X-Factor: Nene
By Rob Peterson
Melissa Majchrzak/NBAE/Getty
The power forward has finally found his form

You can click over to the Shane Battier X-Factor page and feel free to substitute Allen Iverson and Carmelo Anthony for T-Mac and Yao and then take out Battier and replace him with Nene. That way, if you're in a hurry and only want to skim these or whether you want to take the simplistic view of things, go ahead, we're not stopping you.

But then again, you could be missing out on one of the better NBA resurgences in recent memory.

Literally and figuratively considered dead weight by some of the hoops cognoscenti during the first half of the season, Nene has proven to be an invaluable member of the Nuggets' stretch run. This according to Chris Tomasson of the Rocky Mountain News:

"But look what has happened the second half of the season. Nene is down from a season-high 278 pounds to a muscular 240, prompting ESPN analyst Bill Walton to call him a player opponents are 'afraid of.'"

The Spurs, whom some have tabbed as the league's top team despite being the No. 3 seed in the West, will be the pick by many to win the series, but Nene's second-half emergence could prove troublesome for the Spurs. Nene averaged 15.6 and 7.9 boards in 10 April games. If Nene can keep up those numbers in the postseason, it gives the steely Spurs another Nugget they need to check.

So, this time you can heed Bill Walton: Be afraid. Be very afraid.

X-Factors: ACB LBJ | Battier | VC | Harris | Horry | Nellie | Nene | Odom

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