NBA Playoffs: Ranking the Unsung Heroes of the NBA Playoffs
As the 2012 NBA Playoffs move forward, the superstars garner most of the attention from the media and fans. While a superstar player can win a game for their team, a team needs role players to step up if they hope to win a championship.
This is a list of the best unsung heroes of the playoffs so far, and how they can help their teams in the next round.
Bass hasn't scored less than eight points in the series against the Sixers, and he exploded for 27 in game 5. The Boston Celtics have been looking for a big man to step up all year, and Bass has chosen the right time to have his breakthrough.
While Bass can knock down the open shot, he is mostly dependent on Rajon Rondo setting him up for easy points. When the Boston offense is clicking on all cylinders, Bass is getting easy looks at the basket.
If the Celtics beat the Philadelphia 76ers in game seven, Bass is going to need to step up in the next series. The Celtics have the best chance of anyone left to defeat the Miami Heat, but they will have to have the inside scoring that Bass provides to do that.
Holiday is the starting point guard for the Philadelphia 76ers, but is often overshadowed by sixth-man of the year candidate Lou Williams. Holiday has the ability to take over games with his scoring and playmaking, but he has been inconsistent this whole year, much like the 76ers as a whole.
With Williams not scoring as much as he did in the regular season, Holiday must take a lead role in the 76ers offense. Players like Andre Iguodala and Evan Turner sometimes see the offense run through them, but when Holiday is the leader on offense Philadelphia is in much better shape.
Sefolosha has proven that he is one of, if not the best on-ball defender in the NBA. By forcing Kobe Bryant to take contested shots, he kept the Thunder in the game and helped slow down the Lakers offense. Of course Kobe is still going to score points, but Sefolosha made it as hard as possible.
In the Spurs series Sefolosha should be matched up against Manu Ginobili, where he can try and slow down the slasher. One benefit will be playing against James Harden in practice, who uses the euro-step and other moves made popular by Ginobili.
If Sefolosha can help control Ginobili's attacking presence, the Thunder will be in much better shape to win the series.
The Spurs Bench
While technically cheating, separating the Spurs bench just seems unfair to them. R. C. Buford and the Spurs management have done incredible work this year getting the exact pieces they needed to be a complete team.
With Matt Bonner and Danny Green the Spurs have outside shooting, while Kawhi Leonard and Stephen Jackson provide tough defense, as well as Jackson's veteran leadership. Boris Diaw brings size and post defense to the bench unit, while Tiago Splitter provides some scoring when Tim Duncan comes out of the game.
Duncan, Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili can only carry the Spurs so far, and San Antonio has built the perfect second unit to pick up the slack and propel the Spurs through the playoffs.
With all the defensive attention on Wade and James, players like Chalmers and Mike Miller will be open from three-point range. Chalmers has shown he has the skills to be a great addition to the Heat offense, but he has been too inconsistent these playoffs. If the Heat hope to advance, Chalmers is going to have to start making shots and being more of a leader on the team.