The NBA's Best Supporting Ballers: The Non Star All-Stars
We all know the top leading men in the NBA—Kobe, Lebron, KG, D-Wade, Timmy, Shaq, Dwight, Melo, Dirk, CP3, Nash and more.
These stars get most of the attention and they deserve it.
But these great players don’t do it all by themselves.
So, like at the Oscars where they acknowledge the best supporting actors, I decided to pay my respects to my favorite supporting role players.
These guys will probably never make the Hall of Fame and it is unlikely they will make any All-Star games but the coaches, players, GM’s and hard core fans all know how valuable these players are.
The following list includes a wide range of players. Some of them are young and still developing, a few are in their prime and some are at the end of their decorated NBA career.
Take a look at my list of the NBA’s Top 10 Best Supporting Players.
#10) Bruce Bowen
Bowen is getting a little long in the tooth, but I respect his dedication to defense that made him the top perimeter defender of his era.
Bowen is one of those guys that the stat sheet doesn’t tell the whole story.
To opposing teams and players Bowen has been labeled a dirty player and as a fan I’ve seem him deploy his questionable tactics against my team many times.
If Bowen is on your team you love him.
He’s a throwback to the 80’s, and I like how he plays mind games and gets under his opponents' skin.
In addition to his dogged defense he is almost automatic if you leave him open for the corner three, and he’s a proven winner.
#9) Raja Bell
Raja Bell is like a feisty Bruce Bowen with more offense.
He will effectively guard the best shooting guards in the league on a nightly basis and still be productive offensively.
Bell is another one of those guys you love to hate if you are going up against, him but you love him if he’s on your team.
#8) Matt Harpring
Matt Harpring is on the down side of his career and retirement looms near, but I had to put him on this list because he is so fun for me to watch.
Harpring is a brute. He looks as if he would have been a great linebacker or fullback in football or the tough boxer with the great chin that will take two of your punches to get off one of his own.
The old saying of “that’s a guy you’d want in your fox hole” pretty much sums up Matt Harpring.
At his best he was close to All-Star level good, averaging around 18 ppg and 7 rbg in the 2002-03 season.
Now he is playing limited minutes but he still brings his hardhat and lunch bucket to the arena.
#7) Trevor Ariza
Trevor is on his way to the Houston Rockets, after a breakout season in which he helped the Lakers win the NBA championship.
Ariza has proven to be one of the better shut down defenders in the NBA and has shown the ability to take and make big shots from the perimeter.
Ariza also is a great slasher who attacks the rim and finishes as well as anyone in the game.
Ariza is the type of player that if he only made three shots in a particular game they would seem to come at key moments.
He can help win games without being the focal point of the offense.
While I don’t think Ariza has any All-Star games in his future he is still improving and will be expected to do more in Houston.
#6) David Lee
Everyday he’s hustling!
David Lee goes hard in the paint for rebounds and is a double double guy that you can depend on.
Lee always brings high intensity and can produce points without a coach running plays for him.
Lee will probably never make an All Star team, but I don’t think he’s reached his peak yet.
#5) Luis Scola
A tough gritty player from Argentina, Luis Scola has great hands. He can score in the post, rebound and defend.
Scola is a legit starting power forward, he uses great instincts and proper positioning to defend bigger more athletic players.
He has good leadership qualities on the floor and is the type of player you want to go to battle with.
He is a double double type player that is still improving.
#4) James Posey
James Posey is a versatile athlete who can shoot from the perimeter or finish at the rim. And he frequently defends the best player on the other team.
He’s a great sixth man and extremely clutch.
Posey has been a key contributor to two championship teams and brings toughness and swagger to whatever team he is on.
I love a player that thrives in the big moments and James Posey is that type of player.
#3) Derek Fisher
Derek Fisher is a "PROFESSIONAL" basketball player. He's never been an All-Star but Fisher has become the consummate teammate.
Fisher plays hard, trains hard and is truly a coach on the floor.
Watching Fish play is like watching an instructor at basketball camp show you the right way to play the game. If you want to know how to take a charge, how to slide your feet and position yourself and beat your man to the spot then watch Fish.
Watch him shoot free throws or three pointers and you can see the amount of time he’s put in practicing his shot.
He is a point guard and a role player but he has supreme confidence to take and make big shots in big games and is a proven champion.
Fisher is a role model on and off the court for young players in the league and kids who aspire to be in the league.
This is a man who has maximized his gifts through his own hard work, grit and attention to detail. He could be one of the league's next great coaches.
#2) Shane Battier
Shane Battier—or Mr. Clean as I like to call him—is a natural team leader with a wholesome, boy scout, do-things-the-right-way image.
Shane was to college basketball what Tim Tebow is to college football (although not quite as dominant). Both were winners. Both were the best player in the nation. And both had a lot of haters.
But don’t mistake Shane’s kindness for weakness. He plays every play with maximum effort and focus and backs down to no one.
Battier will defend your best player, he will take the big shot if given the opportunity and he wants to be in those situations.
Battier is the type of player that stats don’t tell the whole story. He makes the right plays, be it a cut or setting the right pick or having the right spacing for a teammate to score.
When defending Kobe Bryant in the playoffs, even when he would get beat he made Kobe work.
And he never changed his demeanor.
Bloodied or battered Battier keeps on fighting.
#1) Tayshaun Prince
The Fresh Prince can do it all. He is definitely the type of guy you want on your team.
Tayshaun will guard the best player on the opposing team, get you that important block or steal or hit a big shot.
He has the respect of his peers and coaches so much so he was added to the gold medal winning "Redeem Team."
Coaches love him because his size and athleticism allows him to defend multiple positions.
He is wiry strong and never seems to let his emotions get the best of him.
I don’t know if Prince will ever make an All-Star team, but in my opinion he’s more important to his team than a few perennial All Stars are to theirs.
Like a lot of the other players on this list Tayshaun Prince is a winner.
So that's my list of my favorite Supporting Players. Who did I forget? Or tell me if you agree or disagree.
Leave a post let me know what you think.