Teams are about to be eliminated from the first round of the playoffs by the end of this week. With the free agency coming up, everyone's talking about the players that need to part ways with their respective teams in the offseason. However, while some players should consider moving on, others should remain in their current lineups. Which players need to stay put?
Even though his numbers this season were significantly lower than those of last season, Jamal Crawford brings the intensity and instant offense that the Hawks have so desperately needed off the bench. He has never shied away from the big shots and can put points on the board as fast as anyone else in the league.
Crawford has range like J.R. Smith, the handles of Allen Iverson and the finishing ability of Rodney Stuckey. He gets to the rim easily, lulling his defenders to sleep with his flashy moves and dishes the rock out to the open teammate or finesses the ball into the hole.
Atlanta needs to keep Crawford on the roster if it plans to move forward next season. Especially after moving Maurice Evans and Jordan Crawford to the Washington Wizards, the Hawks' sixth man is the remainder of the depth that remains on the team.
Still knocking down big shots at age 35, Ray Allen will finish his years in the NBA as a Celtic. He's probably got one or two years left in him, so I doubt he'll want to end his career in any other color than green.
Marcus Thornton is a real gem.
In a straight-up trade for Carl Landry, the Sacramento Kings snagged this guy at the trade deadline, and boy, has he been a steal.
Thornton's averaged 21.3 points and 1.7 steals per game as a King. He's been crowned, alongside Tyreke Evans, as a leader of the team and will be an integral part of the franchise moving forward.
First and foremost, this guy's dating Kim Kardashian. The Nets need her support more than anything.
But secondly, Kris Humphries is one of the more underrated players in the NBA. Brook Lopez might get the spotlight, but Humphries does all of the little things. Grabbing boards, boxing out, and battling other big men down low is his game.
Something that, probably, nobody knows, Kris Humphries averaged a double-double per game this season.
Excelling at what Lopez so miserably failed at, Humphries grabbed 10.4 rebounds per game to go along with 10 points and 1.1 blocks. With a guy like this at the power forward position, it would be hard for the team not to re-sign him.
Zach Randolph IS the Memphis Grizzlies.
He fights hard in the paint for rebounds and bangs in the post to score. Zeebo's got a great touch from mid range and was always known to finish around the rim. He's even got them competing against the Western Conference powerhouse San Antonio Spurs. It looks like he's finally found his home.
Everyone used to know him as Pau's little brother, but Marc Gasol has steadily begun to make a name for himself in Memphis. An exceptional rebounder and post scorer, the little bro is following in his brother's footsteps and is becoming an incredible center in the NBA. With Zeebo banging down low and Gasol's seven-foot-one-inch frame, the Grizzlies have one of the strongest cores in the NBA.
Tyson Chandler has completely rejuvenated the Dallas Mavericks.
You can tell the difference between last season and this season—it's him. It looks like they're a more up-tempo team, and with a true seven-foot shot blocker down low, Dallas' defense hasn't suffered from it. If the Mavericks let him go, which is almost impossible, I would love to see him in a Portland Trail Blazer jersey.
Nene dunks every time he gets the ball down low. "Layup" is not in his vocabulary.
The man with only one name is a ferocious player who posterizes players on both ends of the court. If he's not dunking on you, he's either grabbing a rebound or blocking a shot. I could see Nene in a Denver jersey for his entire career if he keeps this up.
Even though Lamar Odom won the Sixth Man of the Year award this season—which was a very well-deserved accolade, I might add—Shannon Brown is almost as equally as important to the Lakers' success. Like Jamal Crawford, Brown brings offense off the bench. With his incredible leaping ability and knock-down jumper, Brown spreads the courts and can beat his man two different ways off the ball. The Lakers will need to keep him if they want to dream about contending for another championship in the future.
I might be crazy, but I consider Aaron Afflalo one of the top five shooters in the NBA (behind Ray Allen, Dirk Nowitzki, Danilo Gallinari, and Jason Terry, of course). The Assassin, as I like to call him, can shoot from anywhere on the court, killing the defense when they leave him open.
Aside from his top-tier shooting ability, Afflalo is a lock-down defender.Having been assigned both Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant in the series against Oklahoma City, he's an incredibly versatile defender who can guard any position except the center. Assuming that Denver will part ways with J.R. Smith, especially after that stint he pulled in the last game against the Thunder, the Nuggets will need to keep Afflalo as part of their franchise moving forward.