Higher ground

Rivals explain the emergence of Mickael Pietrus and Delonte West as key role players

Updated: May 30, 2009, 10:20 AM ET
By Chris Broussard and Ric Bucher | ESPN The Magazine

In the shadows of Superman and The King, sometimes the contributions of the supporting casts of the Orlando Magic and Cleveland Cavaliers can go unnoticed. But, as we discussed in the Western Conference finals regarding Nene Hilario and Trevor Ariza, overlooking the improvement of role players Mickael Pietrus and Delonte West would be unwise.

Coming off the bench for most of the regular season, Pietrus averaged 9.4 points per game for the Magic. Starting with the playoff series against the Celtics, he's upped that figure to 12.8, including a 17-point showing in Orlando's Game 4 OT win against Cleveland.

[+] EnlargeMickael Pietrus
Fernando Medina/NBAE/Getty ImagesMickael Pietrus has provided an unexpected weapon for the Magic.

Ric Bucher

NBA Reporter, ESPN The Magazine Senior Writer