Posted: 2/25/2009 9:36:46 PM
I've been watching a lot of pro ball these days and I've picked up on a few players that are - in my opinion - important to their team, but wouldn't move a line much if they were out.
In no particular order:
Chris Duhon - The reason Nate Robinson is coming off the bench for the Knicks is because of Duhon's steady play. Mike D'Antonio's system demands a point guard who can push the ball, make good decisions and shoot. The former Dukie fills all those requirements. He's not too flashy but outside of David Lee I don't think there's hooper more important to the Knicks' success.
If Duhon was out of the lineup I'd shave 1.5 or 2 points off the line for New York.
Mike Miller - His scoring is down this season, but if you watch many T-Wolves games (I think Rick Kamla and I are the only ones doing that these days) you'll notice the offense actually runs through Miller. The dude wearing the lady-like handband is aggressive off the dribble, attacks the rack and creates open looks for teammates.
Randy Foye and Sebastian Telfair have improved their outside touch because defenses are collapsing on Miller.
If Miller were in street clothes I'd downgrade Minny by as much as 4 points. Don't laugh... he really is that valuable to the Wolves.
Luis Scola - The big Argentinian has been a Godsend for Rick Adleman. With all the injuries the Rockets have endured this season, Scola has been the one consent. He does the dirty work setting solid screens and keeping balls alive with a relentless approach on the glass. And when Yao went down with an injury (as he often does) Scola picked up his offensive game to fill the void.
Scola is in the same range as Duhon - worthy of 1.5 to 2 points towards Houston's pointspread.
One other note on the Rockets - their play by play guys are telling anyone who'll listen that the Rockets are better off without Tracy McGrady. If you've watched Houston play many times this season, you'd have to agree with opinion.
Pretty incredible that A) homer announcers are openly criticizing a player on their team and B) Tracy McGrady went from Kobe Bryant's rival to a guy who's afraid of contact and shoots below 30 percent in most games.
Did I miss someone? Tell me about someone you think deserves to be in this list and give me a prediction on how much the player is worth to their team's line.