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Players Who Need a Fresh Start

deron williams steve nash

We often confuse misused talent for a player's inability to produce. We also misconstrue production for contribution. For that reason, some of the NBA's elite are often viewed as too valuable to lose. The fact is, they're not.

With that being noted, it's not always the player that harms the team. Oftentimes, great talent just can't find the proper fit or feel for their current situation. An example, of course, would be Shaquille O'Neal's transition from Orlando to Los Angeles, where he went from ringless to three-time NBA champion.

In today's game, there are quite a few players and teams stuck in a similar situation. Here's an example of 10 players and teams who flat-out need to get out of their current situation.

Chris Andersen, Denver Nuggets

It's amazing how important Chris Andersen was to the Nuggets prior to the trade deadline, only to become a non-factor upon JaVale McGee's acquisition. By non-factor, of course, I mean he's played in just two games since March 11.

While Andersen has never seen consistent playing time in Denver, he's always made the most of his opportunities. His Player Efficiency Rating of 18.97 is fourth on the Nuggets, while his 1.4 blocks per game is second despite playing just 15 minutes per game.

Furthermore, Andersen performed wonderfully when given decent playing time. In games in which Andersen has played more than 20 minutes, he is averaging 8.2 points, 6.8 rebounds and 2.0 blocks per game. If another team lands him, expect Andersen to receive the recognition he deserves.

Season Averages: 15.2 MPG, 18.97 PER, 5.3 PPG, 4.6 RPG, 1.4 BPG

Michael Beasley, Minnesota Timberwolves

I'm not sure if anyone needs a change of scenery as badly as Michael Beasley, who has seen a drop of 9.2 minutes and nearly eight points per game. He's also gone from a borderline elite scorer to a player who would be lucky to tally as many minutes as he did points from a year ago.

While we could debate the root of the issue and even call into question who is right and who is wrong, the easiest route to take would be to grant the 2008 second overall draft choice a new beginning. He's still only 23 years old and has a girth of talent that another team could potentially utilize properly.

Cut ties before the anchor pulls you down, Minnesota.

2011 Season Averages: 32.3 MPG, 15.54 PER, 19.2 PPG, 5.6 RPG, 2.2 APG

2012 Season Averages: 23.1 MPG, 13.31 PER, 11.5 PPG, 4.5 RPG, 1.0 APG

Tyreke Evans, Sacramento Kings

This was tough to pick, as both Marcus Thornton and Tyreke Evans are odd men out with the Kings' current rotation. But when weighing who is a better fit for the Kings' style and long-term plans, it's easy to see who has to go.

While Tyreke Evans may have been drafted as the potential face of the franchise, he's become a player with no true position in a promising lineup. He's spent time at the point, 2 and 3, with each conflicting with the team's rhythm in one way or another.

At this point, the Kings must choose between the underperforming and position-less Tyreke Evans or the potentially elite scorer, Marcus Thornton.

I think this is a rather easy decision that emotions must be cut from.

Rookie of the Year Statistics: 18.28 PER, 20.1 PPG, 5.8 APG, 5.3 RPG, 1.5 SPG

2011 & '12 Statistics: 15.26 PER, 17.0 PPG, 5.1 APG, 4.7 RPG, 1.4 SPG

Dwight Howard, Orlando Magic

This one is very unlikely to happen, as owner Richard DeVos has made it clear how much he's willing to do to keep Dwight Howard in Orlando: anything.

The fact is, the Magic are one of the weakest teams in the NBA without Howard. Upon the development of a child's personality, Howard has now become just another weak link.

In trading Dwight Howard, the Orlando Magic could potentially receive three players and a first-round draft choice. With that, they could finally begin to build a legitimate contender rather than a team that only wins in the regular season.

If not, at least they're done with the headache known as D-12.

Season Averages: 24.27 PER, 20.6 PPG, 14.5 RPG, 2.1 BPG, 1.5 SPG

Al Jefferson, Utah Jazz

This is no indictment of Al Jefferson as a person or player, but instead an acknowledgement of a need to move forward.

For the skeptics who feel the Jazz would crumble without Jefferson in the middle, their drafting of Enes Kanter and trading for Derrick Favors show that they are fully invested in a youth movement. With Jefferson gone, the Jazz would still be able to rotate those two with All-Star-caliber forward Paul Millsap. The only difference would be the huge opening of minutes for those players to develop with.

As for Jefferson himself, he is one of the most talented big men in all of basketball. Should the Jazz make the playoffs, that will be on full display. The fact is, he's the elderly player in a youth movement. In finding a new place to play, Al Jefferson would be able to start anew and lead a franchise.

Again.

The only difference is that Jefferson wouldn't have to worry anymore about being replaced.

Season Averages: 22.92 PER, 19.4 PPG, 9.6 RPG , 2.2 APG, 1.7 BPG

Brandon Jennings, Milwaukee Bucks

This pains me to write, as the pairing of Brandon Jennings and Monta Ellis is something that could go a long way in the aging Eastern Conference, but it's an unfortunate truth. Jennings has already begun, as he said, "doing my homework" on big-market teams, thus causing his potential testing of the 2013 free-agency market to be that much more concerning.

In Milwaukee, this makes for a very easy decision. The Bucks must weigh a potential trade of their star point guard, who could land a solid group of players and a first-round draft choice in return. It's just a matter of swallowing your pride and acknowledging what's best for the franchise.

As for Jennings, he clearly isn't "at home" in Milwaukee. He's made quite a few comments to shake things up, and as Monta Ellis does everything he can to lift the Bucks into playoff contention, Jennings seems to see it as competition, not team camaraderie.

Change of scenery, please.

Note: I hope to eat my words and see Jennings and Ellis form a long-term tandem.

Season Averages: 18.53 PER, 19.2 PPG, 5.6 APG, 3.4 RPG, 1.6 SPG

O.J. Mayo, Memphis Grizzlies

In terms of talent, O.J. Mayo is one of the better shooting guards in the NBA. He can create his own shot, has adequate size and strength for a 2 and has drastically improved his game on D. If he opts to sign with another team this summer, his now well-rounded game will be on full display.

Mayo has been rather professional about his lower-than-desired minutes this season, taking his role as a sixth man in stride. He's not shooting a great percentage but has begun to improve his shot selection. While his numbers lack the luster of his first and second seasons, Mayo seems to be readying himself for a big 2013.

Expect a breakout playoff performance from the former USC Trojan and a potential signing in a big-market city. Boston, anyone?

Season Averages: 14.49 PER, 12.6 PPG, 3.1 RPG, 2.5 APG, 1.1 SPG

Steve Nash, Phoenix Suns

As much as I love to watch Steve Nash play, there's no denying what's known but unsaid: Until the Phoenix Suns let him go, they will not be able to legitimately contend for an NBA championship.

This is not because of Nash's talent, as he alone has them in playoff contention in 2012. The fact of the matter is, this is a young team currently building around a promising frontcourt with rookie Markieff Morris and Marcin Gortat. It's also a team that hasn't been able to move out of the era that seems forever ago with Amar'e Stoudemire and Shawn Marion in town.

In allowing Nash to pursue a title elsewhere, the Suns would get a clean slate with no pressure on their young shoulders. Instead, Phoenix could select a franchise player in the upcoming NBA draft and not have a period in which he serves under Nash.

While it's nearly impossible to convince someone that Nash must go, it is necessary. Sometimes a franchise needs to start anew, and for Phoenix, this is one of those times.

Season Averages: 20.39 PER, 12.5 PPG, 10.8 APG, 3.0 RPG

Amar'e Stoudemire, New York Knicks

This has nothing to do with Amar'e Stoudemire's chances of winning a title, as the Knicks have the talent to beat anyone. This has to do with the fact that Stoudemire proved he could be a franchise player in 2011, only to have Carmelo Anthony brought in. As a result, the Knicks became a mediocre team.

With Anthony finding his niche in the Knicks' system and Stoudemire just returning from an extensive absence, it may be time for STAT to find a new home. His player efficiency rating of 22.78 in 2011 and 17.54 in 2012 are prime examples of his struggles.

Talented teams in need of a veteran leader, such as the Sacramento Kings, or good but not great teams, such as the Orlando Magic, could become legitimate contenders with Stoudemire's arrival. Allow him to take a franchise onto his back, as he's shown he is more than capable of doing.

Pre-Melo Averages: 25.6 PPG, 8.4 RPG, 2.6 APG, 2.1 BPG

Post-Melo Arrival Averages: 19.7 PPG, 7.6 RPG, 1.6 APG, 1.1 BPG

Deron Williams, New Jersey Nets

First and foremost, let me state that I'm on Deron Williams' side in this situation. He has no obligation to the New Jersey Nets, as he was traded to the team and thus given nothing to work with until it was too late. That is, if you call Gerald Wallace something to work with.

The fact is, the New Jersey Nets would be foolish to re-sign Williams come free agency. It would be an uphill struggle to placate him and could cost greater than 50 percent of their cap space. This would leave very little money to put the necessary pieces around D-Will and whatever superstar they choose to pair him with.

Beyond the Nets' needs, however, are those of D-Will. He's a premier point guard who can do, literally, everything. As soon as he finds a team with a group of talented players around him, he's finally going to get the respect he deserves as one of the NBA's elite.

2012 Season Averages: 20.33 PER, 21.0 PPG, 8.7 APG, 3.3 RPG, 1.2 SPG



Source : bleacherreport - Maxwell Ogden
4.24.2012 11:48
This article has been read a total of 718 times.
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Western Conference
Ord Team P W L PF:PA
1 San. Spurs 82 62 20 8639-8006
2 Okl. Thunder 82 59 23 8705-8185
3 L.A. Clippers 82 57 25 8850-8278
4 Hou. Rockets 82 54 28 8829-8446
5 Por. Trail Blazers 82 54 28 8753-8426
Eastern Conference
Ord Team P W L PF:PA
1 Ind. Pacers 82 56 26 7933-7572
2 Mia. Heat 82 53 29 8371-8000
3 Tor. Raptors 82 48 34 8305-8039
4 Chi. Bulls 82 48 34 7680-7531
5 Was. Wizards 82 44 38 8254-8153

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