Every NBA Team’s Secret Weapon So Far in 2013-14 Season
Every NBA Team’s Secret Weapon So Far in 2013-2014 Season
The NBA is full of superstars. It is the one sports where a large percentage of their game consists of the stars being a part of it. Because of this, the role players in the NBA don't seem to get much love. Everyone remembers Michael Jordan, Dennis Rodman and Scottie Pippen from those Chicago Bulls teams, but Steve Kerr, Tony Kukoc and Ron Harper helped them win all those championships.
These guys end up being over looked by other teams and can be another team's secret weapon. When everyone is looking for the Kevin Durants and the Carmelo Anthonys, this guy might have a wide open three or could be wide open under the basket. These players get to clean up on the double teams and the fact that the other players have one eye on one other player. They are very good at it as well.
Many players have made a lot of money to be role players in this league. It actually seemed like one of the reasons there was a lockout in the first place, middle of the pack guys getting big contracts. That is no longer the case so these guys can stay under the radar without the weight of a big contract, although I am sure they would rather have it the other way around.
These men could end up deciding championships. Robert Horry is not a guy you would think would be the guy to take the last shot, but Big Shot Bob has made multiple shots to win games for the San Antonio Spurs and Los Angeles Lakers.
Right now there are plenty of players in the NBA who could be that person. These are the NBA's best secret weapons.
Nick Villano is the New Jersey Devils writer for Rant Sports. He also adds to their NBA, NFL and MLB content. You can follow him on Twitter for more sports information.
Atlanta Hawks- Jeff Teague
Jeff Teague is a player that does not get the due he deserves. He is currently averaging 16 points per game and leading the Atlanta Hawks in assists on a team that somehow is in the third seed in the Eastern Conference. This guy is a very good player and could perceive him making a serious jump at only 25 years old.
Boston Celtics: Jordan Crawford
The reason why Brad Stevens should at least be considered for Coach of the Year is the work he did with Jordan Crawford. He has had a decent career, but could not get it together until Stevens came along. He played with three teams in four seasons. Now he is a solid contributor for the No. 4 seed.
Brooklyn Nets: Andray Blatche
Andray Blatche is a player that was all but given up on. His shooting percentage in 2011-12 was .380, which is appalling for someone who is close to seven feet tall. He has turned that around while with the Brooklyn Nets. He is a pivotal cog to this team's attempted comeback.
Charlotte Bobcats: Bizmark Biyombo
Bizmark Biyombo is not going to wow many fans. He just doesn't score a lot of points. That doesn't take away from his value. He is great on the defensive side and is a great rebounder. He may be backing up Al Jefferson right now, but with his rebounding skill he may force his way to more minutes.
Chicago Bulls: Joakim Noah
Even though everyone knows who he is, Joakim Noah is still underrated. He dragged last year's team to a five seed without their best player in Derrick Rose. He holds down the middle of the floor. He makes this team scary even without Rose once again.
Cleveland Cavaliers: Andrew Bynum
Andrew Bynum has put himself under the radar with the way his injury history and recent play has gone down. He has yet to be the dominant player that he was on the Lakers. He is currently playing 10 minutes less per game than usual. When he is 100 percent back he will be the reason the Cleveland Cavaliers get back into the Eastern Conference picture.
Dallas Mavericks: Monta Ellis
Monta Ellis was a guy who seemed to be a man without a team. He was a great scorer who may have had a bad reputation. He has teamed with Dirk Nowitzki and Rick Carlisle and has not looked back. He has brought them to seventh in the league in scoring. His 20-plus points per game was a big surprise this season.
Denver Nuggets: J.J. Hickson
J.J. Hickson was a player everyone wanted when he was with the Cavaliers. He kind of was an afterthought for the past couple of years. He started when he was traded to the Blazers two seasons ago. Now with the Denver Nuggets, his 11 and eight has helped this team stay relevant in a tough Western Conference.
Detroit Pistons: Greg Monroe
With all the players that the Detroit Pistons have brought in, the ones that were already there didn't get as much talk. Greg Monroe is a player who could one day be extremely good. For right now they are the Pistons best kept secret. He currently puts up a 15 and nine, which is on par with Roy Hibbert and Tim Duncan.
Golden State Warriors: David Lee
It is hard to say that someone who is making close to $14 million per year is a secret weapon, but it seems that is what David Lee is at this point. Steph Curry is the star and Andre Iguodala is getting a lot of credit for this team. If they had a healthy Lee last season, they would have had a real shot against the Spurs.
Houston Rockets: Chandler Parsons
Chandler Parsons is currently percentage points away from shooting 40 percent from beyond the arc. He is close to four rebounds and five assists per game on top of his 17 points per game. He is a crucial part of the Houston Rockets defense.
Indiana Pacers: Lance Stephenson
Paul George is becoming one of the best players in the league. Lance Stephenson is the heart and soul of this Indiana Pacers team. He does everything for them. He can rebound, he gets assists and when it is needed he knows how to score. He will continue to grow for this team with George and Hibbert to make them a dynasty one day.
Los Angeles Clippers: J.J. Redick
The Los Angeles Clippers spent big money to try to build a championship contender. They brought in J.J. Redick and Jared Dudley to hit a ton of threes. Redick seems to be the only one who got the memo. They lost him for about six weeks, but when he comes back he will be the sharpshooter they need when the playoffs starts. Talk about a secret weapon.
Los Angeles Lakers: Steve Blake
It is hard to point at one person on this Los Angeles Lakers team and say one secret weapon. Every night some random guy has a great night. One night it will be Xavier Henry, another night it could be Steve Blake and you could also point to Jordan Farmar. Blake gets the nod because he will be a secret weapon being out for the next month or so.
Memphis Grizzlies: Tony Allen
As a whole, defense isn't appreciated in the NBA. That is why for some crazy reason Lionel Hollins does not have a job right now. Tony Allen is not a player you think about when you look at this Memphis Grizzlies team. He seems to be the only one playing well. He is shooting close to 50 points higher on his shooting percentage. Look for him during the stretch run if they don't decide to tank.
Miami Heat: Mario Chalmers
When you play with LeBron James and Dwyane Wade, you are not going to get a lot of stats. Mario Chalmers still plays the perfect game that helps this Miami Heat team win on a nightly basis. When the superstars are having an off night, he is there to clean them up.
Milwaukee Bucks: John Henson
There isn't much to be happy about on this Milwaukee Bucks team. Unless they have Superman as their secret weapon, John Henson will have to do. In his second year, he has managed to double his points per game output. He is averaging over two blocks and 7.5 rebounds per game.
Minnesota Timberwolves: Nikola Pecovic
This is the third player that goes along with Kevin Love and Ricky Rubio to try to put this team over the top. He will not get the same love they get due to the fact that he is not nearly as flashy. Nikola Pecovic does the dirty work to keep this team going.
New Orleans Pelicans: Ryan Anderson
Ryan Anderson had a very bad offseason in which he saw a love one commit suicide. That made many, including me, wonder whether that would weigh on him during the season. Boy were we all wrong. Anderson is having his best season. He is averaging 21.8 points per game with 5.8 rebound per game.
New York Knicks: Tim Hardaway Jr
Tim Hardaway Jr has looked very good on a dysfunctional New York Knicks team lately. He has shot 54 percent in the last ten games and has a real key for when to shoot. He will be crucial if the Knicks want to get back into the playoff race.
Oklahoma City Thunder: Reggie Jackson
He shares a name with Mr. October, but Reggie Jackson has made somewhat of a name for himself so far this season. Helping with the lack of scoring with the loss of Kevin Martin, he has really helped the Thunder when they really need him.
Orlando Magic: Arron Afflalo
Arron Afflalo is most well known for being a key piece in the Dwight Howard trade. Now he is trying to become known as a great NBA player. Being underrated for most of his career has driven him to become the player he is now. He is scoring five more points per game than his career high for a season. He is averaging more assists and rebounds than ever. He could be an All Star this season.
Philadelphia 76ers: Spencer Hawes
At one point, Spencer Hawes was somewhat of a punchline in Philadelphia. Now he is one of the most important players on this surprising 76ers team. He is averaging close to 15 and nine on the season. That is all you need to know for how he affects this team.
Phoenix Suns: Miles Plumlee
In what looked like a clear tank move, the Phoenix Suns sent Marcin Gortat to the Wizards. Maybe they just knew they had a great center still on the roster. Miles Plumlee is a part of an array of players that have somehow kept this Suns team part of the West playoff picture.
Portland Trail Blazers: Robin Lopez
Robin Lopez was always the "other" Lopez brother. His brother was over in Brooklyn as the best scoring center in the league. We may be seeing a Marc Gasol-type transformation here. Robin Lopez has been great for the most surprising team in the league. If he can keep it up, maybe so can the Blazers.
Sacramento Kings: Isaiah Thomas
Isaiah Thomas is currently in trade talks in a mega deal for Celtics point guard Rajon Rondo. His days of falling under the radar may be over. He is playing his butt off this season and has seemed to be making the jump into really good players. He is scoring close to 19 points per game. That's huge since his prior high was 13.9.
San Antonio Spurs: Kawhi Leonard
Kawhi Leonard came out of his shell in terms of basketball skill last season in the playoffs. He hasn't slowed down since. He isn't quite at the 13.5 he was scoring in the playoffs, but scoring over 11 points every night is really helping the Spurs stay an elite team.
Toronto Raptors: Patrick Patterson
In my opinion, Patrick Patterson could become the key component of this Rudy Gay trade. Greivis Vasquez is the name everyone recognized, but Patterson could provide the most for the Toronto Raptors.
Utah Jazz: Alec Burks
This Utah Jazz team was supposed to be very bad. They are currently playing up to those expectations. Even though they are terrible, they have a nice surprise in Alex Burks. The third-year pro is averaging 13 points per game off the bench. He needs to work on his shooting percentage and his turnovers, but that will come with time.
Washington Wizards: Bradley Beal
All you need to see to understand the Bradley Beal's importance to the Washington Wizards is what he did against the Knicks on Monday night. He took the ball up and scored a game-winning layup with six seconds left. He also hit a few threes earlier in the game.
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