Watching the Bulls-Suns final in 1993 on NBA TV and something got me thinking. All great dynasties, Bulls, Lakers, Spurs, have had role players who have played their roles perfectly to complement the superstars such as AC Green and Byron Scott with mid 80's Lakers, Horace Grant and Toni Kucoc with the Jordan Bulls, Rick Fox with the Kobe and Shaq Lakers, and Brice Bowen with the Spurs. Who are some of the greatest role players of all time? I think Robert Horry should be up there. Won two rings with the Hakeem led Rockets in the mid-90's and three with the Kobe and Shaq Lakers. They didn't call him "Big Shot Rob" for nothing. Horry hit huge shot after huge shot, most notably his three in 2002 against the Kings in the Western Conference Finals at Staples after the Shaq tip-out which tied the series at 2-2. Who else should be considered a great role player?
looking at recent championship teams:
'12 heat: battier(defense, threes and never forced anything. The way he and chalmers played in the finals was the big difference makers for the series)
'11 mavs: terry(marion was imo the teams second best player that series but i hesitate to call him a role player with the way he played all around ball)
'10/'09 lakers: fisher(chased ray allen off screens pretty well and won a few finals games with huge clutch plays both years)
'08 celtics: posey(made life hell for kobe and he continuously knocked down the open three)
Manu. This guy knew his role on the spurs championship teams and that was to provide solid scoring and all around play off the bench without overdoing it.
I'm assuming you know it is Bruce Bowen, not Brice. I mean U and I are right next to each other on they keyboard so thats an easy typo to make...
It's funny because I was just having a conversation about how noone wants to be a called a role player anymore. If I'm a "glue guy" then thats cool but don't you dare call me a role player.
Shane Battier is the epitome of a role player.
Derek Fisher can add being a championship role player to his title of worst starting pg (which he held for multiple years).
Rondo was a role player on the Celtics championship team, but has since then turned into their leader.
Ron artest for the Lakers championship team
Barea was huge for the 2011 Mavs too...
I feel like the adjustment Carlisle made to put him in the starting lineup changed the series
In round 1 against the Knicks he averaged: 11.8 PPG, 4.4 APG, 4.0 RPG, 1.8 Stls
In round 2 against the Pacers he averaged: 10.8 PPG, 4.8 RPG, 2.7 APG
In round 3 against the Celtics he averaged: 12.0 PPG, 4.6 APG, 3.1 RPG, 1.1 Stls
In the NBA finals against OKC he averaged: 10.4 PPG, 4.0 APG, 2.6 RPG, 2.0 Stls
Yes Mario Chalmers is who im talking about!
I was watchin the Suns-Bulls games as well, and Richard Dumas was one bad man. He was so good in every one of the Suns games I watched this week, and I'd never heard of him, so I looked him up, saw that he was a 23 year old rookie that season in Phoenix, dropped 15 points per game, missed the entire next season, and only played two more seasons. I read this article that said that he had constant drug issues, which marred his promising career, and from the game 5 against Chicago that I was watching, that guy had star potential, he could jump out of the building, and had a dcent enough midrange J. It's no coincidence that that was the only season Charles Barkley made it to the Finals. they were one piece away, and Dumas was that piece.
But one thing I found intersting, in 94 and 95, Phoenix was eliminated in the 2nd round by Houston in 7 games both times, had they gotten out of that game 7, Barkley could've gotten his ring one of those two years, and Danny Manning was out for the playoffs in 95, which may have made a difference, cause he was still averaging 18 and 6 at that time. And also by 95 Majerle and Ainge's production had dipped considerably by them as well. Barkley had a lot of bad breaks, and remember, he came extermely close in 93, I know it only went 6, but had Paxon missed that three we might be talking about how Barkley was the guy that escaped the Jordan era without a ring, and maybe Jordan would've never retired, and Hakeem would've never gotten a ring, but these are all what ifs.
always be Manu Ginobli for me, accepted his role since his rookie year, when the coach let him play, he always gives his A game, 120% performance, though, always Injury Prone because of his Habit of Driving and Cutting always, he has the Winners Mentality, he always want to win, it showed on the Decade of Brilliance of the Spurs
Throughout their recent championship finals series's , the Spurs got exceptional help from numerous role players.
Hell even Nesterovic, Devin Brown, Danny Ferry, old Steve Smith, the list goes on and on and on. Always been a team that gets fantastic production from great role players, especially in the playoffs.
Lindsey Hunter is a good one could spark the team with a 3 or great on the ball pressure.
Ron Harper was a good one too gave his teams great defensive versatility because having a 6'6 point guard let them be able to switch everything and also it would make it tough for a little guy on the other team to find someone he can guard.
In addition to James posey.... Sam Cassell and PJ Brown
How about Udonis Haslem in 2006 and 2012?
He might be considered more of a superstar than a "role player" but Dennis Rodman really put the 1996-1998 Bulls over the top. Rebound, rebound, rebound, defend, and play tough. That's what he did and the Bulls dominated. He also got two rings with the Bad Boys but in a support role. Might be the best (only?) superstar role player in NBA history.
In the Eighties, Kurt Rambis was solid (I like watching his old highlights), even though I only watched him during his last stint with the Lakers in the early/mid-Nineties.
Robert Horry is another great role player. Probably the best role player to have never been an all-star. ... Shane Battier is another good one.
Last year's Mavs had some good ones. Barea was huge. DeShawn Stevenson was an integral part of that run (what happened to that guy?). I even think that Brian Cardinal played some big minutes. Rebounds, hustle, taking charges, and hitting 3's. Can't get better than that from your 10th/11th man.
I think we have some good backup power forward role players now who can get the job done and change things up. When these guys play well it gives their teams a better chance to win. I am thinking of Udonis Haslem, Nick Collison, Taj Gibson, and Darrell Arthur. Jordan Hill has shown some promise in this role, too. Reggie Evans is the best rebounder in this group, while Glenn Davis is the guy who is most likely to get 20 points. I think Josh Harrellson can be a solid option for scoring and rebounding at the backup 4 spot if he gets minutes. I also think that Miles Plumlee might thrive in this role as a big rebounder with hops. ... these guys have basically resurrected the role that used to be played by Kurt Rambis, AC Green, Horace Grant (a starters' version), and even Scott Williams and Antoine Carr. Dale and Antonio Davis gave the old Pacers teams two guys at this spot to a positive effect.
I think reserve combo guards aka instant offense 6th man types like Vinnie Johnson or Jason Terry (even BJ Armstrong to some extent) get a lot of attention, but I think that backup role playing bigs need to get some respect too.
Rings and was never the star.
A couple that come to mind are; Steve Kerr, Robert Horry, Bruce Bowen, Derek Fisher
We now have everything from Rajon Rondo to Derek Fisher, including Dennis Rodman and Robert Horry. Lets look at some of the qualifications of role player. I say average less than 20 minutes per game. Don't start a single game of the series. Has at least one elite skill which he used to dismantle the other team. I think Big Shot Bob is the ultimate in that category, esp. late in his career. I think that the ultimate would've been Hedo Turkoglu. He was a good all around player could shoot and guard 4s. He didn't start Bibby, Christie, Stojackovic, Webber and Divac handled that. He wasn't first off the bench that was Bobby Jackson. He wasn't the rookie who got some minutes that was Gerald Wallace. He later became a starter but when they took the Lakers, Turkoglu was a role player on the Kings. How about John Spider Salley for the bad boy Pistons. Bill Walton on the Celtics was probably the best. Antonio Davis in Indiana. All of Allen Iversons teammates that he drug to the finals.