The NBA season is almost over and the playoffs are just around the corner. To get a better idea of who’s going to be competing in May, we’ve compiled this list based on stats from last year: The 10 best role players in the NBA.
The “best role players nba all time” is a list of the 10 best NBA role players. The rankings are based on their career stats and how well they have performed in the playoffs.
The NBA is divided into levels. The few players who have shown they can be the greatest player on a championship team are at the top. LeBron James, Giannis Antetokounmpo, Stephen Curry, Kawhi Leonard, and Kevin Durant are the only five such players in 2021-2022.
Tier 2 is made up of superstars who have never shown themselves to be the best player on a championship squad. Chris Paul, James Harden, Anthony Davis, Nikola Jokic, Luka Doncic, and Joel Embiid make up this bunch.
The perpetual All-Stars are found in Tier 3. Athletes like Damian Lillard, Jayson Tatum, Paul George, Bradley Beal, Donovan Mitchell, Zach LaVine, Jimmy Butler, and Devin Booker are nearly assured a position in the mid-season classic.
Tier 4 is for players who have been named to the All-Star team but aren’t an annual lock. Brandon Ingram, Karl-Anthony Towns, Pascal Siakam, Jaylen Brown, Julius Randle, and Jrue Holiday all play in this area.
Tier 5 is for NBA rookies who have the potential to be All-Stars but have yet to do so. Ja Morant, LaMelo Ball, Darius Garland, Evan Mobley, Anthony Edwards, De’Aaron Fox, Deandre Ayton, and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander are among the players that have been laid to rest here.
Tier 6 is home to around 25 players. This category contains multi-faceted players that aren’t quite All-Star caliber. Lonzo Ball, Myles Turner, Malcolm Brogdon, Tyler Herro, Tobias Harris, Fred VanFleet, Jerami Grant, and CJ McCollum are just a few examples.
Finally, we arrive to layer 7, which is the subject of this post.
Tier 7 is for NBA role players, players who aren’t expected to play a multi-layered game like the guys above them. Instead, these guys play a specific position in their team.
Don’t be deceived by the fact that these role players are on the outer reaches of the NBA’s solar system. Role players are critical to a team’s success, and can frequently mean the difference between a championship and a first-round playoff exit.
Following that, we’ll rank the best ten role players in the league.
P. J. Tucker – 3-and-D Wing, No. 10
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P. J. Tucker spent the first six years of his NBA career playing overseas, which may have stifled any hopes of being a high-scoring option in the league. Tucker had an immediate impact as a good role player when he was ultimately called up to the big leagues in 2012 with the Phoenix Suns, fitting the roles of high-energy defender and decent outside shooter.
Fast forward to the present, and P. J. Tucker, 36, is still one of the league’s top role players. Last season, his amazing defensive effort and superb outside touch helped push the Bucks to a championship, and this year in Miami, it’s more of the same. Tucker has been a steadying presence for the Heat through almost half of the 2021-2022 season, which has seen hundreds of players in and out of competition due to injury and coronavirus regulations. Tucker has started 32 of a possible 36 games.
He’s hit 45.5 percent from three-point range during his time on the court, which has helped spread the floor for Jimmy Butler’s basket dives and Kyle Lowry’s lane bullrushes. On the less enjoyable side, he’s slowed a little with age, but he’s still a top-tier defender who can torment wings on the perimeter and body up big players on the block. Overall, he’s keeping his assignments to 1.3 percent below their typical average, which is a better percentage than it seems, given the wide variety of players he shifts to every night.
Jae Crowder, 3-and-D Wing, No. 9
Jae Crowder has a touch of the attitude of Dennis Rodman or Ron Artest. When he’s on the opposition team, you despise him, but when he joins your local team, you fall in love with him right away.
Jae Crowder is shooting 34.3 percent from three-point range this season on 5.4 attempts per game, which helps teammates Devin Booker and Chris Paul spread the floor. On the other hand, he’s allowing 12.7 field goal attempts a game, which is among the most in the league for a non-center, while holding his team to a 42.6 percent field goal percentage.
Although the Marquette product has good 3-and-D stats, you may disregard them. Crowder’s worth is based on his demeanor. He’s one of the only individuals on the planet who gets excited about the prospect of defending a celebrity. When LeBron James, Giannis Antetokounmpo, or Kawhi Leonard are on the schedule, most players groan, knowing they’ll be hurting for the following several days. Crowder, on the other hand, isn’t one of them. That type of touch excites him.
Before tip-off against a top-tier player, you can practically see him kneading his hands together in the locker room, a wicked grin stretched over his face. He enjoys teasing an All-Star and giving them something to be concerned about.
Jae Crowder’s demeanor rubs off on his teammates. On this year’s Suns squad, there is no fear, and although Crowder can’t claim all credit for the club’s defensive mentality, he is one of the key reasons they are ranked third in the league in DEFRTG.
Joe Harris, number eight, is a three-point shooter.
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Joe Harris had an ankle injury in November that necessitated surgery.
He’s not good at setting up his teammates (1.0 APG).
Harris is one of the league’s worst rim finishers in recent memory, converting on just 41.7 percent of his tries inside three feet of the hoop.
He enables his defensive assignments to shoot more than their average field goal percentage.
It doesn’t matter.
Joe Harris makes our top-10 role players list because he is the league’s finest high-volume three-point shooter.
Joe Harris led the league in long-distance shooting last season with a terrifying 47.5 percent percentage.
He’s still a beast from beyond the arc this season, connecting on 46.6 percent of his tries.
Joe Harris is very aware of who he is and seldom deviates from his job as a spot-up three-point shooter. This season, he’s taken almost two-thirds of his shots from beyond the arc.
Joe Harris’ ability to spread the floor allows the Nets’ big three—Kevin Durant, James Harden, and Kyrie Irving—to operate together, elevating Brooklyn’s offense from lethal to the greatest in the league this century.
Joe Harris will defeat you on his own if you leave him to help on Durant, Harden, or Irving, an accomplishment few role players in the league can claim of and the reason the Washington native is so important.
7. Perimeter Defender Alex Caruso
NBC Sports contributed to this article.
Rob Pelinka, the Lakers’ general manager, must be regretting himself for letting Alex Caruso depart. Another person’s terrible luck is often another person’s fortunate fortune.
In this situation, Bulls GM Arturas Karnisovas received a significant windfall in the form of AC, one of the league’s finest perimeter defenders. Alex Caruso ranks third in the league with 2.0 steals per game (minimum 10 games played) and fourth with 3.5 deflections per game.
Alex Caruso’s enthusiasm has poured out and drenched his teammates, even beyond the stats. In early December, DeMar DeRozan acknowledged AC’s nightly efforts.
According to Darnell Mayberry of The Athletic, DeRozan remarked, “He’s a dog, dude.” “There have been occasions when we check at the stat sheet after a game and see four or five thefts.” We strive to live up to the expectations that Alex is going to set out there on the floor just by the intensity he provides defensively. It’s also rather large. It’s fascinating to observe. The things he does defensively are unbelievable.”
How can you quantify intelligence and hustle? How can you determine whether a guy is willing to grind through his screams and return to D?
You can’t do it.
DeMar DeRozan has a chance to win the MVP award. Zach LaVine is a lock to make the All-Star team. Even yet, without Alex Caruso’s perimeter defense and continuous intensity, the Chicago Bulls would not have the best record in the East at 24-10.
6. Vacuum Scorer Seth Curry
Seth Curry moved from being Stephen Curry’s younger brother to a backup option, then a solid bench player, and finally a three-point specialist.
He’s no longer only a great outside shooter in 2021-2022. He’s one of the league’s finest vacuum scorers.
Curry makes less than half of his field-goal tries from long range, but his offensive stats are impressive. Take a look at his shooting statistics:
72.7 percent for children aged 0 to 3 feet
56.5 percent from 3 to 10 ft
60.8 percent at 10-16 ft
56.8% on the 16-foot 3P line
41.1 percent at the three-point mark
According to Cleaning the Glass, he’s putting up 129.9 points per 100 possessions, which puts him in the 98th percentile among all guards in the league. Curry has also been a key element in the 76ers’ top five five-man lineup, which includes J. Embiid, T. Harris, T. Maxey, D. Green, and S. Curry, demonstrating that his statistics aren’t just showy filler metrics.
Seth Curry isn’t a great facilitator, and he’s also not a great defender. In his career, he’ll most likely never play in an All-Star game. Even so, he’s one of the league’s finest bucket-getters.
Jordan Clarkson, Vacuum Scorer, No. 5
Jordan Clarkson, last year’s Six-Man of the Year, sees his averages drop somewhat in 2021-2022, from 18.4 PPG to 14.8 PPG. His three-point shooting percentage has been down (30.5 percent), but he’s still putting up 8.4 attempts per game.
Clarkson is a ball of quick offense, despite his difficulties from beyond the arc. When All-Star Donovan Mitchell is on the bench, he seldom seeks to pass the ball (2.4 APG), yet he racks up 14.0 field goal attempts per game, continually pushing second unit defenders and helping fuel Utah’s assault.
Jordan Clarkson is as proficient as any bench player in the NBA at working the pick and roll, averaging 4.9 possessions per game as the ball handler and 0.92 points per possession, excellent for the 73rd percentile. The former Laker is also a skilled screen shooter, hitting on 38.5 percent of his efforts.
Utah boasts the greatest offense in the league, with a 117.3 rating, 3.5 points better than the second-place Hawks (113.8), and a greater margin than the 110.5 OFFRTG differential between Atlanta and the 13th-place Toronto Raptors. During the first half of the season, the Jazz have scored at an unprecedented rate. Donovan Mitchell, Mike Conley, and Bojan Bogdanovic have been at the forefront of the charge. Jordan Clarkson’s ability to put pressure on second units, on the other hand, has been a big part of Utah’s success this season.
4. Matisse Thybulle – Defender of the Periphery
ESPN is to thank for this.
Matisse Thybulle’s usage rate is 9.7%, putting him in the third percentile among all guards. The Washington Product is shooting under 30% from three-point range and averaging 1.1 assists per game. On offense, Thybulle is a non-factor.
It doesn’t matter since he’s the league’s top perimeter defender versus guards. He is fourth in defensive field goal percentage among among backcourt players in the league (minimum 10 games played), restricting his assignments to 36.5 percent from the field.
Even more amazing is the fact that the three players ahead of Thybulle (J. Butler, M. Moody, and A. Reaves) have not been assigned to protect the opposition team’s most potent attacking weapon. Thybulle, on the other hand, possesses. He’s shown he can suffocate the league’s top guards, which is a very useful talent.
Joel Embiid told reporters that Thybulle should win the Defensive Player of the Year Award after the third-year guard kept MVP frontrunner Stephen Curry to 2-13 as his main defender in a 76ers victory earlier in December, including two blocked shots.
Last season, Thybulle blocked a jumper or floater 53 times, which was the most in the league. He’s on track to return to the top 50 this year. If he keeps disrupting defenses the way he has in the first half of the season, the former Husker has a strong argument for being crowned the league’s top defender.
3. Vacuum Scorer Desmond Bane
Desmond Bane is not a well-known figure.
The second-year TCU product is already one of the league’s finest scoring engines. He’s scoring 17.3 points per game and making 42.0 percent of his 6.8 three-point tries.
In the half-court, he’s not much of a playmaker (2.2 APG), and he only has 0.3 isolated possessions per game, indicating that he’s not ready to take over when things go stale at the end of possessions. Bane makes his money by filling in for those who aren’t available. In stationary shot attempts, he’s in the 90th percentile, giving him an ideal running partner for teammate Ja Morant.
The defensive statistics aren’t kind to Desmond Bane. He’s letting his guy shoot 45.5 percent from the field, which places him in the center of all NBA defenders. With a defensive rating of 107.7, Bane ranks outside the top-10 on the Grizzlies.
Despite the evidence, Bane possesses the height and speed to be an upper-echelon ballhawk at 6-5, 215 pounds. He’ll probably need a few more years to master the ins and outs of high-level NBA defense, but he’s got the attitude and stature to be a nuisance on the less glamorous end of the court.
Desmond Bane’s career might take a leap forward in the next years. He has the potential to develop into a superior overall defender and playmaker, elevating him from a supporting role to a borderline All-Star contender. For the time being, he’ll have to make do with one of the league’s greatest vacuum scorers, which isn’t bad for the 30th selection in the 2020 NBA draft.
2. Bobby Portis – Top-Notch Defender/Vacuum Scorer
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During a preseason workout session in 2017, Bobby Portis shattered Nikola Mirotic’s jaw. Portis was banned for the first eight games of the season when Mirotic went to the hospital. Many observers speculated at the time that this was the start of the end for the former Arkansas superstar.
It wasn’t the case.
Portis moved around a lot, from Chicago to Washington to New York, earning a reputation as a selfish offensive player primarily concerned with padding his numbers.
A few years and a chip can make all the difference in the world. Bobby Portis is now a key part of the Milwaukee Bucks and one of the league’s top role players.
Portis is averaging 15.8 points per game, 9.0 rebounds per game, and 42.9 percent from three-point range this season. On the less glamorous side of things, he’s allowing a team-high 14.3 field goal attempts per game while restricting his assignments to 5.2 percent of their usual shooting percentage.
Bobby Portis isn’t known for being a playmaker. This season, he hasn’t tried a single isolated shot, and he isn’t a great pick-and-roll finisher (30th percentile). He is in the 88th percentile for spot-up chances and plays tough defense.
“Everyone wants to be the first player in this league.” Portis told reporters a few years ago, “I simply want to be a star in my position.”
He’s lived up to his own expectations this season, remaining true to his job as a shooter/high-energy defender. Portis’ projected plus/minus rating (how many more points a player contributes to a team’s scoring margin compared to the league-average performance) is +1.7, putting him in the 84th percentile in the NBA and demonstrating his importance to the Bucks.
Mikal Bridges, 3-and-D Wing
Mikal Bridges is the league’s finest perimeter defender. He possesses the stature (6-6, 209 pounds) to defend larger wings like LeBron James or Jimmy Butler, unlike other defensive stalwarts like Matisse Thybulle and Alex Caruso. He also possesses the foot speed to torment point guards like as Stephen Curry and James Harden.
Every night, Bridges takes on Phoenix’s most difficult defensive assignment, stifling the league’s finest offensive talents and stifling the plays they’re accustomed to running.
Earlier in December, the former 10th overall selection shut down perhaps the league’s two finest offensive backcourt players.
Here’s how it works:
James Harden (James Harden)
The Suns have a significant edge over their West rivals, the Warriors and Jazz, because to Mikal Bridges. Bridges has already shown his ability to contain Curry. While the Suns haven’t faced Utah yet, Donovan Mitchell shouldn’t be an issue following the way the former 10th overall choice has tormented other top options into submission.
The Suns’ heart is Chris Paul, and their soul is Devin Booker. Still, Mikal Bridges’ development into a real Defensive Player of the Year contender might be the difference between Phoenix losing in the Western Conference Finals and winning it all.
The Warriors and Jazz rely on Curry and Mitchell to run the offense and create space for their shooters, so their inability to draw double teams or score in one-on-one situations is a major setback.
Bridges’ argument is so strong that it warrants 250 words.
He’s also a fantastic three-point shooter. “The Warden” is connecting on 38.6% of his long-range shots, which helps spread the floor for Chris Paul’s midrange attempts and Devin Booker’s dashes to the basket.
Role players are more important than ever before.
During previous seasons, the cliche “superstars win championships” was accurate. Only one real superstar, Giannis Antetokounmpo, an All-Star in Khris Middleton, and a host of superb supporting players helped the Milwaukee Bucks win their first championship since the 1970s last year.
The greatest clubs in the league in 2021-2022 have a diverse group of high-quality role players that perform in their respective areas while not exceeding their coach’s expectations. Teams like the Lakers, Hawks, Celtics, and Mavericks have also struggled to make stops and hit from long range because their role players haven’t performed as effectively as they could.
In the end, a Bobby Portis three-pointer in the last minutes of game seven might decide the championship. Alternatively, Mikal Bridges may block his assignment’s game-winning shot, returning the title back to Phoenix.
Nobody can forecast the future, but one thing is certain: the role players on our list will continue to contribute throughout the remainder of the regular season and into the playoffs.
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The “nba role players 2021” is a ranking of the 10 best role players in the NBA.
Frequently Asked Questions
Who is the #1 player in the NBA?
A: LeBron James is #1 in the NBA.
Who is the best NBA player right now 2021?
A: This is a difficult question to answer and there are certainly people who would argue for their favorite player. However, if you ask me I will say Kevin Durant because he is the best current NBA player according to NBA 2K20s realism settings.
How many role players are in the NBA Hall of Fame?
A: The NBA Hall of Fame currently has 53 players.
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