Reggie Bullock – Dallas Mavericks
Bullock started off the season poorly but has turned it around and is back to being a sniper from 3 point land and providing defense and unselfish play. Upping his 3P% to a respectable 37% on 5 attempts per game has Bullock as a dangerous threat once again as he spaces the floor for the new elite duo of Doncic and Irving. But the biggest, and perhaps most important, part of his game this year is his defense and high basketball IQ. Bullock will be playing the 4 a lot going forward on the perimeter-centric Mavericks team and his positional awareness on the defensive end goes unnoticed but is key in what Dallas will want to do.
Isaiah Hartenstein – New York Knicks
When you’re a backup big in the league you need to have at least one of these two traits to get playing time: 3 point shooting and/or rebounding/hustle. Hartenstein is nonstop energy off the bench for the Knicks as he hustles for loose balls, fights in the paint, and brings a level of physicality that doesn’t show up in the box score. At $8M/year, Hartenstein brings great value and is the perfect backup center for a Knicks team full of score-first players like Brunson, Randle, and Barrett. When you have physical big that knows his role, isn’t afraid of contact, and averages nearly 7 RPG on 20 MPG, then you know you have something working and that’s the Knicks right now.
Jevon Carter – Milwaukee Bucks
Carter got his shot in the league as a point of attack defender, picking up ballhandlers full court and being an overall pest on defense. But after getting acquired by the Bucks last year, Carter has turned into the perfect backup for Jrue Holiday as he continues the stellar defense that Holiday plays with to the second unit. It’s obvious that Carter’s best part of his game is his defensive abilities, but his 40% 3 point shooting on nearly 4 attempts per game is phenomenal considering he is playing off-ball quite a bit with Giannis running the show. Contenders need guys who can step in and play within the flow of their team without trying to do too much, and the Bucks have that with Carter.