Every kid, whether they're in elementary, high school or college, putting up shots in his driveway in the middle of the afternoon or late at night, or in the gym after practice, has envisioned some form of the following circumstance.
Down by one. Five seconds left. Takes the dribble, crosses over, pulls up, lets it go for the win...GOOD!!!
Anybody who has ever played basketball went through that scenario at some point in their lives. I used to routinely practice a jumper from the elbow on a nine-foot hoop in a heavily slanted driveway when I was nine years old.
It's a feeling that every player, regardless of age, height, build, talent, etc., wants: the euphoria and joy that comes from a last-second shot when all eyes are on you.
As great of a dream as it is, it's just that—a dream.
Very few get to realize it, especially on a stage as grand as the NBA. Most kids want to be the next Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant or LeBron James because they're the stars.
You don't hear many youngsters pining to be the next Robert Horry, Michael Cooper, Derek Fisher, Ron Harper or Steve Kerr, even though all of those guys have at least five rings.
When Seth Davis of Sports Illustrated pegged Ohio State forward Dave Lighty as the captain of his All-Glue Team in 2010 (for college basketball), the junior had some interesting quotes.
"People say the NBA is made up of 10 percent superstars and 90 percent role players, so if you want to make it in the NBA, you have a better chance of being role player. It's all about winning, not about individual accolades.
"You can't be selfish and win games. I guess a lot of players come out of high school and want to say it's all on me, it's my ball, but I tried to come in with the mindset to help my team win."
That's not to say all superstars or players coming out of high school are selfish and concerned with only their own play (far from it).
But Lighty's correct in the sense that not everyone can be a star and the players that realize this and carve out their niche as specialists in other areas have a much better chance of succeeding at the professional level.
In the above-mentioned article, Davis defines the qualities of what makes a "glue guy":
"A Glue Guy is hard to define but easy to spot. You certainly won't pick him out by reading the stat sheet. He's the guy who sets screens, dives for loose balls and makes the extra pass.
He embraces the chance to defend the opponent's best player and doesn't complain that he's not getting enough shots. He is a leader and a good teammate. He has an unusual combination of skills, like a big guy who can shoot or a guard who gets rebounds.
And lest you think that tabbing someone a Glue Guy is damning him with faint praise, he also demonstrates at times that he could be a featured performer if called upon. Why does he suppress those abilities? Because that's what his team needs, and it's a Glue Guy's job to hold everything together."
Davis writes about college hoops but these features can easily be translated to the NBA (the name Robert Horry should have been jumping off the page when reading his quote).
And it makes sense that most of the league's best teams (i.e. Los Angeles, Boston, Chicago) each have guys who fit the glue guy description to a tee.
Keeping the qualities of a glue guy in mind, let's go through each team and give credit to the guys that go above and beyond their roles to hold their respective teams together.