

Hobbled due to the constant injury troubles, as well as the regressing play of their 2012 first round draft pick Tristan Thompson, the Cavaliers needed to find a big man with the ability to protect the rim and contribute within the paint area on offense. In Larry Nance, they found the ideal guy to plug into TT's diminishing role.

Expect Nance to showcase a few highlight reel shows in the playoffs as well.

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