NBA Power Rankings: Lamar Odom and the Best Sixth Men in Basketball

Pat MarrujoContributor IMarch 2, 2011

NBA Power Rankings: Lamar Odom and the Best Sixth Men in Basketball

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    LOS ANGELES, CA - OCTOBER 26:  Lamar Odom #7 of the Los Angeles Lakers looks on against the Houston Rockets during their opening night game at Staples Center on October 26, 2010 in Los Angeles, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agr
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    The sixth man might be the most difficult role on an NBA team. They are expected to produce like a starter despite coming off the bench.

    These players must be versatile, gritty and have the ability to “turn it on” right away. Some players don’t like this spot, but it can be one of the most important jobs in the league.

    In this list I have compiled a power ranking of the best sixth man from each NBA team. All teams will be represented with one player, and then will be ranked against the rest of the league's sixth men.

    This list is based on how the player is doing this season as a sixth man. Some of the players have started at sometime in the season, but all of the players on this list have come of the bench for the majority of the season.

    The following are the best sixth men from each NBA team.

30. Chicago Bulls: Ronnie Brewer

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    CHICAGO, IL - JANUARY 20: Ronnie Brewer #11 of the Chicago Bulls shoots over Brendan Haywood #33 of the Dallas Mavericks at the United Center on January 20, 2011 in Chicago, Illinois. The Bulls defeated the Mavericks 82-77. NOTE TO USER: User expressly ac
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    For most of his career Brewer has been used to being in the starting line-up.

    In his first full season coming off the bench, Brewer has not made the transition very well. He averages just 6.5 points per game and 3.4 rebounds per game in 23 minutes per night.

    Brewer plays solid defense, but more offense should be expected from his position. The Bulls surprised many when they did not trade for a shooting guard, thus leaving Brewer to play a lot of minutes off the bench.

    This spot could have also been given to swingman Kyle Korver, but I feel Brewer contributes more. Korver is a straight sharp shooter, while Brewer provides more with his defense and rebounding.

29. Miami Heat: Mario Chalmers

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    MIAMI, FL - FEBRUARY 08: Mario Chalmers #15 of the Miami Heat calls a play during a game against the Indiana Pacers at American Airlines Arena on February 8, 2011 in Miami, Florida. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading
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    Miami is the most top-heavy team in the NBA, as a result, their bench suffers. Udonis Haslem is probably their best bench player, but he has only managed to play 12 games this season. 

    This leaves Mario Chalmers to be the Heat sixth man.

    Chalmers is a decent backup point guard. He averages 6.7 points per game and 2.3 assists per game. However, Chalmers’s most impressive statistic is the 91.8 percent free throw percentage.

    Chalmers has shown promise that he can be a very good point guard in this league, but has not proven that he can run an offense yet. The bench is a good place for him right now. It gives him a chance to learn and improve.

28. Washington Wizards: Al Thornton

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    WASHINGTON, DC - DECEMBER 18:  Al Thornton #14 of the Washington Wizards  shoots over Carlos Arroyo #8 of the Miami Heat at the Verizon Center on December 18, 2010 in Washington, DC. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloadin
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    Thornton is a decent forward who can give you good minutes.

    Although, the 2010/2011 season has been his worst so far as a professional. In 21.8 minutes per game, Thornton is averaging just eight points per game and 3.1 rebounds per game, both career lows.

    Maybe it is only fitting that one of the worst teams in the NBA have one of the worst sixth men in the NBA.

    Thornton is different than many of the others on the lower part of this list because he has been a very productive player in the past. The skill is there, he is just not putting his game together right now.

27. New Orleans Hornets: Willie Green

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    OAKLAND, CA - JANUARY 26:  Willie Green #33 of the New Orleans Hornets drives to the basket against the Golden State Warriors at Oracle Arena on January 26, 2011 in Oakland, California.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downlo
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    The Hornets just traded their old sixth man, Marcus Thornton, for a new one, Carl Landry.

    Landry would be given then Hornets spot on this list if he had more time to prove himself, but I don’t believe two games is enough.

    That leaves Willie Green to be named the Hornets sixth man. His 2010/2011 season is pretty similar to his career average. He is averaging 8.5 points per game and 2.2 rebounds per game.

26. Houston Rockets: Chase Budinger

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    BOSTON, MA - JANUARY 10:  Chase Budinger #10 of the Houston Rockets celebrates his three point shot in the first half against the Boston Celtics on January 10, 2011 at the TD Garden in Boston, Massachusetts.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and
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    Budinger has been a very consistent player for the Rockets in both of his NBA seasons. He shoots a high percentage, rebounds well for his size and is pretty consistent off the bench.

    He averages 8.5 points per game and 3.5 rebounds per game this season for the Rockets.

    The reason he is so low on this list is that Budinger never really has spectacular days. He is fairly average every night, but never seems to breakout. A true sixth man is looked at for a 20 point game here and there.

    Budinger is never really the go-to guy on the court.

25. Los Angeles Clippers: Randy Foye

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    CHICAGO - JANUARY 15: Randy Foye #15 of the Washington Wizards lays on the floor after turning over the ball against the Chicago Bulls at the United Center on January 15, 2010 in Chicago, Illinois. The Bulls defeated the Wizards 121-119 in double overtime
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    Early in his career, Randy Foye looked like he had the potential to be one of the great guards in the league. Although since his rookie season, Foye has not really improved.

    Foye always averages around ten points per game and two or three assists, but never has outstanding numbers. The 2010/2011 season has been just as average as in recent years for Foye.

    His team, the Clippers, has one of the best young cores in Blake Griffin and Eric Gordon. If they want to improve and become real contenders, they will need to work on their sub-par bench.

24. Golden State Warriors: Reggie Williams

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    OAKLAND, CA - NOVEMBER 19:  Reggie Williams #55  of the Golden State Warriors in action against the New York Knicks at Oracle Arena on November 19, 2010 in Oakland, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and
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    Williams is a true NBA journeyman.

    He was undrafted out of college and played for a French team before playing professionally in the US. Then last season he played in the D-league with Sioux Falls, until the Warriors eventually signed him to a 10-day contract.

    He then played good enough to deserve a contract for the rest of the season, only to be re-signed for the 2010/2011 season.

    He has been solid for the Warriors ever since and is their strongest player coming off the bench. This season he is just under 10 points per game 2.6 rebounds per game as well.

    The Warriors might have the worst bench in the NBA. Williams is the only good consistent player Golden State has on the second unit.

23. Portland Trail Blazers: Rudy Fernandez

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    PORTLAND, OR - JANUARY 09: Rudy Fernandez #5 of the Portland Trail Blazers pulls up for a shot against the Miami Heat during a game on January 9, 2011 at the Rose Garden Arena in Portland, Oregon. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that,
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    Fernandez is a solid bench player because he can get hot and carry a team for a few minutes every game. However, he can also go ice cold and miss shot after shot any given night.

    This season Fernandez is averaging 9.1 points per game, 2.4 rebounds per game and 2.4 assists per game. These numbers are solid for a bench player, but not up to par for an NBA sixth man.

    Although Fernandez will never be as great of a player as he was in Europe, he is still a decent NBA talent.

22. New York Knicks: Toney Douglas

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    NEW YORK, NY - FEBRUARY 23: Toney Douglas #23 of the New York Knicks goes up for a basket against  the Milwaukee Bucks at Madison Square Garden on February 23, 2011 in New York City. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloadin
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    In his second season, Douglas is a solid bench combo guard. He can score on you in many different ways and is good at getting steals.

    Although Douglas has struggled at being a true point guard, he still is a positive contributor to his team.

    He averages 9.1 points per game, just under three rebounds per game and 2.3 assists per game. However, his field goal and three-point percentages are both down from a season ago.

    The Knicks need players to fill their bench. Douglas is not good enough to be a team's sixth man. If the Knicks want to compete for a championship, they need to improve their bench.

21. Minnesota Timberwolves: Martell Webster

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    PHOENIX - DECEMBER 15:  Martell Webster #5 of the Minnesota Timberwolves during the NBA game against the Phoenix Suns at US Airways Center on December 15, 2010 in Phoenix, Arizona. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading
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    Martell Webster has only played 28 games for the Timberwolves thus far, but he has already proven he is the best bench player on the team.

    He averages 10.5 points per game and 3.3 rebounds per game. He is shooting a career best 42.7 percent from the field and is a solid three-point shooter.

    Webster’s problem is that he is very inconsistent. He can put of 20 one night and follow it up with a two point performance the next.

20. Indiana Pacers: Brandon Rush

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    PHOENIX - DECEMBER 03:  Brandon Rush #25 of the Indiana Pacers puts up a shot during the NBA game against the Phoenix Suns at US Airways Center on December 3, 2010 in Phoenix, Arizona. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by download
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    Like Webster, Rush also has a problem with consistency. At times Rush can be a team’s top scorer, while other times he disappears.

    In the 2010/2011 season, Rush is averaging 10.2 points per game, 3.6 rebounds per game and is shooting 42 percent from beyond the arch.

    Rush is a dead-eye from deep, but he hasn’t developed a complete offensive game yet. He has the potential to become a good starter someday, but for now he is just a mediocre sixth man.

19. Sacramento Kings: Omri Casspi

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    DALLAS, TX - FEBRUARY 16:  Forward Omri Casspi #18 of the Sacramento Kings makes the slam dunk against the Dallas Mavericks at American Airlines Center on February 16, 2011 in Dallas, Texas.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by d
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    Casspi is a solid and versatile bench player for the Kings. He usually gives you around 10 points and five rebounds off the pine.

    What makes Casspi so good is that he can guard a number of players. He stands 6’9” which allows him to guard most forwards. He also has the quickness to stay with most NBA guards.

    Casspi has been starting recently, but for most of the season has been the Kings sixth man.

18. New Jersey Nets: Sasha Vujacic

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    LOS ANGELES, CA - JANUARY 14:  Sasha Vujacic #20 of the New Jersey Nets waves to the crowd as he enters the game in his first return since being traded by the Los Angeles Lakers at Staples Center on January 14, 2011 in Los Angeles, California.  NOTE TO US
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    Vujacic is playing 27 minutes per game off the bench for the Nets, the most playing time he has received in his career.

    He has taken advantage of this extra time and put up the best numbers of his career thus far. He averages 10.7 points per game, 3.3 rebounds per game and 2.1 assists per game.

    Vujacic has decent numbers, but he doesn’t bring too much to his team. He would be a solid seventh of eighth man. He lacks the toughness and consistency to be a great sixth man.

17. Memphis Grizzlies: O.J. Mayo

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    PHOENIX - NOVEMBER 05:  O.J. Mayo #32 of the Memphis Grizzlies puts up a shot during the NBA game against the Phoenix Suns at US Airways Center on November 5, 2010 in Phoenix, Arizona. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by download
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    Mayo is arguably the most underachieving player in the NBA today. He is averaging just under 12 points per game and two assists per game.

    Someone that possesses the talent of Mayo should be averaging 20 per game and starting.

    After showing such promise early in his career, Mayo has actually become less effective. Maybe a change of scenery would be good for Mayo. He is too talented to be a below average sixth man for an average West team.

16. Oklahoma City Thunder: James Harden

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    LOS ANGELES, CA - FEBRUARY 18:  James Harden #13 of the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Sophomore Team dunks the ball in the second half during the T-Mobile Rookie Challenge and Youth Jam at Staples Center on February 18, 2011 in Los Angeles, California.  (
    Pool/Getty Images

    Fear the Beard!

    James Harden is one of the many promising young players on the Oklahoma City Thunder. He shoots the ball well from the outside, is tough to stop on the drive and plays unrelenting defense.

    This season he is averaging 10.7 points per game, 3.2 rebounds per game and two assists per game. He also provides a lot of toughness for a team that is often criticized of lacking it.

    Probably the highlight of Harden’s career thus far has been his dunk over Cleveland forward J.J. Hickson. Harden wasn’t a high-flyer when he came into the league, but his reputation has changed ever since this vicious slam.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yze5SIBrwbk

15. San Antonio Spurs: George Hill

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    OAKLAND, CA - JANUARY 24:  George Hill #3 of the San Antonio Spurs in action against the Golden State Warriors at Oracle Arena on January 24, 2011 in Oakland, California.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or us
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    George Hill is a true Spurs player.

    He plays tough, strong and has a focus on his defense. But don’t think that Hill is a slouch on the offensive end just because he plays defense.

    Hill is one of the best young combo guards in the NBA and does a great job backing up Tony Parker at point guard.  

    This season Hill is averaging 11 points per game, along with three rebounds and 2.4 assists per game.

14. Toronto Raptors: Leandro Barbosa

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    BOSTON, MA - JANUARY 07:  Ray Allen #20 of the Boston Celtics passes the ball as Leandro Barbosa #20 of the Toronto Raptors defends on January 7, 2011 at the TD Garden in Boston, Massachusetts. The Celtics defeated the Raptors 122-102. NOTE TO USER: User
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    It is hard to believe that the 2007 sixth man of the year winner is only 14th on this list. However, Barbosa’s numbers have gradually declined since that memorable season he had with Phoenix.

    Barbosa is averaging 12.7 points per game and 2.2 points per game coming off the bench for the Raptors this season.

    He was playing his best basketball of the season in late December/early January, but an injury slowed him down. He has not been quite as great since his return, but has plenty of time to turn around his season.

13. Orlando Magic: Ryan Anderson

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    ORLANDO, FL - NOVEMBER 03:  Ryan Anderson #33 of the Orlando Magic attempts a shot over Anthony Tolliver #44 of the Minnesota Timberwolves during the game at Amway Arena on November 3, 2010 in Orlando, Florida.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges a
    Sam Greenwood/Getty Images

    Anderson is one of the best kept secrets in the league this year. This 6’10” forward is averaging 10.6 points per game, 5.1 rebounds per game and has a three-point shooting percentage of 39 percent.

    Anderson is very valuable to the Magic because he is the only real big man they have behind starters Dwight Howard and Brandon Bass.

    He will be key in Orlando’s playoff run. If they want to be successful against the other teams in the east, they will need him to rebound and shoot well off the bench.

12. Denver Nuggets: J.R. Smith

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    DENVER, CO - FEBRUARY 28:  J.R. Smith #5 of the Denver Nuggets puts up a shot between Joe Johnson #2 and Jamal Crawford #11 of the Atlanta Hawks during NBA action at the Pepsi Center on February 28, 2011 in Denver, Colorado. The Nuggets deafeated the Hawk
    Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

    J.R. Smith is your typical offensive spark, sixth man type player. He is phenomenally talented and has the ability to score 25 points any given night.

    This season Smith is averaging 11.4 points per game and 4.1 rebounds per game off the bench for the Nuggets.

    He is a good three-point shooter and is known for having a highlight reel dunk every once in a while.

    If the Nuggets want to continue their success after the departure of Carmelo Anthony and Chauncey Billups, Smith will have to take on a bigger role offensively. He has the ability to be a big scorer.

    Now he needs to execute.

11. Detroit Pistons: Ben Gordon

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    AUBURN HILLS, MI - FEBRUARY 11: Ben Gordon #7 of the Detroit Pistons drives to the basket while playing the Miami Heat at The Palace of Auburn Hills on February 11, 2011 in Auburn Hills, Michigan. Miami won the game 106-92.  (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty
    Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

    Earlier in his career, Gordon was the go-to-guy for the Chicago Bulls. Since that time he has been traded to Detroit and now has to deal with many veterans on his own team not showing up for practice.

    Despite dealing with all of that, Gordon has been a solid player off the bench for the Pistons. He is averaging 12.8 points per game along with 2.2 assists per game.

    Due to the veteran mutiny and other things, Gordon seems to be finding himself in the starting lineup more often now. He is the best scorer on the Pistons roster, he needs to get more playing time.

10. Charlotte Bobcats: Tyrus Thomas

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    CHARLOTTE, NC - DECEMBER 07:  Tyrus Thomas #12 of the Charlotte Bobcats reacts to scoring against the Denver Nuggets during their game at Time Warner Cable Arena on December 7, 2010 in Charlotte, North Carolina.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges
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    Thomas has not played since January 18th due to injury, but his body of work before his injury was impressive enough to give him the 10th spot in this list.

    Thomas averages 11 points per game and just under six rebounds per game. He is very talented and is one of the most underrated dunkers in the league.

    He was the fourth overall pick in 2006 and has underachieved since then. He might not be the superstar he was expected to be, but Thomas is a very consistent and an impressive sixth man.

9. Utah Jazz: C.J. Miles

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    DALLAS, TX - FEBRUARY 23:  Forward C.J. Miles #34 of the Utah Jazz takes a shot against Brian Cardinal #35 of the Dallas Mavericks at American Airlines Center on February 23, 2011 in Dallas, Texas.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees tha
    Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

    Miles has improved every season since he was drafted by the Utah Jazz in 2005. Miles is currently having the best season of his career despite coming off the bench.

    He averages 12.2 points per game and 3.2 rebounds per game as the sixth man in Utah.

    It is hard to believe that this five year veteran is still only 23-years-old with plenty of room to improve. He has only started five games this season, but has been a full-time starter in the past.

    Miles will need to put up big numbers to help keep the Jazz in playoff contention.

8. Boston Celtics: Glen Davis

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    LOS ANGELES, CA - FEBRUARY 26:  Glen Davis #11 of the Boston Celtics shoots over Blake Griffin #32 of the Los Angeles Clippers at Staples Center on February 26, 2011  in Los Angeles, California.  The Celtics won 99-92.   NOTE TO USER: User expressly ackno
    Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

    The portly power forward is one of the fan favorites in Boston and is commonly known by his nickname, “Big Baby.” Davis isn’t just known solely for his physique or his nickname, but he is one of the best back-up big men in the NBA.  

    Davis provides toughness and energy off the bench for the Celtics. He averages 11.7 points per game and 5.2 rebounds per game.

    Offensively Davis is not a big high-flyer or a long distance shooter. He gets the job done by knocking down the mid-range jumper and uses his size to get high percentage looks.

7. Milwaukee Bucks: Corey Maggette

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    NEW YORK, NY - FEBRUARY 23: Corey Maggette #5 of the Milwaukee Bucks dribbles the ball against the New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden on February 23, 2011 in New York City. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading an
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    For most of his career, Maggette has been one of the most underrated players in the NBA and, unfortunately, has had trouble staying healthy. Although this season he may have found a new role that suits him well.

    With the second unit Maggette averages 13.2 points per game and four rebounds. He has been very consistent the entire season for the Bucks.

    Maggette has the ability to lead a team in scoring and rarely has off nights. He has been one of the very few bright spots for the Bucks this season. 

6. Philadelphia 76ers: Lou Williams

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    NEW YORK, NY - FEBRUARY 06:  Louis Williams #23 of the Philadelphia 76ers shoots a free throw against the New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden on February 6, 2011 in New York City. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by download
    Chris Trotman/Getty Images

    It was difficult to choose whether to give this spot to Lou Williams or Thaddeus Young. I chose Williams because he has eclipsed the 20 point mark nine times this season coming off the bench.

    Williams is one of the best backup point guards in the league. He averages 13.6 points per game along with 3.4 assists per game.

    Williams is a very solid young point guard that has shown a lot of promise in his five career. He has the talent to be a good starter on a team someday.

5. Phoenix Suns: Marcin Gortat

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    PHOENIX, AZ - FEBRUARY 13:  Marcin Gortat #4 of the Phoenix Suns attempts a shot against the Sacramento Kings during the NBA game at US Airways Center on February 13, 2011 in Phoenix, Arizona. The Kings defeated the Suns 113-108.  NOTE TO USER: User expre
    Christian Petersen/Getty Images

    Gortat is the most valuable player on the Suns not named Steve Nash. He is by far their best rebounder, inside defender and he has been impressive offensively since arriving in the valley.

    He is currently averaging 11.2 points per game with 8.3 rebounds per game for the Suns. Since being acquired by Phoenix he has recorded a total of 11 double-doubles.

    If the Suns have any hope in making the playoffs, they will need Gortat to play as well as he has been. He is probably the best center the Suns have had in the Steve Nash era.

4. Cleveland Cavaliers: Ramon Sessions

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    MIAMI, FL - JANUARY 31: Ramon Sessions #3 of the Cleveland Cavaliers takes a shot during a game against the Miami Heat  at American Airlines Arena on January 31, 2011 in Miami, Florida. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloa
    Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

    Sessions has started 24 games this season, but most of his work has been coming off the bench. He is currently averaging 12.7 points per game, 3.1 rebounds per game and 5.5 assists per game.

    Last month Sessions has played as well as any guard in the NBA. He has averaged 19.9 points per game and 8.8 assists per game in February.

    If Sessions can keep this up, he will be a good candidate to win the NBA’s most improved player award this season.

3. Atlanta Hawks: Jamal Crawford

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    MIAMI, FL - JANUARY 18:  Jamal Crawford #11 of the Atlanta Hawks drives to the lane during a game against the Miami Heat at American Airlines Arena on January 18, 2011 in Miami, Florida. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downlo
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    Jamal Crawford is the reigning sixth man of the year award winner, and he has a chance to win another this season.

    The 30-year-old guard is one of the most important players on the Hawks. He averages 15.1 points per game and 3.2 assists per game.

    Crawford has the offensive ability to take over games. He is also one of the Hawks best big shot takers. He is very clutch and can hit the big shot at any time.

2. Dallas Mavericks: Jason Terry

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    DALLAS, TX - JANUARY 04:  Guard Jason Terry #31 of the Dallas Mavericks reacts  after making a three point shot against the Portland Trail Blazers at American Airlines Center on January 4, 2011 in Dallas, Texas.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges
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    Terry won the sixth man of the year award in 2009, and he too is in the running to take the prize again this season. He is averaging 16 points and 4.4 assist per game this season so far.

    Terry has been very consistent throughout his career. Other than his rookie season, Terry has never averaged less than 15 points per game and three assists per game.

    Other than Dirk Nowitzki, Terry might be the most valuable player on the Mavs. He is a clutch shooter and always seems like he is open. If the Mavs want to make a run at the championship, they will need Terry to be great.

1. Los Angeles Lakers: Lamar Odom

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    DENVER, CO - JANUARY 21:  Lamar Odom #7 of the Los Angeles Lakers takes a shot against Melvin Ely #34 of the Denver Nuggets at the Pepsi Center on January 21, 2011 in Denver, Colorado. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by download
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    Over the past three seasons, the Lakers have been able to keep Odom on the bench. But injuries to Andrew Bynum cause him to get the starting nod often. When the Lakers are healthy, Lamar Odom is the sixth man, and possibly the best in the NBA.

    Standing at 6’10” 230 pounds, Odom is one of the most versatile players in the NBA. At time he plays in the post, at other times he dribbles the ball up for the Lakers.

    He is currently averaging 14.6 points per game, nine rebounds per game and 2.9 assists per game.

    Odom can do it all.

    The main reason I put Odom number one on this list is because how difficult he is for other teams to matchup with. He is too fast for most big men and too big for most speed players. Odom is a nightmare, and he always elevates his game in the post-season.