With the 2011 NBA offseason vastly approaching, teams who aren't in the playoffs have already begun assessing roster moves for this summer's free agency market. They look to see who teams are going to release and who teams sought to acquire. This is always intriguing for fans who look to see their favorite teams make improvements.
If you look at most of the current playoff teams, almost all legitimate contenders have a big man. As it always has been in the NBA, you cannot win a championship without a legitimate big man.
Let's take a look at the top five "must add" big men entering the 2011 NBA offseason...
Diaw, since entering the league back in 2003, has been nothing but a solid big man. He's 6'8" 235 pounds, and one of the more methodical players there is in the league.
This season, Diaw averaged 11.3 PPG and five rebounds per game for Charlotte. It was the second consecutive season he's played and started in all 82 regular season games for the Bobcats.
Diaw still has a job this season with the Bobcats but the "player option" this offseason gives him a chance to see what else is out there. He's almost at the wonderful age of 30, and may opt to go to a team who has a better chance at winning a championship than Charlotte does.
With Diaw's consistency, I'm sure he won't have to look to far for other teams interested in his services.
Don't you love those "right place, right time" moments in life? Well Humphries, who has been in the league for now seven seasons, never found a place he could call home.
However, in his second season with the Nets, Head Coach Avery Johnson gave Kris a chance playing him some serious minutes—and boy did it pay off.
Kris averaged a double-double in 74 total games this season. He started in more games than he ever has before (44), and the result was 10 PPG and 10.4 RPG.
Humphries is 6'9", 235 pounds and has a phenomenal shooters touch for a big man. Sometimes those career years happen during contract years, and that is the case with Humphries.
The tables have turned for Kris, who will not have trouble finding work this summer.
Carl Landry has had an extremely productive career up until this point. This season he has averaged nearly 12 PPG and five rebounds. Since landing in New Orleans, Landry has impressed Chris Paul and other teammates with his play at the power forward position. When West went down with an ACL injury towards the end of this season, Carl was called upon to be a pivotal part of the Hornets offense.
He answered the bell when called upon and now finds himself in the middle of an extremely enticing playoff series against the Lakers. With Landry now a starter for New Orleans, he has a huge opportunity to help the Hornets take down the Lakers.
Regardless, the 6'9" 248-pound former Boilermaker is quickly becoming a fast attraction around the NBA. I'm sure there will be numerous offers for Landry to choose from come this offseason.
There's not many guys that have a comeback season like Chandler had. A large part of his success this season is due to last summer's Gold Medal run with Coach K and the other USA hand picked Olympic athletes.
Chandler came into this season rejuvenated, in shape—and above all—with a "winning" mentality. Chandler averaged 10 points for just the second time in his career this season and for the first time since 2007 with the Hornets.
He also was a beast on the boards hauling in 9.4 RPG in 2011.
Tyson was a big factor in the Mavericks' success this season and his consistent productivity landed them a three seed heading into the first round of this year's NBA playoffs.
The 28-year-old certainly has some mileage left and any team looking for a defensive minded, energetic, productive big man should give Tyson Chandler a serious consideration.
Let me start off by saying we all owe a huge toast to ourselves as fans for the patience we've all exhibited during Yao Ming's career.
The 7'6", 310-pound China bred phenom is finally a free agent after another injury prone season where Ming only played an upsetting five total games.
What is it with some big men that the ability to stay healthy is just not in the cards for them?
Who knows what's going to happen with Yao Ming from here on out. He's been an absolute joy to watch when healthy, but it's been years since he's played an entire season.
In his career, he's averaged 19.2 PPG, 9.2 RPG and 1.9 BPG. For most big men, those are sensational numbers.
I'm sure if Ming is going through the rehabilitation process and it goes smoothly, he'll be ready and healthy for another crack at an NBA championship. However, there's always that money thing that gets in the way from a guy being able to suit up.
What kind of investment is Yao Ming?
He could be the next Apple or he could wind up the restaurant down the street from you that never made it out of that "five-year slump".
Regardless, he's the NBA's most highly touted big man entering this offseason and it's going to be extremely interesting to see where he ends up. And for how much?