ROLE Players Are Critical
Tezo83 and I were having a discussion on Portland, a team that stocks so much young talent that GM Kevin Pritchard spent 4 high draft choices on European players he doesn't even bother to bring over to the NBA. Pritchard is great at recognizing and drafting young talent, but doesn't seem so good at putting together a team. I happen to think Portland is one of those teams that are missing key role players.
In the early days of the NBA, Red Auerbach created a new policy and team strategy with the Boston Celtics. Long before the advent of multi-year, multi-million dollar contracts, player salaries were based upon the number of points they scored. There's only one ball, so if everyone's competing to score points, the team concept is lost before you even start.
Red Auerbach was the first NBA coach to base a player's salary on their role and how they fit in with the team concept. He had guys who concentrated on rebounding and defense such as Bill Russell and Jungle Jim Luscotoff. He had other guys like Tommy Heinsohn and Bill Sharman who were paid to score. And finally, he had an elite PG named Bob Cousy who set up his teammates.
We take that for granted today, but Auerbach was a visionary. Unfortunately I think far too many people still underestimate the value of role players. When we discuss future draft choices in this forum you often see people say oh he'll only be a role player in the NBA. What's wrong with that?
If I'm an NBA GM and drafting in the second half of the first, or early in the second round, I'm looking for guys who can be valuable role players and fit in well with the team concept. As I mentioned above, there's only one basketball and five guys on a team. Everyone has to understand and embrace their role and how they fit in with the overall strategy.
I 100% agree. The Trailblazers are a perfect example at the moment. They are young and I think guys will grow into roles. But right now they have a bunch of scorers and not many guys to do the little things. Thats why I think if greg Oden never averages 20 ppg he can still be a great player for the first overall pick. They have their 2 scorers in Roy and aldridge. If Oden can stay healthy they have him and Przybilla as low post defenders with Oden being a legit double double guy. Rudy for scoring off the bench. Batum can be a defensive stopper. Webster and blake can stretch the floor. And Outlaw does anything needed.
But back to real point that role players are key to great teams. I would too look for role players in the late first and second round. And there have been many recently. Carl Landry for the Rockets, Glen Davis and leon Powe(now a Cav) for the Celtics, Dajuan Blair can be a good one, and courtney lee to name a few. All of these guys have helped their team greatly but will never get mentioned for any awards or big contracts.
Hey trinajoe, glad you liked the thread I started. Those were some excellent examples of role players that you mentioned. Even though the public doesn't give them enough appreciation, you know their coaches realize how extremely valuable they are.
players like mike miller, ginobli, chris anderson and nene, etc. great role players for great teams.
Every great coach knows there's only one basketball for five guys, but lots of roles that must be filled on a basketball team. Therefore, those coaches and GMs who build their teams around no more than 2 or 3 stars and compliment them with key role players almost always find success.