Some of the benches on NBA squads are just nasty. It used to be teams would go just seven or eight deep in their rotation. Now some of these teams have benches so stacked that they could probably handle Milwaukee or Sacramento’s starting fives. I ranked my top five second units in the league. Keep in mind, starting lineups haven’t been set in stone and some of these guys might start come opening night (tonight for some).
1. Celtics: No matter what lineup other teams might throw at the Celtics, Doc Rivers has someone on his bench to counter it. If you need big bodies to go in there and bang, you got Big Baby and Sheldon Williams to mix it up in the paint. If you need instant buckets, you got Eddie House to provide the quick trigger. Rasheed Wallace is someone who can help you in the post, perimeter and pass out of the paint. He also provides tenacity on the court and has championship experience. Tony Allen can provide a spark on D and has the ability to slash to the basket. And the other new addition, Marquis Daniels, can use his speed and size to take advantage of smaller guards on both sides of the ball.
2. Magic: Even though the Magic lost key contributors to last year’s team that went to the Finals like Hedo Turkoglu, Courtney Lee and Rafer Alston, they loaded up on enough talent to make up for it. New additions Matt Barnes and Jason Williams will strengthen the Magic’s second unit backcourt. Ryan Anderson, who came over in the Vince Carter trade, might prove to be the team’s best offseason acquisition. He’s a forward that can play inside and out and has been killing it in the preseason. Last year, Mikael Pietrus was huge for the playoffs and will thrive in the team’s sixth man role. Marcin Gortat is a solid backup for Superman and sharp-shooter J.J. Redick should flourish now that Turkoglu and Lee are gone.
3. Blazers: Anytime you have Andre Miller as your backup point guard, you know your team is deep. Portland also has a trio of guard/forwards in Travis Outlaw, Rudy Fernandez and Martell Webster who all have versatility and are athletic. If they go with Greg Oden to start, Joel Przybilla could be the best backup center in the league. Juwan Howard’s minutes will be scarce, but his experience and leadership will be a welcome addition. Third-string point guard, Jerryd Bayless has the talent to be a starting point guard some day, but will have to wait his turn since Portland is loaded at that position.
4. Washington: If Washington stays healthy, they have one of the most dangerous teams in the NBA. If Flip Saunders opts to go with Mike Miller as the starting two guard, then DeShawn Stevenson will be a quality sixth man for Washington. Andray Blatche and JaVale McGee are two up-and-coming big man who can block shots and finish at the basket. Randy Foye is a talented guard who can get you buckets off the bench. Nick Young and Dominic McGuire are also capable of contributing if given minutes.
5. Spurs: The Spurs might have one of the most reliable benches in the NBA. Manu Ginobili is probably the league’s best sixth man. He has all-star talent and can be the team’s go-to guy down the stretch. Although Michael Finley is aging, his experience and basketball IQ will help the Spurs, especially in the postseason. Like Robert Horry before, Finley can also hit big shots in crunch time. DeJuan Blair will prove to be the steal of the draft. He who will provide inside toughness and rebounding off the bench for Gregg Popovich’s squad. George Hill, Matt Bonner and newly acquired Keith Bogans will also be key contributors for San Antonio’s championship run.
What other NBA teams have great second units?
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