Do you remember the Lakers vs. Bulls in the 1991 Finals. The beginning of the Bulls dynasty and first three-peat.
What do you find most memorable about the series, is it the Magic vs. Michael match-up? Jordan switching hands? Was it Scottie Pippen coming into his own?
For me it was John Paxson with a 8-8 shooting performance in Game Two, and 10 points in the last four minutes of the fourth quarter in Game Five. It was like a coming out party for this clutch performer.
For the next two championships, he was as a big a part as Pippen, Jordan, or Grant. He made it hard to double any of them, and stretched the court. In the big moments he stepped up, burying jumper after jumper again the Blazers, and making the big three against the Suns.
I loved the Bulls and John Paxson was my favorite player on the team.
In professional team sports, everyone pays attention to the stars. When teams play well, or poorly, the star is the one put in the spotlight. But in the post season, there are guys who step up that no one thinks about. It happens in every team sport. Guys who change the game, not making the big money, not doing the commercials, and often overlooked. Yesterday the All-NBA teams were released, filled with big names and big time players. Today I want to give my All-Role player team for the NBA 2008 playoffs so far. Win or loose these players stepped it up and deserve some kudos's.
All-Role Play Team
C- Tyson Chandler- This guy has played D, protected the paint , and rebounded. He is currently giving super star Tim Duncan all he can handle.
F- Lois Scola- Hustle, Hustle, and more Hustle. Battled a bigger Jazz frontcourt, all series long. His hard nosed style gave the Rockets and T-Mac a shot.
F-Reggie Evans- With the other A.I., Miller, and Sammy not always showing up, Evans did. Stepped up his scoring, and didn't back down from Detroits front line.
G-Rafer Alston- He didn't play the entire series, but when he played, the Rockets were a very different team. His shooting and running of the offense were stellar.
G-Ronnie Brewer- His scoring was a bonus, his harassment of T-Mac was priceless. Contested every shot, and wore out T-Mac who often had nothing left in the 4th.
C- Brendan Haywood- Usually this is the guy who gets the blame, but it wasn't his fault this year. He played D, and dropped in some much needed scoring.
C- Kendrick Perkins- He scores in the post, rebounds, blocks shots, and plays good team defense. The young center has done everything Doc Rivers could ask for.
F-Carl Landry-Didn't have the stats, but his will, and nose for the ball propelled the Rockets back into the series. His court awareness was great on both ends.
F- Jason Kapono- Became the Raptors most consistent scorer, and hit some big time jumpers. Jason was one of the few true bright spots for the Raptors.
F- Leon Powe- This guy is always by the basket with a key offensive board or put back. His effort is always there, and often he drops double figures out of nowhere.
F- Brendan Bass- While most of the Mav's never showed up for this series, Bass upped his numbers across the board. The young journeyman may have a home.
G/F- Bruce Bowen- His corner jumper wasn't going, but he gave Steve Nash fits. This guy has given role players hope. Bowen couldn't stop Paul, but watch out Peja.
G/F- Julian Wright- This guy does a little of everything. With his quickness, and long arms, he can guard three positions. Remind you of the guy above.
G- Jannero Pargo- You know CP3, but the other lighting quick point guard can play too. Often paired with Paul, his shooting and quickness are hard to matchup.
G-Rajon Rondo- The guy who was supposed to be the chink in the armor. His steals, drives, and floor leadership continue to make believers out of doubters.
F-James Posey- Yet another Celtic. The Big Three get the publicity, but these guys get it done. This guy plays D, provides a toughness, and makes every big three.
So while you watch the playoffs, don't forget the guys who step it up. The stars will not be forgotten, but these guys probably will. The role players will often make or break a team, and its quest to win.
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