It is often said that it doesn’t matter who starts, but who finishes.Throughout the history of the league, this saying has proven to be quite true indeed. Each year, the top teams have one thing in common, a strong bench.Typically, the first one off the bench sets the tone for the rest of the game, and the truly great ones tend to end the game playing a major role in the outcome of the game.They typically aren’t nearly as celebrated and only in the past 30 years have they been recognized at all. But make no mistake about it, the sixth men of the league have been just as important as those that proceeded them.Here are the Top 10 sixth men of all time.10. Jason Terry1 of 10I’ll admit, part of the reason Jason Terry is on this list is because his Mavs won the title this year. Had they not, I think Ben Gordon would have merited serious consideration for this spot.But it is hard to argue with his numbers. Since he became a primary sixth man in 2008, he has consistently been over 15 points per game while delivering clutch three point shooting and lightning quickness.The interesting thing about Terry is that he was actually a pretty successful player as a starter, but it took going to Dallas and their coaching staff having better options at point guard to move him to the sixth man spot. But he truly is becoming one of the great ones before our eyes.Andy Lyons/Getty ImagesI will admit, I took plenty of criticism for leaving John Starks off of my “Most Underrated” list. And although I still maintain that it is impossible to be considered underrated when playing in New York, Starks’ career was nonetheless noteworthy.Though he was only a sixth man for about half of his career, that is where he was his most effective, helping to lead the Knicks to a number of deep playoff runs.Starks was the perfect fit on his team, a very good perimeter defender, a three point specialist on offense and an athletic marvel in the open court.Starks was a one time All Star, one time Sixth Man of the Year winner and a one time second team All Defensive team selection.Though known as a trash talker, his 17 points per 36 minutes did the real talking.8. Eddie Johnson3 of 10True, Johnson was not a primary scorer on a lot of winning clubs. And true, he didn’t have the name brand recognition of others on this list.But what he was, however, was a tremendous scorer off the bench.From 1986 until the end of his career in 1999, Johnson became a super sub. Over that course of time, he averaged over 14 points per game eight consecutive seasons with a high tide mark of 21.5 in 1989. He did that in just under 30 minutes per game.He was a solid three point shooter, but above all, he could get his shot off against anyone. The Chicago Bulls drafted Kukoc in 1990 but it took nearly four years and Michael Jordan’s retirement to bring the 6’10” swingman to the states.Though he never lived up to the lofty expectations placed on him, he was a tremendous talent that was known for his flawless passing ability, deft left handed touch and range that exceeded the three point line.Kukoc’s style fit in perfectly with the Bulls’ triangle offense, helping them win their second three peat of titles in the 1990’s.Kukoc won NBA Sixth Man of the Year award in 1996. For his career, cheap basketball jerseys from china
Kukoc averaged 16 points, six rebounds and five assists per 36 minutes.Also perhaps one of the most underrated players of all time, Ricky Pierce was, like Vinnie Johnson, the epitome of instant offense.