Changes of Scenery Won't Save These 5 Declining NBA Stars
In the NBA, it's youth and athleticism over age and wisdom these days, and after a season in which two of the younger teams in the league battled it out for supremacy, those sentiments are key when deciding the fate of some of the declining stars.
Don't mistake that for tainting a career or belittling any of the accomplishments these guys have made to the game, but you have to hang it up sometime, and sometime may be coming sooner than later for these five guys.
A change of scenery with a new group, a new coach and a seemingly fresh set of legs after a new lease on life sometimes equips a player with another chance of productivity in their system.
Here's a look at how the impact of a new city won't necessarily mean positive results for some of the NBA's declining athletes.
Ben Gordon, Charlotte Bobcats
The former scoring machine cashed in with a huge deal in Detroit, but that's been one of the worst franchise decisions in recent memory in the Motor City. He and Charlie Villanueva will live on in Pistons lore as some of the worst free agents ever.
Don't expect it to get much better in Charlotte. Gordon is a three-point shooting expert, whether or not the ball is going in the basket.
I'll never forget the duel between Gordon and Ray Allen in the 2009 playoffs, but that's a distant memory now. And in pro sports, it's a "what have you done for me lately?" atmosphere. I don't expect much from Gordon since Kemba Walker and Gerald Henderson need reps to figure out if they can play.
Jamal Crawford, LA Clippers
I've always found it odd that Jamal Crawford's teams were rarely in contention for the playoffs, at least not as a serious contender anyway. Maybe it's because he can shoot his team out of a game way faster than he can shoot them into one.
As a ninth or 10th guy, I love Crawford. Maybe that's what he is in Los Angeles. But I doubt it, and if Chauncey Billups goes down, are you really going to rely on Willie Green and Eric Bledsoe as your primary options?
I've never understood why Crawford wasn't a key piece on a winning team until very recently, when I watched him single-handedly help Nate McMillan get fired with his terrible play. Chris Paul might have to give him a helmet shift fairly quickly, because that won't fly on that team.
Michael Beasley, Phoenix Suns
Oh, what the NCAA might have looked like had Beasley stayed in college. But he didn't, and anyone worthy of the No. 2 overall selection needs to play better, and more importantly, more consistently.
He should enjoy playing with almost equal talent in Phoenix as he had in Minnesota, but if things go wrong and he doesn't get shots, what is the response going to be? Getting more shots each time he touches it?
That remains to be seen, but Beasley needs more than just a scenery change, he needs a shot selection intervention. Too bad Kevin Love won't be giving it to him.
Elton Brand, Dallas Mavericks
Brand was owed $18.2 million before the amnesty clause made him expendable, and now he'll be getting $2 million of that from the Dallas Mavericks.
He had a down year in 2012, posting lows in both points and rebounds far off from his career mark. Does that get any easier in Dallas, where he'll be backing up one of the most prolific players at the position of all time?
The answer is no, and it will be interesting to see if Brand accepts his role unconditionally, or he favors a situation where he is still averaging a double-double and playing 28 minutes a night. Because right now, he won't get either in Dallas.
Jason Kidd, New York Knicks
It's almost hard to believe the near 20-year veteran is still playing. He's one of the top five players at the position of all time, and he makes things run so smooth when he's on his game.
He's also been turnover prone and shown an aversion to shooting the layup or an open jumper when given the opportunity. He hangs out on the three-point line and facilitates, which isn't a bad thing until teams are clogging up your paint so much you have to call the plumber.
Jokes aside, Kidd would have been a nice addition as a sixth-man, spot-starter. Now that he potentially could see starter minutes? I don't know about that, J-Kidd. He'll be under contract until he's 42, but can his mind, basketball love and body hold up until then?
Just ask this tree how lucky he is to be alive and then answer. Is New York going to be too much on the old man?
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