The Miami Heat's Dwyane Wade (3) and LeBron James (6) will need help from their teammates to get by the San Antonio Spurs in the NBA Finals. (Source: Keith Allison/Flickr)
(RNN) – At this point, everyone with any interest in the NBA Finals knows LeBron James and Tim Duncan. It's time the guys behind them get some love, too.
As the Miami Heat and San Antonio Spurs prepare to kick off this year's championship series Thursday, the narrative of the two superstars has been examined at length.
James – recognized as the best player in the game today – can build his legacy with a second straight title. Duncan – maybe the greatest power forward ever – can cement his legacy with a fourth ring 14 years after winning his first.
Nearly as popular are the players who make up the remainder of the two teams' "Big 3s." Swingman Manu Ginobili and point guard Tony Parker make the Spurs' high-speed offense go by distributing the ball, hitting perimeter shots and slashing to the basket.
He's the guy with hair like a cockatoo who likes to fly through the air and grab rebounds. When he does well, he sticks his arms out like he's flying.
If you're still not sure which one he is, the "FREEBIRD" tattoo across his neck should narrow it down.
Signed midway through the season, Andersen gave Miami some toughness down low. He's also been hyper-efficient, getting most of his points off rebounds and within three feet of the basket.
Matt Bonner, San Antonio Spurs
16.5 minutes per game, 50 percent on 3-pointers, 2.3 rebounds.
No. 15, at 6'10", continues the proud tradition of "Big and Tall 3-point Specialist" for the Spurs – past incarnations included Danny Ferry and Robert Horry.
The strategy revolves around the guy standing still in the far corner of the court, waiting until the other team forgets about him, and then somebody passes him the ball for a wide-open shot. It works more than you would think.
Bonner also is a solid rebounder and gives the Spurs another big body they can throw at the other team's top post player, keeping teammates out of foul trouble.