Every year there are a handful of seemingly unknown players who burst on the scene, veterans who looked to be out to pasture, and European guys who come over and don't necessarily light the world on fire, but instead step in and fill an important role with a team.
For every Jeremy Lin there is, there are a dozen guys who step up from deep off the bench and fill a role that they've never really showed that they could fill before.
That could be stepping into the starting lineup, or just taking on more minutes off the bench.
Now we're not talking about guys like Jrue Holiday, who has shown natural progression to get to an All-Star level; or James Harden, who was obviously full of potential, just never got the minutes necessary to blow up as much as possible.
We're talking about guys who make an early jump, who come out of obscurity, or who just stop bouncing around from team to team and find themselves a role to fill with a new team.
There are always guys rotating in and out of teams' rotations, so the names on these lists are constantly changing. But there are a few who stand out above the rest who have either out-performed their expectations or have come out of nowhere to make a positive impact for their team.