With the Heat advancing to the Big Seven tournament, it's finally time for the most exciting round of the playoffs this season, with the Finals No. 1 Nuggets in the West vs the Heat, who are eighth in the East, in addition to the showdown between Jokic and Butler, the role players of both sides are also an important part. The Nuggets' Brown, Pope and others, the Heat's Martin, Vincent and other players, they all play a pivotal role on the team's way to promotion.
In fact, many role players in this year's playoffs took the opportunity to prove themselves in the game, and also gave themselves a chance to sign a big contract. The five players we counted today have not been cared for before, relying on their own strength and a little luck, they will most likely get an offer far beyond the annual salary of this season in the offseason, and we will see their performance next.
Bruce Brown (Nuggets)
Annual salary for the season: $6.47 million
Playoff average: 12.2 points, 3.9 rebounds and 2.2 assists while shooting 53.1% from the field
In recent interviews, Brown revealed to reporters his predicament in free agency last year, he was basically ignored throughout the offseason, and most teams stereotyped him as a guard who can only play power forward. So in the end, he could only sign a normal contract with the Nuggets, and he came here to prove himself, but only the Nuggets trusted him to help the team, and the Nuggets also let him play point guard again, which is no better for Brown.
The biggest contributor to the playoffs Nuggets is undoubtedly Jokic, but role players like Brown are also crucial, and Brown has played the best playoff game of his career this season. Especially in the Western Conference Finals against the Lakers, he found his spot for even the three-pointers he was least good at, and finally with his help, the Nuggets also swept the Lakers.
Now Brown's level of play has far exceeded his salary, and although he has not yet determined whether he will jump out of contract next season, if he does not suddenly pull across the Finals, jumping out of the contract is basically a sure thing. He is clearly worth more than a 6 million annual contract now, and it is relatively easy for him to get a few tens of millions of contracts in the offseason, and if he can help the Nuggets win the championship by then, this value may have to continue to rise.
Caleb Martin (Heat)
Annual salary for the season: $6.48 million
Playoff averages: 13.4 points, 5.5 rebounds and 1.6 assists, shooting 55.3% from the field and 42.2% from three-point range
As a role player, Martin was on the verge of being DNP in the playoffs last year, averaging only 12.3 minutes per game and contributing only 4.5 points and 2.2 rebounds. After signing a contract extension with the Heat this offseason, he didn't seem to have made any progress in this year's regular season, and eventually the Heat stumbled into the playoffs. But in the playoffs, Martin seemed to have the hang of it, and after the three-round series, he played the best moment of his career. After gaining the trust of the coaching staff, his playing time skyrocketed to 29.8 minutes, becoming an important role on the team's bench.
In the Heat's current three-round series, Martin's best game is the Eastern Conference Finals, and against the Celestials, he has become the Heat's second big one. Martin has cut 20+ in 3 of the 7 games, averaging 3.1 three-pointers per game, and in the most critical seven-game game, the Heat face a variety of objective factors that are not favorable to them, such as the road game and low momentum, Martin has once again become the savior of the team. He scored a game-high 26 points on 11-of-16 shooting, 4-of-6 three-point range, and had 10 rebounds and three assists as the Heat beat the Celtics at home to advance to the Finals.
Martin averaged 19.3 points per game, shooting 60 percent from the field and 49 percent from three-point range, compared to Brown, the Celtics' second-in-command, averaging just 19 points and 6.1 rebounds per game, shooting 42 percent from the field and 16 percent from three-point range. Looking at this round of performance, Martin can be said to have exploded Brown face to face, and in this offseason, he will most likely jump out of the contract to seek a big contract, and the player who has proven himself in the playoffs is not difficult for him.
Cameron Johnson (Nets)
Annual salary for the season: $5.88 million
Playoff averages: 18.5 points, 5.8 rebounds and 2.8 assists, shooting 50.9% from the field and 42.9% from three-point range
This year, Johnson was sent to the Nets midseason as a bargaining chip for the Suns to trade Durant, and with his help, the Nets secured their record and made the playoffs. This isn't Johnson's first playoff game, but it's the first playoff game in his career as a core, and he and Bridges are the Nets' biggest chips in the deal. Once in the Nets, the team can also develop his ball handling, not just treat him as a 3D.
Although the Nets were swept by the 76ers in the first round of the playoffs, this has nothing to do with the performance of one person, and the Nets and the 76ers are not a grade team overall. However, Johnson's performance in these four games is still very impressive, and the statistics are his career highs, not only the three-point and defensive are better, but also the ball has improved. That puts more pressure on the Nets, who have to make a choice between rebuilding or going on to the playoffs this offseason.
A player like Johnson is best suited for a team that is looking for results, but if the Nets are to rebuild next season, it doesn't make sense to renew him at a high price, he is now 27 years old after all, and the ceiling will not be particularly high. But if the Nets don't renew his contract, Johnson's entry into free agency will definitely be a sweet potato, a player who has proven more than once in the playoffs, and now the progress is still very obvious, no matter what system the team will try as long as there is salary space.
Conte di Vincenzo (Warriors)
Annual salary for the season: $4.5 million
Playoff averages: 5.5 points, 3 rebounds, 2.8 assists, 37.5% shooting
Devine played only 42 games last year due to injuries and trades, and although his performance was good, due to injuries, most teams were hesitant to make offers to him in the offseason, and finally let the Warriors pick up a leak. Devine has become a bench gangster for the Warriors this season, averaging 9.4 points, 4.5 rebounds and 3.5 assists per game in the regular season, and if it weren't for him, the Warriors might have faced a collapse in the regular season, with Curry and Wiggins missing a lot of games, forcing other Warriors players to take on as much responsibility as possible.
Although Divine's statistics have declined in the playoffs, his role for the Warriors is still very obvious, and his playing time decline is also because Curry's playing time is full in the playoffs, and it is normal for him to be compressed as a backup point guard. But as long as he is on the court, even if he feels bad, his defense and frontcourt rebounds can affect the game, and in the game when the Warriors are eliminated, Devine is the player the Warriors want to win the most.
Now that the Warriors season has ended early, many players on the team are facing contract extensions or early extensions, and Divin, who came to the Warriors to "gild" will most likely jump out of the contract, he has obviously achieved his goal now, even if he still wants to stay in the Warriors, but the team is likely to have no extra salary space to give him a big contract. And a quality role player like Devine, he is certainly not short of home in free agency, as long as he jumps out of the contract, he basically announces his departure.
Austin Reeves (Lakers)
Annual salary for the season: $1.56 million
Playoff averages: 16.9 points, 4.4 rebounds and 4.6 assists, shooting 46.4% from the field and 44.3% from three-point range
In 2021, Reeves took the initiative to tell other teams not to use a second-round pick to select him in order to join the Lakers, which is definitely a big bet for Reeves. But luckily Reeves joined the Lakers at just the right time for him, and the entire Lakers were a mess on and off the court last season, so Reeves also got some opportunities. Under Vogel, Reeves played very actively, and he was also called by James to be the one who really played with his brain, so even if there was a change of coach this year, Reeves' status in the team became higher and higher.
Reeves averaged 13 points per game and shot 52.9 percent from the field during the regular season this season, and during the time James was injured, Reeves became the Lakers' most reliable player on the outside. In the playoffs, Reeves did not adapt to the defensive intensity of the playoffs as the outside world said, but he played better and better and played 36.2 minutes, it can be said that the best ball carrier of the playoffs Lakers besides James is Reeves. Although the West Lakers were swept away, Reeves averaged 21 points, 4 rebounds and 5 assists per game, shooting 55% + 56% from the field, which became the biggest surprise for the Lakers.
It is foreseeable that there will be a large number of teams to offer Reeves in the offseason, go to a weak team in terms of his current performance, and even be a second-in-command. Reeves' ball intelligence in the strong team can also help him quickly integrate into the new system, but according to previous reports, the Lakers will match any offer from other teams for Reeves, which will most likely be a contract with an average salary of about 20 million, which is more than ten times more than his annual salary this year.