Posted by Sekou Smith
HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS — You want to be a contender?
You want that Larry O’Brien Trophy?
Well, you better have more than just Kobe Bryant, LeBron James, Dwight Howard, Paul Pierce or Steve Nash.
It takes more than star power to win titles in the NBA, a lesson we all learned years ago when the Michael Jordan-led Bulls used a revolving door of role players to help his Airness get the job done.
For every Shaquille O’Neal there needs to be a Robert Horry.
We know who the real stars are in these playoffs. But do you know who the bench boosters are?
Check out the Hang Time Fab Five:
Jared Dudley, Suns — This guy might be the MVP of this team. Dudley was basically an anonymous role player in Charlotte before a seeing his career take off as a one of the key members of Los Suns’ bench mob. Dudley is Mr. Intangibles (forget about his modest 7.3 points and 3.3 rebounds per game). He’s doing all the dirty work that leads to a team winning big games the way the Suns have this postseason. He turned the tide in the Suns’ Game 2 win over the Spurs Wednesday night with two huge 3-point plays. In addition to all that, Dudley is hilarious, which always earns credits around here.
Glen Davis, Celtics — Whenever they need the “Ticket Stub” to fill in for the Big Ticket, Davis delivers. He did it last season against Orlando, exploding onto the playoff scene with a series of big games, including a game-winner in Orlando. Davis has done his usual in these playoffs, 7.9 points and 4.3 rebounds, and even started in place of Garnett in one game against Miami in the Celtics’ first round series. The Celtics will need his energy, offense and hustle in Game 3 against the Cavaliers Friday night. And you can bet the Stub will deliver.
Mickael Pietrus, Magic — Any dude willing to rock a ‘fro like Pietrus will find his way to a list around here. Even if he wasn’t a big shot guy or a stellar defender, we’d have love for Pietrus here. Because not every player as talented as he is can recognize the importance of and accept the reality of the role he plays for the Magic. While we’d love to see Pietrus rebound a little more (1.4 this postseason), he does take care of business on the other end (8.8 points and 52 percent from beyond the 3-point line) of the floor.
Lamar Odom, Lakers — We don’t care what you say about LO, he’s one of our guys. He always has been and always will be. And we will defend him to the end. We’ve watched him go from a potential superstar during his earlier years with the Clippers and Heat to a champion and role player extraordinaire with the Lakers. After Kobe, he was as crucial as anyone to the Lakers’ title run last season. He does so many different things to help his team (8.4 points, 8.5 rebounds and 2.1 assists). Even with the addition of Ron Artest, LO remains the key to the Lakers’ title hopes. When he plays well off the bench, he makes them nearly impossible to deal with.
Paul Millsap, Jazz — He’s been so badly overlooked for so long that it’s only right that he rounds out our Fab Five. Did you see what he did to the Nuggets in the first round (17.3 points and 9.8 rebounds). He’s doing the same thing and more (21 and 10) against the Lakers. And yet he still gets no love from the masses. No worries, P. Milly (fine, we’re still working on the right nickname). We’ve got you covered here. We know you will bring the pain every night and we know you don’t care that you are usually battling cats two and three inches taller than you. Just keeping bringing it sir!