Drafting the Ultimate NBA All-Chemistry Team

Brendan Bowers@@BowersCLEContributor IIJune 21, 2013

Drafting the Ultimate NBA All-Chemistry Team

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    The ultimate NBA All-Chemistry Team features a select group of players who maximize their role in an attempt to help their team win. 

    This team includes chemistry players who come off the bench to provide a spark along with starting centers who have turned in All-Star performances fueled by hustle and energy. 

    The roles embraced by each player are unique, but they all share a desire to use their skills and abilities to make those around them better. 

    This team was drafted by position, selecting among all players currently in the league during the 2012-13 campaign.

Eric Bledsoe, Los Angeles Clippers: Point Guard

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    Despite his name being discussed in multiple trade rumors throughout the 2012-13 campaign, Eric Bledsoe showed up ready to work on a nightly basis for the Los Angeles Clippers. 

    As the NBA's best back-up point guard, Bledsoe contributed whenever possible in relief of Chris Paul

    But besides his ability to run an NBA team, averaging 8.5 points, 3.1 assists and three rebounds in 20.4 minutes, Bledsoe also provides energy with his ability to finish at the rim. 

    The explosive leaper may not be in a reserve role for too much longer, however, but last season Bledsoe provided winning chemistry for the Clippers in that capacity from start to finish. 

Andre Iguodala, Denver Nuggets: Shooting Guard

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    Andre Iguodala is a 29 year old All-Star who will generate substantial interest on the free agent market this summer. 

    His emergence as a star throughout his career, however, was built more on a foundation of defense and energy as opposed to an overwhelming skill set. 

    On the defensive end, Iguodala has the ability to not only lock his man down but also improve the collective effort of his teammates around him. During the 2012-13 campaign, he provided a much needed lift for the Denver Nuggets in this capacity upon arrival.

    Iguodala also averaged 13 points, 5.4 assists and 5.3 rebounds as a player capable of making a well-rounded impact on a consistent basis. 

Kawhi Leonard, San Antonio Spurs: Small Forward

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    Kawhi Leonard is going to be a star.

    Those were the sentiments of San Antonio Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich according to Alex Kennedy of USA Today following Game 7 of the 2013 NBA Finals.

    I just talked to Kawhi and told him he was absolutely amazing," Popovich said after Game 7. "Nobody expected him at this young age to play the way he has through the whole playoffs. He really is a star in the making.

    In the meantime, Leonard has managed to be an ideal fit alongside Tony Parker, Tim Duncan and Manu Ginobili in San Antonio.

    His ability to rebound and defend is rapidly approaching an elite status. While also scoring 11.9 points during the 2012-13 campaign, Leonard's offensive game isn't far behind either.   

Ryan Anderson, New Orleans Pelicans: Power Forward

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    At 6'10", Ryan Anderson is a player who helps fit all five pieces of an NBA puzzle together with his unique skill set. 

    While embracing the role of a true stretch four, Anderson has the ability to bring opposing rim defenders away from the basket by knocking down shots from the perimeter. 

    In five seasons, Anderson has connected on 42.6 percent of his three-point field goal attempts for his career. During the 2012-13 campaign, in 81 games with the New Orleans Hornets, he shot 42.3 percent while averaging a career-high 16.2 points. 

    The spacing he creates opens up scoring opportunities for his teammates. As a leader, Anderson can also been seen consistently encouraging their decision to take advantage.

Joakim Noah, Chicago Bulls: Center

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    Not all chemistry players use hustle and energy to provide a spark off the bench. 

    In Joakim Noah's case, he provides this type of contribution all game long as the starting center for the Chicago Bulls. 

    Noah used this energy to fuel an All-Star performance in 2012-13. He also led his team into the second round of the postseason without the services of superstar Derrick Rose all year. 

    Noah's hustle can be quantified by the 11.1 rebounds, 2.1 blocks and 1.2 steals he averaged during the regular season to lead Chicago in each category. 

    He also averaged 11.9 points while passionately anchoring the defensive effort up front for the Bulls.

Roy Hibbert, Indiana Pacers: Center

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    6th Man

    After an All-Star campaign in 2011-12, Roy Hibbert took what some perceived as a step back this season. 

    This was based primarily on his 11.9 points and 44.8 percent shooting being less than the 12.8 and 49.7 he posted the season before. 

    In truth, however, Hibbert was actually a primary reason why the Indiana Pacers took the step forward collectively they did in advancing to Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals. 

    Fueled by Hibbert's rim protection, the Pacers led the league in opponent field-goal percentage by holding teams to 42 percent shooting during the regular season.

    His ability to erase mistakes defensively also provides a level of support to his teammates that is not always quantifiable, but critical to team success in the NBA.

Chris Andersen, Miami Heat: Power Forward

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    Chris "Birdman" Andersen is a player who can be difficult to root for if he's not on your team.

    His aggressive play has escalated at times into altercations, like the one he had with Tyler Hansbrough during the Eastern Conference Finals, which are cause for suspension. 

    For Miami Heat fans—and the Denver Nuggets' fans before them—Andersen is a player who provides that X-factor defined by energy, hustle and passion that helps determine the difference between wins and losses.

    During the Eastern Conference Finals against the Indiana Pacers, for example, he only averaged 7.2 points and 4.7 rebounds. At the same time Andersen capitalized on the 18.2 minutes per game he played off the bench by providing timely defense and shooting a staggering 88.9 percent from the floor.

Shane Battier, Miami Heat: Small Forward

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    Shane Battier is a professional role player who has used effort and energy to impact games on both ends of the floor throughout his career. 

    Though he has only averaged double-figure points for the season three times since breaking into the league in 2001-02, Battier has consistently provided value with timely contributions and hustle.

    From stepping in to take a charge defensively, to knocking down a critical shot off the bench, Battier is the type of player needed to round out a championship roster. 

    Playing in Game 7 of the 2013 NBA Finals, Battier came off the Miami Heat bench to knock down 6-of-8 three-pointers on his way to scoring 18.

    During the seven games of the Eastern Conference Finals he played against the Indiana Pacers, as a comparison, Battier only scored a total of 14.

Danny Green, San Antonio Spurs: Shooting Guard

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    The San Antonio Spurs were at their best during the 2013 NBA Finals when Danny Green was knocking down shots from behind the arc.

    During the first five games of the series, Green connected on 25 three-pointers specifically, on his way to averaging 18 points heading into Game 6.

    He was essentially shut out in Game 6 and 7, however, finishing 2-of-11 from three and 2-of-19 from the field overall. Along the way, though, Green forced the Miami Heat to adjust to what he was doing. 

    Even though he struggled down the stretch, what Green ultimately accomplished is the goal of all chemistry players in the NBA. He played his role so well in knocking down three-pointers that the Heat were forced to game-plan defensively to stop him. 

    Unfortunately for the Spurs they did that, but not before Green created new opportunities for his teammates as a result that wouldn't have been available otherwise.

Avery Bradley, Boston Celtics: Shooting Guard

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    Avery Bradley was forced into point guard duty for the Boston Celtics when Rajon Rondo was injured last season.

    Though he competed without complaint, he is more suited offensively for the shooting guard role. Bradley was the starter alongside Rondo before the injury and moved out of position in an attempt to help his team fill a need.

    Where he has been a difference-maker consistently, though—regardless of position—is by using his ability to disrupt the rhythm of opposing guards on the defensive end of the floor.

    He led the Celtics in steals during the 2013 playoffs averaging 1.8 per game, while also averaging 1.7 during the regular season.

    Bradley is willing to get on the deck for a loose ball whenever required too, along with being able to move over and defend taller players on the perimeter.