Landing a glamor job in professional sports is a numbers game. With so many talented athletes, so many great players just do not receive the opportunities to shine at the highest level. Every year on HBO’s “Hard Knocks” we see examples of deserving players lose their jobs due to lack of roster space, even if they might be pound-for-pound better than another guy on the same team who plays a different position.
Even those who do earn jobs often times are not utilized the best ways to show just how good they are. Tracy McGrady did not get a lot of playing time while he was in Toronto. Dorell Wright was on the pine a lot before he started to blow up this season in Golden State. Rajon Rondo was an afterthought before he got his shot to start in Boston three years ago.
So far this season there are a lot of players who deserve more time on the floor than they are getting. These players put up the numbers and played their roles and are instead looked over despite their contributions. Here are five players who deserve more burn:
KEVIN LOVE, Wolves — Much has been made about Kevin’s relationship with Minnesota coach Kurt Rambis. Rambis benched Love during crunch time of the Timberwolves’ season opener, which lead to Love leaving the locker room that night without speaking to the media. Love says the incident was blown way out of proportion, but with Love posting a double-double (16.8 ppg and 10.8 rpg) and only receiving 26.4 minutes a night, something doesn’t add up to me.
JASON THOMPSON, Kings — This skilled big man has yet to disappoint in the front line for the Kings. During his first two seasons Jason put up 11.8 points and 7.9 rebounds in 29.7 minutes a contest. However, over the summer the Kings drafted DeMarcus Cousins and traded for Samuel Dalembert and now Jason has found himself lost in the rotation. So far this season Thompson has only received 15.4 minutes a night. There are reports the Kings are working on moving him to the small forward spot. Hopefully Jason will earn his time that way.
C.J. MILES, Jazz — Miles has developed nicely under Jerry Sloan in Utah. He has improved every year and performed nicely last post season. Sloan decided to start Andrei Kirilenko over Miles at the three, and yet Miles’ numbers are just a shade below AK-47’s. So far Kirilenko is posting 12.5 points, 3.0 rebounds and 3.8 assist in 29 minutes a night, while Miles is not far behind with 11 point, 2.5 rebounds, and 2 assist in 19.8 minutes a contest. C.J. deserves a crack at the starting lineup this season.
DAHNTAY JONES, Pacers — Defense wins games, but Jones has only been on the floor 11 minutes total this season. Jones was picked up by Indiana after he displayed his fierce on-ball defense for the Nuggets in the ’09 playoffs. Now he can barely get garbage time on a young inexperienced Pacers squad. Jones has only removed his warm up suit once this season because of his non-existent jump shot. Despite the handicap, Dahntay still manages to average 10.2 points a game last season in 24.9 minutes a night. Where is the love?
LOU WILLIAMS, 76ers — He can flat-out score. He has consistently produced buckets for the 76ers his whole career. During his six-year run, Sweet Lou has only started 38 games despite his big-time scoring ability. This season Doug Collins has only given Williams 26 minutes a night and he still tied for the team lead in scoring with 18 points per game. Williams needs more minutes for Philly to win.