3 Non-Stars who could pose a big problem for the Kings in the West playoffs

Sacramento Kings v Minnesota Timberwolves
Sacramento Kings v Minnesota Timberwolves / David Berding/GettyImages
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Star power is what puts NBA teams on the map. It is the foundation for any championship squad, but star power alone is not enough. You need the right role players and depth pieces around them. 

A good supporting cast can make or break a team’s playoff success. A defensive specialist can disrupt the other team’s best player’s rhythm or a strong rebounder can decide the battle on the glass. 

So, let’s look at three non-star players who could pose a big problem for the Kings in the Western Conference playoffs. 

3. Jaden McDaniels

If the season ended today, the Kings would have to face the Minnesota Timberwolves in the first round of the playoffs. Despite some recent injuries, the Timberwolves have the league’s best defensive rating. 

The two anchors of that defensive machine are Rudy Gobert and Jaden McDaniels. Gobert protects the rim, averaging 2.1 blocks per game and McDaniels is a real pest on the perimeter. He guards anyone from Kawhi Leonard to LeBron James to Luka Doncic to Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and reliably holds his own. 

This season, McDaniels has only played one game against the Kings and guarded De’Aaron Fox on 39.6 partial possessions. When guarded by McDaniels, Fox only shot 2-10 from the field and 1-6 from three. Fox is used to facing strong defenders, but McDaniels can cause him real issues with his size and length. 

Having to go against one of the best perimeter defenders out there in a potential seven-game series that allows in-depth game planning  is exhausting. The Kings’ offense is incredibly reliant on Fox’s production and just one bad game from him could cause trouble in the playoffs.

Minnesota has plenty of great players. Antony Edwards is a star in the making, Mike Conley is a savvy veteran, Karl-Anthony Towns is an offensive force, Rudy Gobert is a top rim protector, and Naz Reid has been huge off the bench but McDaniels could very well be the X-Factor. 

In the playoffs, the game slows down and half-court defense could truly decide a series.