7 NBA Players Soaring Up Their Team's Depth Chart in 2012-13
Not every team in the NBA has their rosters completely figured out at this juncture of the season. This allows various role players to get some playing time.
There have also been a rash of injuries to starters so far, opening the door for backups to see more time on the court.
Both of these factors have allowed certain players to see extended minutes. Read on to see who has benefited the most so far.
Of all the new additions the Boston Celtics added in the offseason, their most recent is proving to be the most important.
Leandro Barbosa joined the Celtics late in the offseason, signing with the team on Oct. 18. At the time of his signing, he appeared to be nothing more than a bench warmer—a stop-gap until the return of Avery Bradley.
Thus far, however, Barbosa has been one of the most important players on the team. He has come up big offensively in a few games, offering instant scoring off the bench. He is providing something the Celtics did not have last season.
His play has earned him an important spot in the rotation, and he even started Thursday night's game against the Brooklyn Nets. With Rajon Rondo out, Barbosa did a suitable job running the point and put in 17 points in 30 minutes.
Jeffery Taylor has earned some quality minutes this year as the starting shooting guard for the 4-3 Charlotte Bobcats.
While Taylor's play hasn't been particularly flashy, his competency on the court allows for both Ben Gordon and Ramon Sessions to lead a dynamic second unit.
After receiving a DNP-Coach's Decision in the season opener, his minutes have steadily increased. He has earned the starting nod in five of the Bobcats' seven games and has played well while adjusting to NBA speed.
Over the past four games, Taylor is averaging seven points per game. As Taylor continues to learn the Bobcats' system, he will produce more and more.
For now, a second-round rookie earning a starting gig is definitely something of note.
The Memphis Grizzlies are rolling right now. Because of that, they are unlikely to make any changes to their depth chart. Wayne Ellington remains the backup shooting guard to Tony Allen, but he is putting on quite an early-season performance.
Despite the Grizzlies' success, Allen has been struggling a bit. Always known for his defense, he is still playing well on that side of the court. However, with O.J. Mayo gone, the Grizzlies were hoping to get more offense out of Allen.
As it happens, however, Allen is playing the worst offense of his career. He is shooting just 35.3 percent from the floor and averaging just 6.6 points per game.
Behind him, Ellington has been superb offensively. Playing just over 17 minutes per game, the fourth-year guard is averaging better than eight points per game on 51.2 percent shooting. He has also been successful on 45.8 percent of his threes.
Even if he remains the backup to Allen, Ellington has skyrocketed in terms of value to this team, and his minutes and role will reflect that.
Ray Allen is very important to the Miami Heat.
When Allen joined Miami, there was a lot of speculation as to what his role would be on a team that already featured three offensive stars. Some thought he might get lost in the shuffle or perhaps become a decoy.
As it turns out, Allen has been used often. He is connecting on 51.2 percent of his threes and is averaging 12.4 points per game. He has become easily the most important reserve for the Heat, and he may have ingrained himself as their third- or fourth-most important player overall.
Though he remains the backup shooting guard, he has leaped up the depth chart into sixth-man territory.
While I still have my doubts about sustainability, it is time to give the big guy some credit.
When Rasheed Wallace joined the New York Knicks, many were skeptical. Wallace was 38 years old and coming out of retirement.
However, he has come up big recently for the undefeated Knicks. After seeing just garbage time in the first couple of games of the season, his playing time has increased. It has increased in meaningful spots too. He put in eight points in the second quarter against the San Antonio Spurs.
It appears Wallace is going to be a legitimate part of the Knicks rotation. Over the last four games, Wallace is averaging 7.5 points and four rebounds per game. Those stats are coming in just over 15 minutes per night.
From being an afterthought with the Boston Celtics to being waived by the Houston Rockets, E'Twaun Moore is now the starting point guard for the Orlando Magic.
Thanks to a groin injury to veteran Jameer Nelson, Moore has been given a chance to shine in Orlando. He has earned six starts in seven games and played a more-than-respectable point guard.
Moore is averaging 13.3 points and 4.3 assists on the season and has been playing 36 minutes per night. For a player with an unsure future not too long ago, Moore has emerged as a serviceable point guard.
He is taking full advantage of this time and has definitely earned serious reserve minutes when Nelson returns. He has scored in double figures in all but one game and has really provided a spark to a poor Orlando team.
The Danny Granger injury hit the Indiana Pacers like a bomb.
The team has fallen to 3-6, and they are scoring a league-worst 87.8 points per game. The promising story coming out of Indiana has been the play of Gerald Green.
With Granger out for the foreseeable future, Green has an opportunity to step up. He earned three starts to open the season but was removed from the starting five as Frank Vogel searched for pairings that work well.
Still, after spending time in the D-League, Green appears to be advancing himself and earning legitimate minutes with a good team. He has learned to make himself slightly more versatile, and he is adding aspects to his game beyond dunking.
Things have been very inconsistent in the early going, but Green is averaging 9.6 points and 5.2 rebounds per game. He has made quite a leap in one year, spring-boarding his play with the Nets last season into a real role with the Pacers.
From here, he can continue to move upward and battle to earn that starting gig.
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