During this summer's free-agent and trading bonanzas, literally all of the media attention has gone to the high-profile players who have switched allegiances. Guys like Shaq, Vince Carter, Rasheed Wallace, Ron Artest, Ben Gordon, Richard Jefferson and Charlie Villanueva. Guys who are mostly top-of-the line scorers, with only Rasheed, RJ and Ron-Ron also gaining kudos for their defense. And guys who will presumably make a highly noticeable impact on their new teams.
However, there are several players whose respective changes of address have not been as universally noted, but who will likewise have a considerable influence on the fortunes of their latest employers. Guys who are role players and whose primary contributions will not necessarily be reflected in numbers.
Let's take a close look at some of these players and analyze how important those contributions might be.
Anthony Parker to the Cavs
For the past several years, Cleveland's most overriding offseason concerns have been to surround LeBron with the "right" players. That is, to focus on accomplished shooters and/or scorers who would hopefully make opponents pay dearly for collapsing their defenses around LBJ's irresistible forays into the paint.
These recruits include Mo Williams, Wally Szczerbiak, Damon Jones, Larry Hughes, Flip Murray, Donyell Marshall, Sasha Pavlovic, Lucious Harris, Jeff McGinnis, Jiri Welsch, Ricky Davis, Jason Kapono, Daniel Gibson and Dajuan Wagner.
The results have been mixed, yet disappointing overall.
Shaq, of course, will be the Cavs' featured addition. But, in deviating from their usual modus operandi, Cleveland has also obtained the services of one of the best role players in the game.
Here's what Anthony Parker will bring to the mix:
Songaila doesn't possess A-plus skills in any of the common aspects of the game. He's a slightly better-than-average shooter (with limited range), rebounder and passer, and has very rudimentary ball-handling talents.
On the high-plus side, though, he's an earnest defender and can make his free throws. Even so, the best parts of Songaila's game are his energy, his discipline and his smarts.
So much of a given team's success depends not only on talent which every NBA team has in abundance but also on the ability of its players to execute at both ends of the court. Getting the ball to the right player in the right place at the right time is what wins games on offense. On defense, the key to success is being able to execute swift, coordinated and flawless rotations.
Songaila is the ultimate facilitator whose value can only be discerned if the diligent viewer studiously tracks his movements through a game.
Whoever winds up coaching the T-Wolves will undoubtedly come to feel that Songaila is one of his favorite players.