While some players have already played themselves out of big contracts during this past postseason (I’m talking to you J.R. Smith), there are others who have thrived in the limelight. In fact, there are a handful of guys who you may not have expected to play such a large role during their teams playoff run but nonetheless have certainly made both a name and some extra money.
As a result, we’re looking at five under-the-radar players who have made themselves some more money during the 2013 NBA Playoffs.
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5. MARCO BELINELLI
Belinelli played a larger role for Chicago down the stretch than originally expected but he also shined while doing so. The Italian sharpshooter showcased his abilities as a viable wing option for any team looking for a proven playoff performer. Belinelli provided the Bulls with a lift in Games 6 and 7 in the first round by dropping 20-plus points on both occasions, and certainly proved that he is worth more than the $1.96 million that he was under contract for this year. With multiple free-agent decisions to be made in Chi-Town and a possible multi-year deal awaiting Belinelli in free agency this offseason, the Bulls may have to retool their bench once again.
4. TONY ALLEN
Tony Allen is fresh off both his First Team All-Defensive Selection and his Academy Award, but it has come at a low cost for the “Grit n’ Grind” gang down in Memphis. When he last hit the free agency market, Allen wanted to stay in Boston, but Celtics GM Danny Ainge would only offer him a two-year deal after helping Boston get to two NBA Finals in three years. Three years later, T.A. is the one who has had the last laugh. Allen proved to be a bargain for Memphis after making only $3 million in each of his three years in Memphis and will hit the market once again this summer. With his ability to lock down the opposing team’s best player and his improved offensive output that featured a 19-point, 7-assist, 6-rebound statline in Game 7 of round one versus L.A., Allen will definitely be a hot commodity come July.
3. CHRIS ANDERSEN
Birdman, Birdman! After Pat Riley completed the heist of Chris Andersen back in January, the 10-year tatted vet has had plenty of time to work himself into Erik Spoelstra‘s rotation. He came into his zone during this year’s playoffs. While I don’t think anyone will be offering Birdman a massive deal in the near future, I do think that his astounding efficiency has warranted an upgrade from the league minimum that he currently makes. As of a few months ago, Miami was the lone team in pursuit of the Birdman’s services but that won’t be the case come this offseason. Andersen has provided Miami with the consistent frontcourt presence that they have longed for, going 35-for-41 from the field (85 percent) throughout the playoffs. Birdman’s ability to anchor the paint has allowed Chris Bosh to step out and play his game from 15 feet and beyond without having to do all of the dirty work inside. The energy that Andersen brings on a nightly basis is unmatched and has teams kicking themselves for not being the ones to scoop him up this past January. While Birdman is past the point of his career in which a lengthy contract extension is due, an increase in pay for the veteran big fella is certainly in order.
2. JARRETT JACK
Jack came to the Bay Area this season to provide Mark Jackson‘s club with a strong veteran presence off the bench that would fit right into Golden State’s style of play. After being traded this past offseason from New Orleans, Jack made $4.5 million this year while averaging 17.4 points, 4.7 assists and 4.5 rebounds per game in this year’s playoffs, taking his game to a completely new level with six 20-plus-point games. While Jack has certainly thrived in the Warriors’ uptempo system, there is no doubt that he is valued as a legitimate starting point guard in this league after his playoff performances. If Jack stays, I think it will give him the best chance to win a championship going forward as Golden State is only going to improve over the next few years. But don’t be surprised if a team who is one point guard away from being a contender comes knocking at his door with a fat contract that he can’t refuse.
1. NATE ROBINSON
With Derrick Rose on his “Suit & Tie” steez, Kryptonate had big shoes to fill coming into this postseason. During their regular 82-game season, Nate served as a serviceable lead guard under Tom Thibodeau, who reunited with the 5-9 guard after coaching him as an assistant in Boston. While Robinson was never expected to put on a show like Derrick Rose this past postseason, he sure came close, stirring up a playoff buzz that had us all glued to our TVs in awe. The little big man led the Bulls with 16.3 points and 4.4 assists per game. This included his outstanding performance against Brooklyn in Game 4 of their first-round matchup in which he dropped 34 points off the bench before fouling out in their crucial triple-overtime victory. With 23 of those points coming in the fourth quarter, Robinson fell just two points shy of breaking Michael Jordan‘s fourth-quarter scoring record with the Bulls. Nate’s playoff highlights also included coming-out-of-nowhere block on LeBron James from behind while the American Airlines Arena remained stunned.
While proving to his doubters that he can not only cause serious damage in the playoffs, but that he can also orchestrate an offense from the point guard position, Robinson will be able to have job security for the first time in his career. After playing on league minimum contracts for the last two years in Golden State and Chicago, the State of Nate will no longer be ballin’ on a budget.
Which players have gained the most from the playoffs?
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