The NBA's Hidden Gems

Scott BarbineCorrespondent INovember 10, 2008

Their is always that one guy on every team in the NBA that stands out from the others.

For example,  Gerald Wallace was wasting away on the Sacramento bench, then became a star when he joined the Bobcats. 

Here is my list of hidden gems—guys that could be stars if they had more opportunities to show us what they can do.


Paul Millsap (forward- Utah Jazz)

Although Millsap is considered by many to be undersized for the power forward position, (6'8'', 245 pounds), but he always seems to make a difference when he is in the game. 

Millsap is an excellent re-bounder.  He played three seasons at Louisiana Tech, and led the nation in rebounding each year, which no one has ever done before.

Stuck behind Carlos Boozer, Millsap doesn't get a whole lot of playing time.  He averages around 20 minutes per game—but in those 20 minutes, Millsap makes a difference;  whether it's blocking shots, grabbing a big rebound, or making an important shot, Millsap seems to be a factor whenever he plays.

If Millsap were a starter on another team, we has the potential to be an All-Star.


Trevor Ariza (guard/forward- Los Angeles Lakers)

Ariza is one of the most athletic players you will find in the NBA today.  With great speed and strength, Ariza is a fantastic on-the-ball defender.

The 6'8'' Ariza played just one season at UCLA before entering the NBA draft in 2004.  Many people believe that Ariza would have benefited from more time in college. 

The Knicks selected Ariza with the 43rd overall pick, and he was traded to Orlando after just two seasons with New York.  Midway through last season, Ariza was traded again—this time, to L.A. 

There have been talks from the Lakers organization that they want him in the starting lineup. 

With an improved jump shot, stellar defense, and an uncanny ability to finish around the rim, Ariza is just one opportunity away from becoming a star.


Gerald Green (guard/forward- Dallas Mavericks)

Most people know Green for his high-flying and imaginative dunks from the NBA Slam Dunk competitions.  But Green was originally a first-round draft pick of the Boston Celtics and was thought to be a future cornerstone for the organization.

Then, on July 31, 2007, Green was part of the trade that sent Kevin Garnett to the Celtics.

Green never really found a spot in the Timberwolves' rotation and was shipped off the Houston.  In the off-season, Green was acquired by the Dallas Mavericks, a move that has already been paying dividends for Dallas.  Green has a very good outside shot, and a well-known ability to finish off his dunks with authority.

If Green can improve his defense and find consistent minutes, watch out.  Green was compared to Tracy McGrady coming out of high school.


Tony Allen (guard/forward- Boston Celtics)

A lot of people may forget, but Allen was on his way to becoming a star in the 2006-07 season.  In a stretch of 14 games in December, Allen was averaging 19 points per game.  Then Allen blew out his knee on a breakaway dunk, and missed the remainder of the season.

Allen found minutes hard to come by last year, but has already improved this season, averaging about 11 points per game off the bench.

The former first-round draft pick is considered a hound on defense.  With the loss of James Posey, the Celtics will count on Allen to fill that defensive stopper role.  Allen has a good mid-range jump shot and is and underrated passer.

It's hard to think that he will get his opportunity in Boston playing behind Ray Allen and Paul Pierce, but if Allen can find a place where he can get over 30 minutes a game, he will be a rising star.