2012-13 NBA Unsung Heroes: Week 2
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 now two weeks in to the NBA season, and there is plenty of players putting their hands up for some Unsung Hero love this week. The Nuggets had a fantastic week, while, as sad as it makes me, it may be a while before we see a Pistons player grace this list.
Kenneth Faried (DEN)
I had high expectations for the Denver Nuggets coming into the 2012-13 NBA season. So I was a little surprised when they went 0-3 during week one of the regular season. They bounced back in a big way in week two, going 4-0 including a marathon double overtime win against the Golden State Warriors on Saturday night.
Kenneth Faried played a massive part in the Nuggets undefeated week, living up to his nickname of “The Manimal”. Faried was an absolute beast on the boards, averaging just fewer than 13 rebounds a game and posting three double doubles for the week.
What makes this even more impressive is that “The Manimal “had an incredible 25 offensive rebounds for the week, which allowed the Nuggets to overcome some poor field goal percentage and still put the wins on the board.
Denver coach George Karl certainly understands how important Faried has been for the Nuggets this week. “Kenneth’s energy on the boards and the offensive rebounds are giving us extra possessions so that we can survive shooting the ball as poorly as we’re shooting it right now,” he said.
Adding to these impressive rebounding numbers is the fact the 6-foot-8 power forward averaged close to 17 points, two blocks and one steal per game, and you can begin to understand the versatility that the 22nd pick out of Morehead State brings to an already immensely talented roster.
Joakim Noah (CHI)
With Derrick Rose out for the majority of the season, the entire Chicago Bulls roster was going to have to step up if they wanted to see playoff action. After going 2-1 this week, the Bulls lead the central division with a 4-2 record.
The former first round pick out of Florida had 17 points, seven rebounds, three assists and four blocks against the T-Wolves, in a superb all around effort.
The 27-year-old’s best performance of the week was against the Magic. Noah has 20 points, nine rebounds, 4 assists and 5 blocks, but what impressed me most occurred in the dying seconds of the game.
With 3.8 seconds left, the Bulls led the Magic 99-93. Chicago currently runs a promotion for fans, where if the Bulls score 100 points in a game, the fans all receive a free Big Mac. So Noah, despite having an NBA career record of 0-4 from downtown, decided to shoot a three to try and send the fans home happy with a free burger.
Unfortunately for both Joakim and the hungry Bulls fans, the shot was wide of the mark. A disappointed Noah said after the game that he “just got caught up in the moment and I was trying to get the people a Big Mac. They really wanted a Big Mac (judging by how loud the crowd was getting) and I felt like, not only did I take the shot and miss the shot, we didn’t even get the Big Mac.”
It goes without saying that Coach Tom Thibodeau was not happy and gave Noah a piece of his mind, but I will always appreciate a player who puts the fans first. This brave act alone has earned Noah an Unsung Hero nomination this week.
DeAndre Jordan (LAC)
The LA Clippers’ center has always been able to crash the boards and block a ton of shots. To put it simply, he is a defensive beast. But the thing that impressed me most about Jordan this week was his ability to put points on the board. The 6-foot-11 Houston native put together three games of 10 points or more, tying his career high.
The second round pick out of Texas A&M was influential in leading the Clippers to a 3-1 record this week. No doubt his most impressive performance this week came against the San Antonio Spurs. DeAndre had 20 points, 11 rebounds, four blocks and two steals as the Clippers smashed the previously unbeaten Spurs to the tune of 22 points.
Jordan’s efficiency on the offensive end makes him even more valuable. DeAndre shot almost 75 per cent from the floor and even hit 70 per cent from the charity stripe, which has caused him issues in the past.
If Jordan can continue this kind of production on both ends of the court, the Clippers may just prove to be an elite team in a packed Western Conference.
So that’s it for Week Two 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…