These players are absolutely essential to the success a team has today, especially in the playoffs when defenses hone in on star players a bit more and supporting casts are required to step up.
Michael Cooper Years played: 1979-1990 Career stats: 8.9 points, 4.2 assists, 3.2 rebounds, 1.2 steals, 2.5 FG3/100 possessions, 34.0 FG3%
Cooper is considered the originator of the 3-and-D role in the NBA. He was one of the toughest defenders in the league during his 12-season career, never backing down from meeting an opposing player at the rim for a block, or coming away with a steal.
Bruce Bowen Years played: 1997-2009 Career stats: 6.1 points, 2.8 rebounds, 1.2 assists, 4.7 FG3/100 possessions, 39.3 FG3%
Arguably the greatest 3-and-D player in NBA history, Bowen’s 3-point shooting was just as dominant as his defense.
Shane Battier Years played: 2002-2014 Career stats: 8.6 points, 4.2 rebounds, 1.8 assists, 5.7 FG3/100 possessions, 38.4 FG3%
Battier’s career is a prime example of the longevity a player can have in the NBA if they can be a tough defender and shoot 3s at a high clip.