NBA: Ranking Lamar Odom, Jason Terry and the Top 10 Bench Players

Mark Evans@@SKsPassthePillCorrespondent IIIAugust 29, 2011

NBA: Ranking Lamar Odom, Jason Terry and the Top 10 Bench Players

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    In today's NBA, there are a variety of great players who provide different dimensions to their team off the bench.

    Many of these players are good enough to start on most teams, but sacrifice playing time and personal attention for the good of the team. We all know that it takes much more than five players to win a championship.

    With that said, we'll start at No. 10 and work our way up.

10. J.R. Smith, Nuggets

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    J.R. Smith is one of the most inconsistent players in the league, which may explain why he has primarily been a bench player.

    He has a tendency to not listen to his coach. He also likes to take a lot of low percentage, bad shots.

    That all being said, he is absolutely one of the most explosive players around. Smith can put up 20 or 30 points on any given night and carry an offense by himself.

    Not very many players can come into the game off the bench and take over a game. Smith has that potential.

9. Glen Davis, Celtics

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    Glen Davis was in the discussion for Sixth Man of the Year early on in the season. At that time, he seemed to have taken the next step as a player. He was a great compliment to the Celtics' front line.

    Then, he tried to be the hero night in and night out. And on a team with Rajon Rondo, Ray Allen, Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett, that isn't necessary.

    Not to mention that he tried to shoot threes with the game on the line on multiple occasions. Ask Doc Rivers how he felt about that.

    Big Baby is a capable player, and one who could do a lot of good when he plays within himself and cuts down on the mental mistakes.

8. Udonis Haslem, Heat

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    Udonis Haslem is one of the best role players around. That's why Pat Riley made it a priority to keep him around when he acquired LeBron James and Chris Bosh to join Wade.

    He's not the kind of player that will win a game for you, but he does a lot of things well. He's a good rebounder, a tough defender, he provides solid hustle and energy and he can make the open jump shot.

    His numbers don't jump off the page, and with three superstars on his team, they don't need to. Haslem is one of the most important bench players in the league.

7. Lou Williams, 76ers

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    Lou Williams is a big part of the success that the young 76ers team had this season.

    In a season that saw him average 14 points and three assists off the bench, Williams finished sixth in Sixth Man of the Year voting.

    He is another scoring threat for a balanced 76ers team that provides a spark off the bench.

    Unfortunately, he's not even the best bench player on his own team.

6. Marcin Gortat, Suns

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    Marcin Gortat really needed to get out of Dwight Howard's shadow. Because he can really play.

    With the Suns, he averaged a very solid 13 points, nine rebounds and 1.3 blocks per game.

    He's on this list because he was primarily a bench player with the Suns, while Robin Lopez was the starter. However, it's clear that The Polish Hammer is the better option.

    Look for Gortat to vault into the echelon of top centers in the league this season.

5. Thaddeus Young, 76ers

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    I think it's safe to say that there are a lot of coaches out there who would love to have Thaddeus Young on their team.

    At 6'8", Young has good size and is athletic enough to play both forward positions well. He does a lot of things well. He can score, rebound and play solid defense. Similarly to Haslem, however, he won't win you many games by himself.

    That being said, his versatility is extremely valuable in a league with versatile, athletic players. Not a bad option off the bench at all.

4. James Harden, Thunder

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    Similar to Gortat, James Harden will probably move into the starting lineup next season. But, he has primarily come off the bench so far, so here he is.

    Harden is a great compliment to Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook on both ends of the floor. He is a very good shooter, and has the ability to get to the hoop and draw fouls. Also, he doesn't demand the ball, which is key when playing with two other high usage players.

    He's nothing special on the defensive end, but he is decent. He's also surrounded by good defensive players in Wesbrook, Durant, Ibaka and Perkins.

3. Jamal Crawford, Hawks

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    Since joining the Atlanta Hawks, Jamal Crawford has been the sixth man specialist while backing up Joe Johnson.

    Similarly to J.R. Smith, Crawford is capable of taking over a game offensively. There are very few players who can come off the bench and immediately score like that.

    His numbers dipped a bit this season—his points per game dropped almost four points and his shooting percentages went down a little. But he is still a feared weapon off the bench who always needs to be accounted for.

2. Jason Terry, Mavericks

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    On top of being ridiculously confident and possibly crazy for getting that tattoo on his bicep before the season, Jason Terry is an excellent player.

    He's one of those players who may not start the game, but he plays starter minutes and is always in the game at crunch time. And for good reason.

    He averaged 16 points and four assists during the regular season, and was a huge contributor to the team's title run. There were times during the finals where the Miami Heat guarded the 6'2", 180-pound Terry with the 6'8", 250-pound LeBron James because they knew how clutch Terry can be.

    And when he gets hot shooting the ball, watch out. Just ask anyone on the Los Angeles Lakers.

    Terry is definitely starter quality, but comes off the bench for the good of his team. Looks like that worked out well, huh? 

1. Lamar Odom, Lakers

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    I know this may not be a very trendy pick considering how the Lakers exited the playoffs, but it is the right one.

    Lamar Odom brings a versatility and a skill set that almost nobody in the league possesses. He has size, length, shooting, ball-handling, defense and passing. At 6'10", he often brings the ball up the court and runs the offense. That's hard to defend against. He can truly play every position on the floor.

    This past season, The Candy Man averaged 14 points, nine rebounds and three assists on 53 percent shooting. He also spreads the floor a little, as he shot 38 percent from three-point range.

    A trio of Odom, Bynum and Gasol in the front court is a huge part of what the Lakers do, and a huge part of why they have won two championships.

    And the best part is, it seems like Odom doesn't really care sometimes. He plays so nonchalantly that it makes me wonder if he's capable of much more. We all know he's super talented. Then again, it's awfully hard to knock a guy with his credentials.

    Lamar Odom, also known as Mr. Kardashian, is the best bench player in the league.

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