Discussion

Leslie, Leonard fit NBA style

Updated: May 6, 2011, 3:25 PM ET
By David Thorpe

Watching the NBA playoffs is a great way to see why teams value some players over others. Anyone can appreciate guys who can shoot, score or rebound. But every possession becomes so important in the NBA playoffs, so each action gets magnified and scrutinized.

One trend hitting the league right now, especially in the postseason, is the way teams are sending their athletes from the weak side to hunt drivers attacking the rim and try to block or aggressively contest the shot. We can see guys abandon their man spotting up behind the 3-point line in order to crash down to make that paint play while depending on a teammate to chase out the open shooter should the man with the ball kick it out. In numerous cases, more than one helper runs into the paint to make that play. There are teams sitting home now and dreaming of fielding athletes like Tony Allen, Sam Young, Serge Ibaka, Trevor Ariza, Joel Anthony, Ronnie Brewer, etc., to help make plays for them defensively. Of that group, and there are others to consider, only Brewer was a lottery pick, but each guy has been a huge part of his team's success. So which players currently projected outside the top 10 stand to gain from this trend?

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