Almost everybody who has played basketball since grade school wants to be a starter. But in the NBA, even quality players must be resigned to coming off the bench.
It's a job that calls for stars to swallow their pride and ego, and sacrifice for the team.
This week, we're ranking the top 10 top bench players in the league, based largely on last season's performance. One requirement: Players must have come off the bench for more games than they started.
Think a player's ranking is too high or too low? Voice your opinion by writing in the comments field below.
Bench ranking: 10th
Current team: Phoenix Suns
Age on Feb. 17, 2011: 28
Seasons in NBA: 4
Total games/games played off bench: 80/66.
Stats coming off bench: Gortat played in 80 games between Orlando and Phoenix stops, averaging 10.2 points and 7.9 rebounds overall. He blossomed with the Suns, averaging 13.0 points and 9.3 rebounds in 55 games after being traded.
What makes him a terrific bench player: Gortat, traded last December from Orlando to Phoenix, made himself into a quality NBA big man after starting his career overseas. He played nearly three seasons behind all-star Dwight Howard and learned the game. Gortat had been frustrated with his limited playing time, especially last season. Although he started just 13 games, he proved his worth with the Suns in 32 games as a reserve. He has decent athleticism, size and good feet, which allows him to rebound defensively and offensively. Gortat fed off the pick-and-roll with veteran Steve Nash, rolling to the basket. He cocks his shot back over his head, but it's unlikely any shooting coach will change his technique at this point.