Examining the league's top free-agent role players

July 15, 2009

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: