NBA Role Models: Jason Terry, Brandon Bass Headline Top Bench Players
Stars are starting to align all over the NBA. Superstars seem to be teaming up (BOS, MIA, LAL) more than ever before in an effort to make a run at the Larry O'Brien Championship Trophy.
Any coach, player, or executive in the NBA will tell you that it takes more than two or three stars on achieve championship glory. Without a strong supporting cast, it is almost impossible for a team to earn a ring.
Here is a list of the top bench players in the NBA, all finally getting the credit they deserve.
Jason Terry (Dallas Mavericks)
Terry has taken over for Manu Ginobili as a player far too talented to be on the bench.
Nonetheless typically watched the opening tip from the sideline last year en route to the 2008-2009 Sixth Man of the Year Award.
As you can imagine from his nickname, one of Terry's biggest assets to any team is his speed. He has averaged 16.9 PPG since accepting the lead bench role for the Dallas Mavericks in 2007.
On top of that, Terry is considered a prolific three-point shooter and has averaged 4.8 APG over his career.
Brandon Bass (Orlando Magic)
Bass has found himself in the starting lineup after the major shakeup the Orlando Magic made in their two trades last week.
Coach Stan Van Gundy is still trying to find a starting lineup that works. This lineup may include Bass who has earned the spot with his quality of play coming off the bench so far this season.
Bass has made just eight starts in the first 33 games and has played a shade under 24 minutes per game. Even in limited minutes he has managed to accumulate 11 PPG and 5.3 RPG and establish himself down low alongside star center Dwight Howard.
Lamar Odom (Los Angeles Lakers)
Odom has long been criticized for not living up to the hype of his endless talent. However, over the past two years, following the trade for Pau Gasol, Odom has redefined himself in L.A. as the Lakers' premier player off the bench.
It is no coincidence that the Lakers have won titles in both of those years. Although he has started most of the teams games this year, Odom has regained his niche of coming off the bench with the return of Andrew Bynum.
The past two-and-a-half seasons, he is averaging 12.6 PPG and 9.2 RPG. This is even more impressive considering he has had to deal with the Kardashian family the entire time!
Glen Davis (Boston Celtics)
Davis came out of college as an undersized forward stuck between two positions. Do not tell that to Davis, who continues to improve each year, thanks in large part to his endless motor.
His talent has often been showcased with great playoff performances over the past three seasons. This year, he has put it all together and become a consistent option for the Celtics.
With zero starts to his name in 2010, Davis has still managed to average 12.1 PPG and 5.4 RPG, all while shooting a career-high 47 percent from the floor.
Jamal Crawford (Atlanta Hawks)
Some players, such as Crawford, seem to grow into their role as a bench player as they age.
At 30 years old, Crawford helped spark the Atlanta Hawks last season on his way to the 2009-2010 Sixth Man of the Year Award. He averaged 18.0 PPG and provide veteran leadership for the Hawks last season.
James Harden (Oklahoma City Thunder)
Harden has made this list far more for his talent than his actual production to date in his young NBA career. As the third overall pick in the 2009 NBA Draft,
Harden will likely soon be a mainstay in the Thunder's starting five for years to come. However, for the time being he is filling his role as a spark off the bench for this upstart Oklahoma City group.
Last season Harden recorded no starts but managed to score 9.9 PPG while averaging just 22 minutes. Harden, now 21, has seen both his points and minutes climb this year. In particular he is averaging 14.9 PPG over his past nine contests.