For all the talk about how this year's 2013 NBA trade deadline was a big dud, several solid players will be changing teams with a chance to make a big impact.
Of those players, a few have a lot to prove to warrant their new team's desire in trading away whatever pieces went the other direction in a trade.
Big names like James Harden and Rudy Gay (expected to be trade deadline bait) were dealt away earlier this season. That made this year's deadline a little bit devoid of the big names, but it doesn't mean the players moving won't have a chance to make a huge impact going forward.
Here's a look at three guys that have the most to prove on their new teams. Both because of their current situations and what this season has looked like so far, these three guys can have a make-or-break impact both personally and for their new team.
SG Anthony Morrow, Dallas Mavericks
Morrow came over from the Atlanta Hawks for Dahntay Jones, and the Mavericks made sure they got an expiring contract for an expiring contract in this deal. While a good shooter in his own right, the Mavs also dumped Jones for some much needed scoring punch off the bench—an area that's been lacking since Jason Terry left in free agency.
Morrow played in just 24 games in Atlanta this season. With Devin Harris, Kyle Korver and DeShawn Stevenson all blocking his path to playing time, Morrow averaged just 12.6 minutes per game for the Hawks and was in a no-win situation after coming over from the New Jersey/Brooklyn Nets in the trade for Joe Johnson.
That has a chance to change in Dallas. Other than O.J. Mayo and Darren Collison, head coach Rick Carlisle doesn't like any other guard on the roster. Vince Carter plays there from time to time, but his skill set is much more suited at small forward as this point in his career.
Morrow can stretch the floor with the best of them, averaging 1.6 threes per game during his career on a red-hot 42.5 percent from deep. Those numbers are at 0.6 and 39.5 after his half-season in Atlanta, and Morrow will have a lot to prove to Dallas coaches as he both tries to establish himself as a 20-minute guy while seemingly audition for another team next year in the process.
PF Thomas Robinson, Houston Rockets
The Rockets made a big leap by acquiring Robinson.
They gave up Patrick Patterson and Marcus Morris (both quality 4 spots) in pursuit of a more talented player, and they will end up with Robinson and Terrence Jones (two 2012 first-round picks) as their most athletic options at the position for the rest of the season.
Although he's averaged just over four points and four rebounds in roughly 15 minutes per game, you don't simply get drafted No. 5 overall and not have the potential for more.
That could pay huge dividends for Houston, as its currently in the thicket of a playoff race and hedged both immediate success and long-term future on whether or not Robinson and Jones can play key minutes down the stretch.
Big expectations for a rookie. We all know Robinson has the pedigree and heart to rise to the challenge, but the expectations are going to be there for the first time in his NBA career.
G Jordan Crawford, Boston Celtics
The Celtics acquired Crawford to help with their guard troubles, stemming off the Rajon Rondo injury.
Between Terrence Williams and Crawford, there could be a lot of shots going up in the Boston backcourt. ESPN's Royce Webb notes the same:
Royce Webb @RoyceWebb
Jordan Crawford: all Hero Ball, all the time.2013-2-21 19:24:10
That won't fly with Doc Rivers.
Still, Crawford is instant offense, and he'll help bridge the gap for a Boston team that will struggle in the half court otherwise. He averages over 13 points per game during his brief career, and his assist and rebound totals aren't bad for a guard for his size, either.
There's a lot of NBA pundits (this writer included) that is intrigued with what he's going to do in Celtics green and white.
But to co-exist with Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce, he'll need to play more team-first basketball. The Celtics are in the midst of a playoff race, and need guards that can handle that kind of pressure with Hall of Famers on the roster.
Crawford was brought in to handle that role. We'll see if he, and the other two players on this list, can exceed expectations with their new teams going forward.