Before I read the thread, I thought it was going to be a different angle. Not name specific players, but talking about certain roles. So without too much thought or analysis, I wrote up mine:
The Happy-To-Be-Their Guy: End of bench guy, who the fans love to see play. He knows he’s the 12th man, he knows he's not getting in the game, but cheers every play like it's the last second of a big game and it's his first time at a pro game. Always cheering his teammates on. And that rare time when his number is called, knows exactly what’s going on and exactly what he should do. Real life examples: Brian Scalabrine, Robert Sacre.
The If-I-Wasn’t-In-The-NBA-I’d-Be-In-The-WWE Guy: These guys are tough and scared of no one. Even though they’re fringe NBA players, they don’t back down from anybody. They go hard. They play hard. They foul hard. They have no problem knocking Kobe, LeBron, Wade down as they drive to the hoop. Not a bully, but an enforcer, as they’d go toe-to-toe with Karl Malone or Charles Barkley at a moment’s notice. You put these guys in the game, and hard fouls ensue. They grind it out, can grab boards, will dive for loose balls, and love playing physical. Real life examples: Brandon Hunter, Leon Powe, Mardy Collins.
The He’s-Still-In-The-League? Guy: Even a knowledgeable basketball fan is surprised when he sees this guy on the roster. Wow, he’s still in the league? Though said not in a “cuz this guy sucks” condescending sort of way, but in a “he’s been around forever” sort of respectable way. Classy, crafty veterans with a little bit of game left. Only used for spot minutes now, but great for mentoring the young guys and for the locker room as a whole. Not only have they played with and against the current NBA’s old superstars (Kidd, Duncan, Garnett), the current superstars (LeBron, Wade, Rose), and the next generation superstars (Griffin, Rubio, Irving), but also played with the previous 2-3 generations of stars (Magic, Jordan, Olajuwon). Sometimes been in the league longer than the rookies have been alive. Pretty limited skill set now, but still able to turn back the clock once or twice a year. Real life examples: Kurt Thomas, Juwan Howard.
The Utility-Infielder Guy: Doesn’t really do any one thing well, except play basketball. Mid-first round talent when they came into the league, maybe even got an early push on a rebuilding team, but didn’t quite have the overall skills to lead the way. Can play and defend at least 2-3 positions, and you can plug them into most specialty lineups. 3pt shooters lineup? Check. Free throw shooters lineup? Check. Small lineup? Check. Big lineup? Check. Defensive lineup? Check. Real life examples: James Posey. Courtney Lee.
The Why-Is-He-Starting Guy: This might be your 4th man, might be your 5th man, but the casual fan has no idea why he’s out there. Usually a big drop-off from the least of your star players to this guy. He’ll never be an All-Star, nor is he a starter on every team, but he’s a starter on your team. Usually a veteran, and there’ll be some young guy that most fans would rather see play over him. Yet he’s still out there. The thing is, he makes things run smoothly. He knows no plays will be called for him, he knows he has to do things that won’t show up in the box score. He sets picks, he stands out by the 3 point line, he brings the ball up then immediately passes off to the point forward, and he doesn’t complain, demand more shots, a bigger role, or ask to be traded. A lot of fans want to upgrade him, but if you replaced him with a better player, your team often plays worse as there’s suddenly not enough shots to keep everybody happy. Real life examples: Mario Chalmers, Kendrick Perkins, Brandon Bass.