NBA All-Grit Team: Joakim Noah and 12 Players Not Afraid to Get Their Nose Dirty
The following 12 players will not always have the most beautiful box scores, the most jersey sales or highlights on ESPN. Heck, some of the more casual fans may not even know who some of them are. They often do the little things that go unnoticed at the end of the night but contribute to their team's success all the same.
These players often have to make up for their lack of natural ability with hard work. Drawing charges, boxing out, diving for loose balls, tough defense and timely shooting are some of the ways these gritty players earn their keep.
So, here are the five starters by position and the seven reserve players on the 2011 All-Grit team.
Derek Fisher: Los Angeles Lakers, Starting Point Guard
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Fisher is the heart and soul of the Lakers. Naturally, his play has dipped a little bit with age, but he offers a toughness the Lakers sorely need sometimes. Not to mention, his playoff heroics are legendary in Los Angeles.
James Posey: Indiana Pacers, Starting Guard
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Posey is one of the true hard hat guys in the NBA. He plays tought defense, hustles, and much like Derek Fisher, has a knack for hitting big shots in big games. He has played huge roles on two championship teams in Miami and Boston.
Joakim Noah: Chicago Bulls, Starting Forward
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Quite possibly the best blue collar guy in the league, Noah is rarely outworked, Sure, he is not the biggest or the most talented, but this guy brings the kind of energy most teams would kill to have. He is the closest thing we have seen to Dennis Rodman since the worm was flourishing in Chicago.
Luis Scola: Houston Rockets, Starting Forward
Possibly the most underrated player in the NBA, Scola often matches his crafty offensive skills with grittiness and energy. The Rockets have been able to keep their head above water the last couple of seasons without Yao Ming, thanks to Luis Scola.
Anderson Varejao: Cleveland Cavaliers, Starting Center
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Things in Cleveland turned even worse this week when news broke that Varejao would miss the rest of the season with an ankle injury. Varejao rebounds, plays defense and goes after loose balls with reckless abandonment. With King James in Miami, Varejao is easily the Cavs best player.
Goran Dragic: Phoenix Suns, Reserve Guard
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Don't let Dragic's size fool you, he is not afraid to mix it up with some of the baddest players in the league. Just this past week he got in Kenyon Martin's grill without hesitation. Not to mention, he has enough natural talent to be a legitimate heir apparent to Steve Nash.
Francisco Garcia: Sacramento Kings, Reserve Guard
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Sure, everyone knows the Kings are not very good. However, Garcia is one of the true underrated energy guys in the league. He plays hard every night and is crucial to Sacramento's rebuilding process.
Glenn Davis: Boston Celtics, Reserve Forward
Davis has emerged as possibly the best sixth man in the league. Davis has a knack for outplaying bigger players in the paint and has a consistent 15-foot jumper. If Davis continues his rugged play, the Celtics have a good shot to return to the Finals this season.
Dejuan Blair: San Antonio Spurs, Reserve Forward
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Blair's tough play has made up for the drop we have seen in Tim Duncan's play the last couple of seasons in San Antonio. Blair is a perfect energy player in the Spurs system. In only his second year, Blair has made a name for himself doing the dirty work down low.
Nick Collison: Oklahoma City Thunder, Reserve Forward
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Collison is the longest tenured member of the franchise, dating back to the Seattle days. Collison has mastered the art of taking a charge in the lane. He is often overshadowed by his teammates, but Collison is just as important to the Thunder as anyone.
Ronny Turiaf: New York Knicks, Reserve Forward
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Since coming into the league with the Lakers, Turiaf has always been about hustle and energy. Any team would love to have a player like Turiaf coming off their bench.
Lou Amundson: Golden State Warriors, Reserve Forward
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Amundson was a crucial part of the Suns' high-energy second unit last season that nearly made the NBA Finals. Amundson has been continuing his old ways this season as a member of the Warriors.