Growth as a Role Player
This time of year, most casual fans are getting caught up in the perpetual “MVP” talk. While that is good and fine, that’s not necessarily my style. The more I’ve aged, the more I’ve been about the game as a whole. Meaning, I’m not just going to gush over crazy talents like Lebron James and Kobe Bryant, because I also appreciate the lesser players, the ones who admittedly don’t average 27 ppg.
Delonte West-It’s of no surprise to see Delonte West making major contributions on a championship level team. You can praise the arrival of Mo Williams, and I’m not going to deny that, but West’s individual strengths have blended in perfectly with what head coach Mike Brown wants to do. West’s job is simple, defend, and don’t hesitate to shoot. At it’s core, West is a very good defender, and this is the main reason he dons a Cavalier uniform. But back to the offense for a second, Danny Ferry has done a great job of putting good three point shooters around Lebron James. This shifts a opponents game plan into making Delonte West the designated shooter a lot of the time. West has taken advantage in what has become the most offensively balanced club in the tenure of King James.
Chris Andersen-The “Birdman” is back and definitely off the junk. You get nothing but constant energy from this guy. Athletic, can block some shots, and throw down some nice dunks. But every time I will go back to energy. On nights where a team is lackadaisical from a back to back, a guy like Andersen is a plus because he can light a spark. Something constantly under valued.
Kendrick Perkins-Let me start off by saying this guy benefits as much as anybody when it comes to playing with marquis talent. That’s not a knock on Perkins. He does a solid job of providing a role more teams should look towards which is a enforcer. Kendrick is very powerful down low controlling the boards, often being so physical that he can take opponents out of their game. Most often you look at Perkins and his serious demeanor and see why the Celtics have such an edge over most teams. Perkins will never be Olajuwon down low, but he’s shown growth with improved footwork and a budding one hander over his left shoulder.
Roger Mason-Besides big Timmy, where would the Spurs be without Roger Mason? Injuries to Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili in the early going instantly brought Roger Mason into the forefront this season. The Spurs would miss a combined 36 ppg and 10 apg between the two star players. You can’t expect somebody to come in and match that productivity, but you need role players to step up and do their best to help keep you in contention. That’s exactly what Roger Mason did, and then some. Roger would average 15.1 ppg, while shooting 44 percent from the field, and a astonishing 50 percent behind the line. All of these stats far above his career average. His contributions would help keep the Spurs around the .500 mark through their injury bug. And his buzzer beating exploits would help drive deserved notoriety towards his way. With Manu Ginobili now out for the postseason, Mason’s responsibility is kicked up substantially.
Who besides from the franchise player, delivers the goods for your respective team? Leave your thoughts below.