A strong bench is one of the most underrated tools an NBA team can have. Sure, stars carry their respective teams and make everyone better, but the difference between an average bench and a great bench can also be the difference between championship glory and miserable regret.
Every single point is crucial, and even one rebound can prove to be the difference in any critical game. If you don’t have depth, you don’t have a chance.
Even Michael Jordan sometimes had to depend on at least one or two guys coming off the bench to provide some sort of spark for the team, whether it was rebounding, defense, shooting or some sort of combination.
So, I’ve decided to honor the best guys in the league that won’t hear their names called in the starting lineup ceremonies. I only chose players who are projected to not start this year, not necessarily the ones who sat last year or years before. For example, my selection of Jose Calderon is based on the fact that newly-acquired Kyle Lowry will likely take over his starting role.
Without further ado, here is my All-NBA Bench Team.
Point Guards: Andre Miller and Jose Calderon
Not only will these two veteran point guards be one of the best to come off the bench this coming season, but they are also maybe the two most underrated point guards in the NBA.
Miller is always healthy, and he always brings something to the table. He is known for being one of the craftiest guards in the league because his athleticism can’t match other top-tier floor generals. He may be the best point guard at posting up in the league.
If he wasn’t stranded on an irrelevant team like the Toronto Raptors, Calderon would be a lot more well-known. He’s not on the same level as Rajon Rondo, Steve Nash or those kinds of point guards, but he is consistently productive. He’s averaged over eight assists per game four out of his last five years, and he’s a solid three-point shooter with a career mark of 38.1 percent.
Shooting Guards/Small Forwards: Ray Allen, Manu Ginobili, James Harden, Jason Terry, Brandon Rush
Well, with this group, you automatically have three of the best sixth men ever to play in the NBA. Terry, Harden and Ginobili can all come off the bench and provide instant offense. But the best part about Ginobili and Harden is the fact that they can both do more than just score. They are both solid defenders, and they’re great at facilitating to bring out the best in their teammates.
Ray Allen is new to not starting, but his deadly shooting is the perfect weapon to come off the bench. He’ll spread the floor, and he doesn’t need many shots to put points on the board.
Brandon Rush might seem like a big surprise here, but I decided to add him since this team doesn’t have any other small forwards, and a defensive specialist would help the other scorers get some rest on defense. His three-point shooting can also spread the floor.
Power Forwards/Centers: Spencer Hawes, Marcus Camby, Taj Gibson, Nick Collison, Tiago Splitter
This is a hodgepodge of big men, so they can complement each other well. Camby is still one of the most efficient rebounders and defenders in the league, Gibson brings athleticism and defense to the power forward position, Nick Collison does all the little things many others will not, Splitter provides some offense in the post and Hawes does a little bit of everything. Such variety in the frontcourt can be an extremely useful tool.