7 NBA Players Who Desperately Need a New Team
The NBA is filled with outstanding players, but not every player can produce on just any roster.
So often, a player's environment will be what keeps him back. Whether it be the fault of the coach, the teammates or the player himself, a lot of factors off the court can influence performance.
For those players, a change of scenery is not only necessary but also beneficial for both sides. The team can get rid of a player who is unhappy or who is not producing, and the player can try and live up to his potential elsewhere.
Here are seven NBA players who would benefit from changing uniforms.
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I think Raptors fans will agree when I say that the Andrea Bargnani experiment has failed. Bargnani, the former first overall pick of the 2006 NBA draft, is only on a downhill trend, and he definitely has not helped the Raptors become contenders in his seven years with the team.
Bargnani is posting averages of 17 points and 4.6 rebounds a game. Not only are those rebounding numbers disgraceful for a seven-footer, but he is also shooting an awful 40 percent from the field and is attempting almost five threes a game despite shooting 32 percent from downtown.
Clearly someone needs to talk some sense into Bargnani. When you have 2-of-19 shooting performances, you should not just be given the green light to shoot from wherever you want.
Meanwhile, Ed Davis is posting career numbers, and nobody has really noticed. Davis is playing just 15 minutes a game, down from 23 last season. However, he is shooting 56 percent from the field, has a 27.5 defensive rebounding percentage and is posting a PER of 19.2. Per 36 minutes, he's posting averages of 13.7 points, 12.8 rebounds and 1.5 blocks a game.
Davis also has a decent mid-range game, and he's connected on 33 percent of his mid-range shot attempts this year, proving he's more than just a defensive presence.
It's simply astonishing that Toronto hasn't given Davis more playing time, but he still has the potential to be a starter in the NBA. As long as the Raptors are committed to Bargnani, they might as well trade Davis, because it would be better for both sides.
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Derrick Williams may have just one season of NBA experience, but he still has the potential to be a star. However, that may be an impossible goal for him to achieve as long as he continues to play for the Timberwolves.
Williams is unique, as he is able to either attack the basket or shoot the three, and he can play either small forward or power forward. But despite the versatility, he doesn't fit on Minnesota's roster.
Williams has spent almost all of his time on the court at power forward so far, but obviously superstar Kevin Love will prevent Williams from getting serious minutes at the position. Williams played a lot of minutes at small forward last season, but the acquisitions of Kirilenko and Budinger have also left Williams struggling to find playing time there.
This season, Williams is playing just 20 minutes a game, but averages 9.0 points, 5.2 rebounds and about a block a game in that time. He's also been extremely successful from deep, shooting 38 percent from behind the arc.
It's clear that the potential is there. It's also clear that the T-Wolves don't need Williams to be a future franchise player. Now, an interested buyer just needs to make a phone call.
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DeJuan Blair may never be a superstar in this league, but the Spurs frontcourt is too crowded for Blair to truly succeed.
Now in his fourth season, Blair is having the worst year of his career, though it isn't all his fault. He is shooting a career-low 47 percent from the field and is also posting career lows in rebounds and PER, but Blair is playing just 17.5 minutes a game for the Spurs.
With players such as Tim Duncan, Boris Diaw, Tiago Splitter and Matt Bonner all competing with Blair for minutes, he hasn't been able to live up to his full potential. Given regular starters minutes, he could possibly average close to a double-double, grabbing tons of rebounds on both ends and playing great post defense.
Duncan may be getting old, but it doesn't seem like this San Antonio team is particularly interested in keeping Blair around. However, should it be made known that he is officially on the trade block, I'm sure there will be at least some takers willing to give him a bigger role.
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Paul Millsap and Al Jefferson have both been in trade rumors ever since young players Derrick Favors and Enes Kanter joined Utah to make a crowded frontcourt. And with Millsap's recent struggles, the Jazz may finally move him.
Millsap has spent his whole career with the Jazz, and he has gone from having a bench role to being one of the team's top offensive targets. Last season, he averaged 16.6 points and 8.8 rebounds a game.
But this season, Millsap appears to be in a bit of a funk. His minutes have dropped, and he's averaging 14.6 points and 8.2 rebounds a game. He is also shooting just 46 percent from the field, a new career low.
Something extremely odd is Millsap's struggles inside. So far this season, he has shot 8-of-36 from inside the paint (not including the restricted area), which is a 22-percent clip. That's down from 43 percent last year. In addition, Millsap's mid-range jump shot is falling less than it was last year, and last year's was falling less than the year before.
Considering that Millsap is still only 27, age doesn't seem like a likely factor for his declining production on the court. Could it be that the added pressure from Derrick Favors' presence in the depth chart is what is affecting Millsap? If so, the Jazz should have no problem trading him.
Millsap is a free agent at the end of the season anyway, and it would benefit the Jazz to use him as a trade chip rather than get nothing. For example, they could trade for the wing player they covet and develop Favors to become the starting PF. That situation should make everyone happy.
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Trading JaVale McGee would be a rash move by the Nuggets, but the team certainly doesn't seem to be using him effectively.
McGee is somehow coming off the bench and playing just 20 minutes a night despite playing pretty great basketball, minus the silly mistakes we all love to laugh about. Perhaps this is George Karl's way of trying to humble McGee, but it also threatens to stunt his growth as a player.
This season, McGee is averaging 11.3 points, 5.7 rebounds and 1.8 blocks a game off the bench. Per 36 minutes, that is equal to 20.4 points, 10.3 rebounds and 3.2 blocks, which are superstar numbers. McGee is shooting 58 percent from the field, and his PER of 24.1 is simply fantastic, as is his block percentage of 6.8, which is fourth in the NBA.
McGee may not always make the smartest decisions on the court, but he has talent, and he needs to start now. And now that McGee is on a four-year, $44 million contract, it is unreasonable to continue to bring him off the bench. Perhaps the Nuggets don't see the talent, but other teams do, and I wouldn't be surprised to see other NBA teams inquire about McGee at the deadline.
McGee needs the opportunity to start and prove himself to the world, and to do that it looks like he might need a change of scenery. The Nuggets will almost definitely hold on to him, but he might lose patience with a bench role quickly, especially considering he spent most of his time in Washington as the starter.
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After three full seasons in the NBA, the Sacramento Kings still have no idea what to do with Tyreke Evans. Everyone thought he had superstar potential, but Evans has really struggled to find a role or even a position in the NBA. He's played minutes at point guard, shooting guard and even small forward for the Kings, and it isn't clear exactly what he actually is.
Now, Evans is having another disappointing year. His minutes have taken another hit, and he's now to the point of averaging just 15.5 points and 3.6 assists a game, down from 20.1 and 5.8 in his rookie season.
Evans has only continued to decline with each year. I still believe he has the makings of a superstar, but he's being held back by his team. Thomas, Fredette, Brooks, Thornton and Salmons make a ridiculously crowded backcourt, and then there are other players such as DeMarcus Cousins who also require a lot of touches.
As an upcoming free agent, it would be in the best interest of the Kings to see what Evans is worth on the trade market. Either that or they shouldn't match an offer in free agency, because Evans still has a chance to produce All-Star numbers on another team that needs him.
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They've had a great opening to the season, but can the Atlanta Hawks really make a playoff run with Josh Smith and Al Horford leading the way? Most likely, the answer is no.
Smith is still a very good player. He struggled a little at the start of the season, but he's a ridiculously athletic and exciting player to watch, and he can knock down the jumpshot, grab rebounds and play excellent defense as well. This year, Smith is posting averages of 16.5 points, 8.5 rebounds and 2.1 blocks a game.
However, after losing Joe Johnson in the offseason, Atlanta may have cleared some cap room, but Josh Smith is now left to try and lead the Hawks to victory. Smith is good, but he is nowhere near good enough to lead the team to a title, and he's tried and failed enough times in the playoffs now that he may very likely look to join a contender soon.
That means that Smith may be on his way out of Atlanta, and he could use the change of scenery, too. Perhaps Smith can find a team where he will finally win a ring.
In fact, we may even see Smith moved before he has a chance to sign elsewhere. If it becomes clear that he's not re-signing in Atlanta, it would not be the least bit surprising to see the Hawks make a blockbuster deal at the deadline.