7 NBA Players Who Must Switch Teams to Maximize Their Potential
Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports
Sometimes, a change of scenery is necessary for a player to break through. We've seen trades or free-agent movement help jump-start players' careers.
Year after year, prospects are drafted into situations that restrict or prevent development. Whether the problem is the system, roster or direction of the team, the following players are guys who would excel with new organizations.
Brandon Jennings, Milwaukee Bucks
If Brandon Jennings is going to be the point guard for a winner, he can't be a first or second scoring option.
Jennings as a top-two option can be dangerous (for the team). For his career, he takes 15.5 shots a game and only hits 39 percent of them. Given his usage rate and efficiency, 17.5 points and 5.7 assists aren't strong enough results.
Jennings needs to be in a place where the offense doesn't rely on him to score 20 a night. If he returns to Milwaukee, he'll once again be a top option, and the team's offensive balance is likely to suffer. Jennings could continue putting up scoring numbers in Milwaukee, but it's unlikely to result in any playoff wins.
Gery Woelfel of the Journal Times in Racine, Wis., tweeted Monday that the Bucks and Pistons were discussing a sign-and-trade for Jennings. He'd be a nice addition for Detroit, a team with scorers and finishers, along with a need for an offensive-minded point guard.
Brandon Knight, Detroit Pistons
Brandon Knight is a scorer trying to make the transition to point guard. But when the Pistons acquired Jose Calderon in January, it was clear that Knight was more effective putting up points than he was facilitating the offense.
With Calderon now in Dallas, Knight is back to dominating the ball at the point, where his weaknesses are highlighted and strengths diminished.
There have been recent rumblings on possible talk involving Knight, Rajon Rondo and Brandon Jennings, per Dan Feldman and Pro Basketball Talk. Pistons GM Joe Dumars, though, quickly shot down the speculation.
Knight would be more effective as a secondary ball-handler than a primary one who makes all the decisions. He's a shoot-first, pass-second combo guard—and that's OK, as long as he's in the right situation.
And in Detroit, it just is not.
Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Charlotte Bobcats
The addition of Al Jefferson will help, but Michael Kidd-Gilchrist needs better teammates and playmakers to play off.
He's not capable of creating his own offense. Therefore, Kidd-Gilchrist must rely on the creativity of others to capitalize on scoring opportunities.
Offensively, Kidd-Gilchrist is a slasher and finishing target. He picks up buckets off cuts, line drives, lobs and fast breaks.
He's an off-ball playmaker, but his job would be easier playing on a team with established talent to help take off some of the pressure.
Andre Drummond, Detroit Pistons
There's no way of knowing just how dominant Andre Drummond can be as long as Greg Monroe is in the picture.
That's not a knock on Monroe—these are two guys who just happen to occupy the same space on the floor.
Is coach Maurice Cheeks going to play both of these guys together down the stretch of games? Even if he does play them together for extended minutes, it doesn't seem like the best frontcourt fit.
For Drummond to maximize his potential, he'll need the freedom and minutes to grow. And that's likely to be in a lineup that doesn't already have an interior-oriented starting center.
Jimmer Fredette, Sacramento Kings
There's all sorts of clutter and traffic in Sacramento's backcourt. It's been like that since the Kings drafted Jimmer Fredette in 2011.
Fredette has no shot of breaking through in Sacramento with Greivis Vasquez, Isaiah Thomas, Ben McLemore and Marcus Thornton all blocking his path, and was recently mentioned in trade talks with the Cleveland Cavaliers.
And after drafting Ray McCallum at 36th overall, who knows what Sacramento's plan is for Fredette this upcoming season.
At this point, both the Kings and Fredette would benefit from a trade. This is a kid who needs structure. He needs a team to give him a defined role so he knows what to focus on.
Fredette isn't going to get that in Sacramento.
Kendall Marshall, Phoenix Suns
Someone get this kid out of Phoenix.
After the Suns signed Goran Dragic and traded for Eric Bledsoe, there's just no shot for Kendall Marshall to realistically crack the Suns rotation.
Even with backup minutes, Marshall, isn't in a position to succeed given his weak supporting cast. He's not a guy who can take over offensively—Marshall needs established scorers around him to finish what he creates.
And the Suns are reportedly pushing hard for a trade.
Said one executive at the summer league, via Scott Howard-Cooper and NBA.com, “They’re trying to attach him to pretty much any deal that comes up. If you want to talk about any of their players, they include him. He’s basically the price of admission to any trade right now.”
He's got extraordinary vision and natural point guard instincts, but Marshall, who averaged just 3.0 points and 3.0 assists in 14.6 minutes last year, will never maximize his potential riding the bench in Phoenix.
Derrick Williams, Minnesota Timberwolves
Derrick Williams just hasn't seemed to have gotten comfortable since being drafted second overall by Minnesota in 2011.
He's been forced to play a lot of small forward, where he struggles to create his own shot and consistently convert from the perimeter.
Even when Kevin Love went down last season, Williams struggled to find his niche in the offense.
Despite his elite athleticism and explosive physical tools, Williams is only shooting 42 percent through two years. This one might be more on him than it is on the Timberwolves, as he's shown signs of being a tweener, but the 6'8" Williams isn't likely to take the next step with the current roster in Minny.