Earlier today, you probably read SB Nation’s Andrew Sharp kick off his weekly NBA Talking Points with a discussion of championship-winning role players that every team seems to have. (If you haven’t read it, click here, read it, and come back). Sharp termed a new phrase for these guys, calling them “Poseys” after the venerable James Posey, a key cog in two title-winning teams recently (Miami in 2006, Boston in 2008).
What’s a “Posey?” Sharp explains:
We’re talking about athletic swingmen that can defend the other team’s best player, and on the offensive end, stretch the court with perimeter shooting. Every title team since the Kobe/Shaq Lakers has had one. Last year, it was Trevor Ariza making crucial steals and backbreaking 3s for the Lakers in the playoffs. The year before, James Posey played the role to a T for Boston. For all of those Spurs titles, there was Bruce Bowen—killing teams with the corner three, and harassing superstars on defense. For Detroit in 2004, Tayshaun Prince did the same thing. For Miami in 2006, it was James Posey again.
Every year, the title team has a guy like Posey, always on the court for his defense, and with a knack for making big plays on offense. So why not just call this weird position a “Posey”? When you imagine the “glue guy” or “role player” that I’m describing, there’s a good bet you’re imagining Posey*, or maybe Bowen. So “Posey” it is.
This of course begs the question – which players on the Lakers and Cavaliers are “Poseys?” Here’s a few candidates:
Anthony Parker: The 34-year old may not have much NBA experience, but as a member of Israeli powerhouse Maccabi Tel-Aviv before the NBA, he’s been in his share of big games. Parker’s the Cavaliers player asked to check the opponent’s top perimeter scorer, and he can also handle the ball pretty well for a shooting guard. Throw in his outstanding stroke (second in the league in three-point percentage), and he’s everything you’d want.
Delonte West: Is he a little smaller than ideal? Probably. But West is a ferocious defender despite his lack of size (just ask Gilbert Arenas), a brilliant ball-handler who rarely turns it over, and is equally adept at spotting up off someone else’s penetration or, if necessary, creating a shot for himself when the Cavaliers’ offense inevitably stumbles.
Anderson Varejao: An annoying frontcourt player, so perhaps not the best comparison, but if you crafted the frontcourt version of a Posey, Varejao, because of all the little things he does, would head the list.
Jamario Moon: Moon still takes bad shots sometimes, but he’s extremely athletic, a great defender and a fantastic finisher in transition.
Notice anything about this list? They’re all Cavs. Who can be that “Posey” for the Lakers? Ron Artest has the game, but who can trust him to keep that temperament in the playoffs? Derek Fisher has really slowed down, and is essentially starting because the Lakers can’t find anyone better. Other than those two, which bench guy can step up? The Lakers might need to make a trade to fill the vacancy left by Ariza’s departure to Houston.
What’s that? Game’s starting? Okay, I’m out.