When it comes to winning a championship in professional team sports, you need more than just your superstars to help get the job done.
This is especially true in the NBA, where the playoffs seem more like a second regular season than a post-season.
During the seemingly never-ending playoffs, the Kobe Bryants and Paul Pierces of the world can only do so much to help their teams before they will need help from their supporting cast.
Whether it’s a guy coming off the bench to give the starters a rest, or a starter whose main purpose is to focus on a specific aspect of the game, these players can turn the tide of an entire series in their teams favor.
This is especially true when the two squads are as evenly matched as it would appear that the Lakers and Celtics are.
A lot of times, the brilliance of these players doesn’t show up in the box scores, but if you asked anyone who watched the game, they will tell you how important the role player was to their team’s success.
Look no further than Trevor Ariza’s performance in the 2009 NBA finals. He was an example of a role player who stepped up when it mattered most and helped his team win a title.
Of course the superstars need to play well, and if Kobe Bryant or Paul Pierce doesn’t show up for the Finals, it would be hard to imagine either of their teams winning the title.
At the same time, these players can’t do it alone and they will certainly need the help of their supporting casts if they want to hoist the Larry O’Brien Trophy in a couple of days.
As the Lakers and Celtics are about to meet for the 12th time in the NBA Finals, let’s take a look at the guys whose play could potentially be the difference in the series, despite their not being the focal points of their team.