Why the 12th man matters
- Everyone has his favorite players on each NBA team. But you would be surprised that many of us root for the player who always seems to be wearing his warmups.
He's the ultimate understudy, the role player.
When his name is called, he's the guy who sprints to the scorer's table amid the hoots and hollers of scattered voices in the crowd. Until that time, he sits on the bench seemingly for an eternity. But when he's used, he's expected to play well.
An NBA team's 10th-to-12th man might play anywhere from 1-10 minutes per game or he might log 10 DNP-CD's (Did Not Play-Coach's Decision) in a row. For this guy, when his name is called, he had better play like it's his last NBA game. If he does not have a long-term contract, these precious minutes just might be his last in the league.
But these role players are not just practice fodder or seat fillers. The best benchwarmers are important to NBA teams. I'm going to tell you why these role players matter, name some of my favorites this season and list a few former 12th men who have become "successes" in the league.
To continue reading this article you must be an Insider
We see that you are not an ESPN Insider. Upgrade today and gain access to our exclusive coverage.
MORE NBA HEADLINES
- LeBron ditches mask without medical clearance
- Source: Phil considers Knicks front-office job
- LeBron happy to laud 'good friend' Ilgauskas
- Rodman: No return to North Korea if desired
MOST SENT STORIES ON ESPN.COM
- NBA Home
- Boston Celtics
- Brooklyn Nets
- New York Knicks
- Philadelphia 76ers
- Toronto Raptors
- Chicago Bulls
- Cleveland Cavaliers
- Detroit Pistons
- Indiana Pacers
- Milwaukee Bucks
- Atlanta Hawks
- Charlotte Bobcats
- Miami Heat
- Orlando Magic
- Washington Wizards
- Heat Index