Which under the radar players are making things happen this week?
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Photo Credit: Ronald Martinez/Getty Images[/caption]
The NBA is filled with stars who put up 30 points a night and are rightfully discussed endlessly through all forms of media.
But what about the other guys on the team who we don’t know about? The guys who make a substantive yet unrecognised contribution towards helping their teams get the W.
To highlight the efforts of these “unsung heroes,” each week I am going to nominate three players who have gone out and got the job done with no fuss. A greater weight will go towards those players who helped their teams have winning weeks, rather than those whose teams went 0-4.
We are one week into the NBA season and so far there are still five teams that are undefeated. The three nominations this week are guys who have played a big part in helping their teams get off to a flying start this NBA season.
Kawhi Leonard (SAS)
The Spurs are a perfect 3-0 to start the season and Leonard is a major reason behind this. Leonard kicked off his season with 19 points and seven rebounds to go along with a whopping five steals, as the Spurs edged out the Hornets by four points.
pick out of San Diego State had a quiet game against the Thunder but again racked up another five steals. His last steal was the most important of the season to this point. With seven seconds left on the clock and scores level, the Thunder had possession of the ball and were going to take the last shot with a chance to win the game. Enter Leonard, who steals the ball of Russell Westbrook, completely turning the game on its head and setting up Tony Parker’s game-winning buzzer beater.
The 21-year-old finished off a great week, shooting 100 per cent from the field and the line to help rack up 13 points, to go along with five rebounds and three assists in the Spurs 110-100 win over the Jazz.
Steve Novak (NYK)
Forget Jeremy Lin New York; Steve Novak is now your man. Novak’s five 3-pointers were daggers in the heart of the Miami Heat and helped New York to a 20-point victory over the defending NBA champions. Novak finished with 17 points, including shooting 62.5 per cent from beyond the arc, providing some happiness for the New Yorkers that are still suffering from the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy.
The 29-year-old former Marquette star signed his first ever multi-year deal this off season, and if his performance against the Heat is anything to go by, he is going to be worth every cent. If Novak can continue to perform at this level during the season, it will go a long way towards the Knicks’ being a major threat in the Eastern Conference.
While Novak was quieter in the Knicks win over the 76er’s, finishing with two 3-pointers, his efforts in leading the Knicks to an inspirational win over the defending champs was good enough to get him a nomination this week.
Glen Davis (ORL)
This past offseason the unthinkable happened to the Orlando Magic—superman left the building. Surely the best the Magic could hope for this year would be the first pick in the 2013 NBA draft.
Well somebody forgot to tell Glen “Big Baby” Davis. Not only can Big Baby dance (check it out here
), but he has also been on fire to start the season. In the Magic’s win against the Nuggets, Davis put up 29 points, 10 rebounds and two blocks. He then backed that up with 22 points, 8 rebounds, 5 assists and 2 steals in the Magic’s win over Phoenix.
Davis, who has spent most of his career as a back-up in Boston, is now starting to show that he is not only a fantastic dancer, but can be a genuine contributor as a starter in NBA.
So that’s it for Week One of Unsung Heroes. Was there someone from your team who you feel deserves a shout out? If you think a player deserves a mention in next week’s edition, leave your comment below to make your voice heard.