Today is Unsung Player Day around the NBA Blogosphere as declared by our friend Don of With Malice. Unsung Player Day is a nifty way of giving some props to the NBA players that go unrecognized for their daily effort, As Don pointed out, they are the glue of the NBA and their teams. They are the players who allow the stars to rest for about ten minutes a game. They are the ones who are fighting for positions on some team every summer. They are unheralded and unsung for their effort. So they, players like Sebastian Telfair and Oleksiy Pecherov, are worthy of note for at least one day of the year.
It is fitting however that Unsung Player Day falls on the last day of this putrid season for the Knicks. It is also fitting that given how Coach D'Antoni has shuffled his players this season and how Donnie Walsh has shuffled and spent his expiring contracts, it was extremely difficult to select someone worthy of Unsung Player of the season for the Knicks based on Don's definition. An unsung player is "A role player who gives his all in the 2-5 minutes he gets per game (try to be definitely under 10 minutes). Someone who doesn't get a lot of recognition."
Bizarre, but there are only three players who averaged under 10 minutes per game this season and none of them play for the Knicks now: Darko Milicic (dancing with the Wolves), Marcus Landry (swimming with the fishes after being waived by the Celts on April 9th) and Eddie Curry (hanging out at Men's Warehouse looking for a body bag that fits). Jordan Hill, the lottery rookie, played a little more than ten but he is doing some personal development with the Rockets now. Otherwise the closest we come to someone still on the team with more than 10 games under his shorts is Jonathan Bender who was a roster-filler plucked out of retirement by his bud Donnie Walsh to play in 25 games one of which was a very energized debut game.
So since Jordan Hill was traded, we honor, as evidence that D'Antoni had no clue all year long: Jonathan Bender for working so hard to get back into NBA shape and making a go of it with the Knicks. He averaged 4.7 points and 2.1 rebounds in very limited action, but we love relatively successful comeback stories, but admittedly would be happier if the Knicks didn't have so many of them in the same year.
HAPPY UNSUNG PLAYER DAY YA'LL