Everybody knows about the stars, and everybody knows that the best players are the primary reason teams win games. Sometimes the players behind the scenes get overlooked, and guys that might not be that great can still play a huge role for a team. It takes more than one star to win in the NBA, the supporting cast of players is very important. I decided to give my take on a Starting five consisting of role players. My only requirement for this list was that the player has to be playing under 25 minutes per game (stats as of 12/9).
Point Guard: Derrick Rose, Detroit Pistons
Of course we know D-Rose before the injury. Youngest MVP ever, and he could have turned in to a legend if he stayed healthy throughout those Chicago years. His health sidetracked his career path, and he came back a very different player. While not at the level he once was, Rose has still been very solid, and has been a good role player for Detroit so far, and he was a good off the bench presence in Minnesota before he signed with the Pistons. Rose is averaging 16.1 points, and 5.8 assists this year, and is shooting 48% from the field. While he’s not superstar Derrick Rose, he’s surely good enough to still have a place in this league.
Shooting Guard: Jordan Clarkson, Cleveland Cavaliers
With the amount of talented, young guards in Cleveland, Jordan Clarkson’s minutes have gone down since last season, but he’s still getting his. He’s been a solid scorer throughout his career, averaging 13.5 points this season shooting 35% from three. His defensive numbers have been solid, which helps his case because young guards are often bad defenders, so if Clarkson can help defend then the Cavs won’t get as torched on the perimeter. Clarkson has been a player considered in sixth man of the year conversations in the past. He might not be on that level but he has been a big help to the Cavs as they keep growing as a team.
Small Forward: Troy Brown Jr, Washington Wizards
Troy Brown is a guy I have been a fan of for his brief time in the league. This might be a little surprising because he hasn’t done much. That’s also why he’s on this list. He doesn’t do much, but he has value along with his potential. So far I’ve taken from Brown that he can be a solid player in the league. He’s not a conventional point guard, but he’s a good playmaker for a wing. His versatility is huge in the NBA, and he can develop over time to be pretty dangerous. Troy Brown hasn’t jumped off the charts of course, but he is a guy that has been a solid player so far, and he has a lot of skill and potential for him to elevate his game.
Power Forward: Markieff Morris, Detroit Pistons
Markieff Morris has always been pretty solid throughout his career. The 30 year old stretch four spent most of his career with the Suns. He moved around a bit in the past few years, and has been a huge impact on all of the teams he has been a part of. This year for Detroit he has been able to stay pretty consistent as a solid piece. Morris has been averaging 10.1 points and just under 4 rebounds per game so far this year. Along with that, his 39.8% three point percentage has been a huge help to Pistons when it comes to floor spacing on offense. Morris has been a player who can do his job and fit in a system for a long time. Now that he’s in Detroit, there is still no exception.
Center: Jonas Valanciunas, Memphis Grizzlies
I think Jonas Valanciunas is one of the most under the radar players in the NBA. He was big for the Raptors, and has been a dominant force ever since he got to Memphis. The Grizzlies might be struggling right now, but Valanciunas has been a bright spot. He is showing his experience and development in the league to try and lead this young core forward. In 24.8 minutes, Jonas is averaging 14.2 points and 9.8 rebounds per game. That’s pretty much a double-double in only 25 minutes, which is very impressive. He is also doing it rather efficiently, shooting 58% from the field. He has shown to be a solid defender and clearly a great rebounder. He’s not an all star center, but he is one of the guys in the NBA that deserve credit for the roles they play on a team.