Some players thrive coming off the bench to give their team instant offense. Think back to high-energy guard Vinnie “The Microwave” Johnson, who helped the Detroit Pistons win NBA titles in 1989 and 1990, for instance.
In the bj-league, Hamamatsu Higashimikawa Phoenix guard Wayne Arnold has a similar role.
In November, when the Phoenix went 8-0, Arnold averaged 19.3 points per game, including a 35-point outburst on Nov. 20 against the Kyoto Hannaryz.
Arnold, a former Tennessee State player, is The Japan Times’ Offensive Player of the Month for November.
He’s helped reigning champion Hamamatsu win 15 of 16 games this season and remain the favorite to represent the Eastern Conference in the title game in May.
Arnold, in his second season with the Phoenix, is averaging 17.9 ppg. He’s started zero games, but is quietly piecing together a productive season as the Eastern Conference’s top substitute.
Rizing Fukuoka forward Michael Parker, the league’s two-time defending scoring champion, also received consideration for the honor. Parker, averaging 30.1 ppg through Sunday, scored 30 or more points in four November contests, including a league-record 52 against the Takamatsu Five Arrows on Nov. 7.
Defensive accolade: Shiga Lakestars power forward Gary Hamilton is the heart and soul of the Western Conference-leading club’s interior defense.
Blessed with quick leaping ability, toughness and impressive strength, Hamilton is the league’s No. 1 rebounder (14.3 boards per game) and is tied for sixth in steals (1.9). With Hamilton playing a prominent role, the Lakestars went 6-2 in November.
In addition, he is a tone-setter on defense, diving for loose balls, banging with the big boys in the paint, taking charges and always hustling.
Hamilton, a Miami (Fla.) product, is The Japan Times’ Defensive Player of the Month for November.
Phoenix power forward Jeffrey Parmer, who had 20 steals in his team’s 8-0 month, also received consideration for the award. He attended Florida Atlantic University, and is currently tied for No. 2 in steals (2.1 per game).
Akita Northern Happinets guard Ryosuke Mizumachi, who collected 13 steals in November, was also considered.
Expansion teams take time to develop consistent defensive tactics, but Mizumachi has been quite effective at times this season for the Happinets.
Editor’s note: Look for Player of the Month stories at the conclusion of each month for the remainder of the bj-league season.