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Warriors vs. Grizzlies, NBA Playoffs 2015: Who's the key player for Golden State?

In Part II of our roundtable in response to SB Nation's questions about the second round, the GSoM staff offers their thoughts on which players need to step up for the Warriors to beat the Grizzlies.

Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

What really stood out about the GSoM staff responses to SB Nation's questions about who needs to step up for the Golden State Warriors in the second round was that there was very little agreement on who exactly that person is.

Among the eight writers who responded, there were six different picks for who would be that "x-factor" in the Warriors' series against the Memphis Grizzlies.

Perhaps you could consider that a reflection of healthy respect for a team that the Warriors have struggled to find answers to in recent history; I prefer to see it as a reflection of just how much firepower the Warriors have, which is certainly the sentiment you'll probably get from our writers.

The GSoM panel

Enough talk from me — the following is our panel, which is even bigger this time than it was for the last series:

  • Andy Liu
  • Arno Ferguson
  • Basketball Jonez
  • Bram Kincheloe
  • Conrad Chow
  • Jared Stearne
  • Jeff Cheal
  • Sam Sorkin

And without further ado, the responses.

Which player needs to step his game up most for your team to win?

AL: Klay Thompson. The Warriors need a consistent Thompson to win any series. He wasn't all the way there against the New Orleans Pelicans and now he gets Tony Allen and the vicious Grizzlies defense. He back-cut them to death last time at Oracle but it was against a depleted team. How the Warriors, and Stephen Curry, get him the ball will be interesting.

AF: Andrew Bogut. I don't think anyone needs to step up their game, but with the Grizzlies playing so big, Andrew Bogut will have his hands full. I'm hoping to see the Boges from the Denver series way back when. I'm also hoping David Lee has a chance to contribute in a substantial way.

BJ: For the Warriors to advance, they'll need Andre Iguodala to step up his game on the offensive end. His playoff TS% has been just .379, and his per game averages of 6.3 point, 3.3 rebounds, 2.8 assists, and 0.5 steals are well below his season contributions. As on of the most important pieces for the team and the leader of the bench, that performance is unacceptable.

BK: Andrew Bogut. If Andrew can stay out of foul trouble and stay on the floor, the Warriors have their own behemoth to counteract Memphis' size.

This series is going to be a match up of the second lines and role players, as the stars will equal out. -Jeff Cheal

CC: The bench unit was inconsistent and will need to improve from last series. Golden State's reserves are vital to the Warriors' success and a good performance will take pressure off the starters. With David Lee back into the fold, the bench must step up for the team to win.

JS: Stephen Curry is the easy answer: with Conley out, the Warriors will expect him to have a big showing on offense. The Dubs want to play fast and put up more points than they did against the Pelicans, and Curry will need to shoulder much of that load. That said, the Warriors probably shouldn't need a herculean effort from the Baby Faced Assassin to beat the Grizz.

JC: This series is going to be a match up of the second lines and role players, as the stars will equal out. The player in the spotlight here will be Harrison Barnes - a sentence we have said so many times this season. He will be matched up with Tony Allen and Courtney Lee, and needs to find as many advantages to attack the Memphis bigs as he can. Will his shooting show up? Will he disappear on the court again? If he shows up, Warriors could take this one in 5. If he does not, it could extend closer to 7.

SS: The Warriors' X-factor in this series is Klay Thompson. He had multiple fantastic games in the series against the Pelicans and needs to do more of the same against the Grizzlies. Only, in this series he won't be guarded by Eric Gordon-- he will be guarded by defensive fiend Tony Allen. Thompson played really well against Memphis and Allen in the regular season, and if that continues, this series will be over quickly.

So which Warriors player do you think needs to step up most? Vote in the poll below and explain yourself in the comments.

Tomorrow, Part III: GSoM staff predictions.

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