“Look, if you had, one shot, or one opportunity, to seize everything you ever wanted. One moment. Would you capture it, or just let it slip?”
This is the questioned posed by one of the greatest rags to riches stories of my generation. Eminem was faced with this choice when it came to stepping in front of the mic, but now with the NBA season underway and some key players injured, some guys are faced with this question on the hardwood.
Many great players never receive the opportunity to show what they can do under the bright lights on the big stage. Getting an opportunity in the League is like unwrapping the golden ticket from one of Willy Wonka‘s chocolate bars – there aren’t too many chances. When a player’s number is called, they better be ready to leave it all on the floor, because it may never happen again.
With some key players banged up, here are five players who have received a golden ticket to become starter.
Matthews is by far the biggest winner from the 2009 Draft class. He goes undrafted, became a restricted free agent this summer and now makes more money than No. 1 pick Blake Griffin. With Brandon Roy feeling some discomfort in his swollen left knee, Wes can now show everyone in Portland that he was worth the pay raise.
Bassy has played fairly well in the sixth man role so far this year, posting 10.2 points and 3.6 assists in 23 minutes a night. Now with Luke Ridnour out, the Brooklyn native is expected to play over 40 minutes a night, getting his chance to prove his worth in the League.
When Chris Kaman left the arena on crutches Tuesday night, Aminu had a nice coming out game, finishing the night with 20 points and eight rebounds in 30 minutes of play. With Kaman not coming back for a little bit, this rookie will finally get the chance to show the haters just why he was a Lottery pick.
Smith was at the bottom of the depth chart last week, but how quickly things change. Smith went from not taking off his warmup suit in the Rockets’ loss to the Hornets, to playing 35 minutes in their next game against the Spurs. He followed that up by playing 42 minutes the next night against Minnesota. If Smith can show he is a better distributor than Aaron Brooks, who is out the next month, he could make a nice spot for himself in the Rockets’ longterm rotation.
Ibaka has always been an excellent athlete who hustles every possession. This season, he has shown nice progress in his understanding of the game. Averaging 10.7 points and eight rebounds per game, with Jeff Green nursing a sprained ankle, that present a golden opportunity for Serge to earn more time on the floor.
What do you think? What injuries will open the door for bench guys to crack the starting five?
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