Top Five Eastern Confrence Benches

August 2, 2009 · Print This Article

by Micheal Malcolm…

Most contenders have to rely on their depth in order to avoid the pitfalls that come with contending for a championship. Despite the changing NBA landscape where the gap in between the contenders and pretenders are growing, depth still plays a key role in winning it all.

So I am choosing to base the top five benches off of these factors: Ability to play with the starting unit, overall talent level, players that could start for most teams, and understanding of their roles\specialties within their system. Without further ado Our Top 5 Benches in the East (of course in my opinion)

While I’m sure some people will not agree with my selections for the East, bottom line is that other than these five teams who can match up with them from a bench perspective?

Disagree with me? Missed your Favorite Team? Sound off.

1. Cleveland Cavaliers

I know I am surprised myself. When I was running down the rosters of the Cavs I realized that well they have O’Neal now (Silly I know).

So that means that Big Z either is a backup OR he will start at the power forward position (unlikely). So with a second unit of Big Z, J.J Hickson (very underrated), Daniel Gibson, Jamario Moon, and Delonte West the Cavaliers have a wonderful mix of power, athletism, youth, and experience.

This at least in the East is an ideal bench in a position to tip the balance of power in a playoff series.

2. Washington Wizards

That huge pre-draft trade with Minnesota has paved the way for an improved Wizards bench featuring Randy Foye who can be quite effective when healthy.

JaVale McGee showed an impressive improvement from his rookie year in the summer league, Mike James can show up when he’s in the mood, DeShawn Stevenson is a known defensive stopper and if Andrew Blatche can stop soliciting prostitutes for a minute he can also make a huge contribution to the depth and talent level for this team.

Oh yes and Nick Young has the potential to be good, very good

3. Toronto Raptors

I have cast aside any bias I have and ranked the Raptors third. My reasons? Jarrett Jack, and Reggie Evans. The supplemental arguments are DeMar DeRozan, Roko Ukic, and new acquisitions Marco Belinelli or Antoine Wright for added punch offensively or defensively.

It just makes that much sense. Granted working against them is having that Marcus Banks character on the roster, with Patrick (waste of space) O’Bryant.

The Raptors really have put together a formidable bench to hopefully avoid some of those depth issues that plagued them last year.

4. Chicago Bulls

This is what you end up with when you have several assets and an incompetent GM who cannot turn them into anything.

So the Bulls bench will likely consist of John Salmons/Kirk Hinrich, Jannero Pargo (a younger, better defending Eddie House) Joakim Noah (the ultimate energizer bunny, at the cost of offense) rookie James Johnson and Taj Gibson are big bodies that are willing rebounders and will learn how to do the dirty work inside (hopefully).

5. Milwaukee Bucks

Please don’t laugh. The Bucks are not going to be a good team but their bench is almost interchangeable with their starting lineup as some of those starters have not lived up to expectations or are one-dimensional players (cough Michael Redd cough).

The key to their position is the potential re-signing of Ramon Sessions who is a starting point guard in this league.

With hulking (albeit underachieving) Amir Johnson, helpful pieces Kurt Thomas, Fransico Elson and Joe Alexander, do-it-all (in a limited fashion) Malik Allen, Charlie Bell (another streaky shooter), Brandon Jennings and the NBA-Ready Jodie Meeks coming on board the Bucks have an amazing bench. It’s the starting lineup that gives me pause.

Honorable Mention: Detroit Pistons

The Pistons are very similar to the Bucks with the overall depth for their bench. However since the Pistons don’t even have a full roster as of today’s date I can’t comment however a potential bench of Will Bynum, Ben Gordon, Charlie V. and Chris Wilcox is certainly a great start.


8 Responses to “Top Five Eastern Confrence Benches”

  1. Today's Piston Pieces 8/2/09 - Detroit Pistons Fan Community - on August 2nd, 2009 7:42 am

    [...] bench of Will Bynum, Ben Gordon, Charlie V. and Chris Wilcox is certainly a great start." Top Five Eastern Confrence Benches : T.O. Sports __________________ "What in the wide, wide world of sports is going on here?!" Slim [...]

  2. Morning Coffee Aug 2 - Raptors Republic - Raptors Blog ESPN True Hoop on August 2nd, 2009 8:31 am

    [...] T.O. Sports I have cast aside any bias I have and ranked the Raptors third. My reasons? Jarrett Jack, and Reggie Evans. The supplemental arguments are DeMar DeRozan, Roko Ukic, and new acquisitions Marco Belinelli or Antoine Wright for added punch offensively or defensively. [...]

  3. JJ on August 2nd, 2009 11:47 am

    The best bench in the league isn’t even in your top 5.

    The Orlando magic have Matt Barnes, Marcin Gortat, Brandon Bass, Mickael Pietrus and JJ Redick coming off their bench. They easily rival Cleveland for best bench in the league.

  4. Steve on August 2nd, 2009 12:12 pm

    It is nice to see that the Raps HAVE a bench this year, but I wouldn’t be worried too much about depth at the 11-15th spots. Once a team starts relying on the 3rd string to win games, that’s usually a sign of unsolvable problems for the season. (Unless BCo can work some Magic like the Magic did last year)

    Fortunately for the Raps, Roko has now moved back into the 3rd string and can fight it out with Quincy for garbage minutes and the right to back-up the guards in case of injuries. Banks sits at 14th, waiting for the Raps to pick up a minimum salary guy so he can move to 15th on the roster. POB could use some competition at the 13th spot - but unless we lose a big for an extended period, POB is a practice player only. (Waves at Joey - hopes for someone better)

    Its nice to go into a season with “good feelings”!

  5. Norm on August 2nd, 2009 2:27 pm

    Noah on the Bulls Bench?

    Are you a lunatic? I think you are!

  6. Hoopsman on August 2nd, 2009 2:31 pm

    I like the look of the team, BC has done a great job at giving us Raps fans hope, and thats all you can ask for after a crappy season we had.

  7. toasterhands on August 2nd, 2009 5:40 pm

    Villanueva coming off the bench??

    Might want to change that bub. Detroit signed him to be the PF.

  8. Dave on August 3rd, 2009 4:27 pm

    I’m less optimistic about the Raptors bench. I thought it was a poor unit at first sight … but after reading this article I decided to take a little bit of time and check out other team’s benches to see how the Raps measured up.

    After looking at the other team’s benches, I felt that the Raptors had one 10 worst benches (bottom third) in the league.

    I think the squad has a very good-to-excellent backup guard in Jarrett Jack, but very weak backup wings (Belinelli + Wright), and mediocre backup bigs who are so-so fits on the roster (Evans, Rasho).

    Then the roster has further problems at the end off the bench, because I think the Raps have four players (Banks, Roko, Douby, O’Bryant) who can’t be relied upon once the games start. That’s a lot of dead weight at the end of the roster. So if one rotation player gets injured, even a backup player like Reggie Evans, the Raptors have a very weak fill in player until that rotation player returns.

    I think the lack of quality of the Raptors bench will be a major problem again for Toronto next season.

    Note: I didn’t include DeRozan in with the bench mob … because I expect him to start. If he comes off the bench, and say Antoine Wright starts, that would help improve the Raptors bench.

    Anyways, that’s just my thoughts on the Raptors bench.

Got something to say?