There's no question that the NBA is star-driven and trending toward super teams, but more than 90 percent of the league is made up of role players. And the best of those role players are essential additions to any roster.
Here are several types of role players profiled by Schmitz:
The two-way combo forward:
Jae Crowder and Marcus Morris are good examples. Players with size and length who can defend, switch and shoot the ball with some reliability. Both were picked up by Boston via trades. Crowder is now with the Cleveland Cavaliers.
The three-and-D wing:
Semi Ojeleye, drafted by the Celtics in the second round of the NBA draft, fits the bill here. He is a solid wing defender who has the ability to hit the three-ball fairly reliably.
The three-and-D off-guard:
This type of player is very good defensively, may be a bit undersized for a shooting guard and can hit threes reliably. Avery Bradley was that guy for the Celtics prior to his trade to Detroit. Terry Rozier is that guy for the Celtics now. He was a first-round draft choice.
The energy big:
This guy needs to be agile, hard-working and rebound the ball at a high rate. Daniel Theis is this guy, and he is an undrafted European player who has adapted well to the NBA.
This player needs to defend, rebound and give hard fouls. You already know that Marcus Smart fits in well here. He was drafted by Boston in the first round.
What is needed here is an assertive athlete who can change the pace of a game at any moment. That would be Shane Larkin, signed by Boston as a free agent.
Danny Ainge wants superstars on his team, but they don't come cheap and the salary cap limits what a team can do financially. Role players are critical to a team's success, but they need to be well chosen. The above-mentioned players were brought in via the draft, free agency and trades. They have proven very effective in their roles. Their productivity-to-salary ratio is through the roof.
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Top photo via Matthew J. Lee/The Boston Globe via Getty Images
Bottom photo via Matt West/The Boston Herald