NBA Power Rankings: Dwight Howard and Each Team's Most Imposing Offensive Force

Andy BaileyFeatured ColumnistMay 11, 2011

NBA Power Rankings: Dwight Howard and Each Team's Most Imposing Offensive Force

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    CHICAGO, IL - MAY 10: Derrick Rose #1 of the Chicago Bulls drives to the basket under pressure from Jeff Teague #0 of the Atlanta Hawks in Game Five of the Eastern Conference Semifinals in the 2011 NBA Playoffs at the United Center on May 10, 2011 in Chic
    Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

    Dwight Howard may be a Los Angeles Laker soon. If he ends up playing for the Lakers, who won't just help them defensively.  He has become an unstoppable force on offense as well.

    He is without a doubt the most imposing offensive force on Orlando's roster.  Unfortunately for the Magic, they didn't get much from anyone else in this year's playoffs.

    Each team in the league has its own top offensive weapon.  This slideshow will tell you who they are...

Atlanta Hawks: Joe Johnson

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    ATLANTA, GA - MAY 06:  Joe Johnson #2 of the Atlanta Hawks walks down the court after turning the ball over to the Chicago Bulls in Game Three of the Eastern Conference Semifinals in the 2011 NBA Playoffs at Phillips Arena on May 6, 2011 in Atlanta, Georg
    Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

    Joe Johnson's scoring average was down a bit this year, and that has many people questioning the max deal he recently signed (as if they weren't already).

    However, he is still the best offensive weapon for the Hawks.  He averaged 18.2 points and 4.7 assists a game and has the ability to score in a wide variety of ways.

    At 30 percent, this was his worst year for three-point percentage since he was a rookie.  But his career mark of 37 percent shows that he can consistently hit from that range.

    In addition to hitting jump shots, Johnson has a solid runner and gets to the rim fairly well.

Boston Celtics: Rajon Rondo

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    MIAMI, FL - MAY 01:  Rajon Rondo #9  of the Boston Celtics points during Game One of the Eastern Conference Semifinals of the 2011 NBA Playoffs against the Miami Heat at American Airlines Arena on May 1, 2011 in Miami, Florida. NOTE TO USER: User expressl
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    Rondo may have been fifth on his team in scoring (10.6 points a game), but his overall contributions on offense more than make up for his lack of buckets.

    He was second in the league in assists at 11.2 a game.  His ability to create open shots for and distribute the ball to his teammates has allowed them to look good well into their 30s.

Charlotte Bobcats: Stephen Jackson

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    CHARLOTTE, NC - FEBRUARY 25:  Donte Greene #20 of the Sacramento Kings tries to stop Stephen Jackson #1 of the Charlotte Bobcats during their game at Time Warner Cable Arena on February 25, 2011 in Charlotte, North Carolina. NOTE TO USER: User expressly a
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    Stephen Jackson may not be a Bobcat for much longer.  But right now, he's definitely their most imposing offensive force.  In fact, he may be their only imposing force.

    His 6'8" frame makes him a very difficult matchup for a lot of wing defenders, and that helped him lead the team in scoring at 18.5 points per game.

Chicago Bulls: Derrick Rose

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    ATLANTA, GA - MAY 06:  Derrick Rose #1 of the Chicago Bulls runs the ball up the court against the Atlanta Hawks in Game Three of the Eastern Conference Semifinals in the 2011 NBA Playoffs at Phillips Arena on May 6, 2011 in Atlanta, Georgia.  NOTE TO USE
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    Derrick Rose's rapid development as an NBA player has led to his being named the youngest league MVP in history.

    His scoring average has jumped up about four points a game each season (17 a game as a rookie, 21 in his second year and 25 this season).

    One thing that helped him a lot this year was the addition of a three-point shot.  He made a total of 32 threes in his first two seasons.  He dropped 128 this year while shooting 33 percent from downtown.

    Then there are the things we all know he can do as well as anyone.  His size, explosiveness and ball-handling make him one of the game's very best penetrators.

Cleveland Cavaliers: Antawn Jamison

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    BOSTON, MA - JANUARY 25:  Antawn Jamison #4 of the Cleveland Cavaliers drives to the basket as  Kevin Garnett #5 of the Boston Celtics defends on January 25, 2011 at the TD Garden in Boston, Massachusetts.   NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and a
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    The Cavaliers were awful last year.  There's no getting around that.

    I remember being blown away last summer when I read reports that coach Byron Scott was going to bring Antawn Jamison off the bench.

    He is so much more effective on offense than any other player on the roster.  Eventually, Scott had no choice but to reinsert Jamison into the starting lineup.

    He ended up leading the team in scoring at 18 points per game.

Dallas Mavericks: Dirk Nowitzki

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    DALLAS, TX - MAY 08:  Forward Dirk Nowitzki #41 of the Dallas Mavericks gets the slam dunk against Ron Artest #15 of the Los Angeles Lakers in Game Four of the Western Conference Semifinals during the 2011 NBA Playoffs on May 8, 2011 at American Airlines
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    This is another no-brainer.

    The Mavericks are a very deep team with several solid role players, but Dirk is really the only star.

    He has ridiculous versatility as a seven-foot forward who scores a significant chunk of his points from the perimeter.

    Dirk was the single-most important factor in the Mavericks' sweep of the Los Angeles Lakers.

Denver Nuggets: Danilo Gallinari

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    DENVER, CO - APRIL 25:  Danilo Gallinari #8 of the Denver Nuggets celebrates after hitting a three point basket against the Oklahoma City Thunder during the fourth quarter in Game Four of the Western Conference Quarterfinals in the 2011 NBA Playoffs at Pe
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    When the Nuggets traded Carmelo Anthony, they got a few solid scorers in return (Gallinari, Wilson Chandler and Raymond Felton).

    Because of his combination of size and perimeter skills, Gallinari not only the Nuggets' most imposing offensive force but has the potential to become one of the league's best offensive weapons.

    The team was very balanced following the Anthony trade.  Galinari averaged around 15 points on just nine shots a game as a member of the Nuggets.

Detroit Pistons: Ben Gordon

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    ORLANDO, FL - JANUARY 24:  Ben Gordon #7 of the Detroit Pistons sets up a play during the game against the Orlando Magic at Amway Arena on January 24, 2011 in Orlando, Florida.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and
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    Gordon averaged just 11.2 points per game this year, but I still feel he is the best offensive player on the Pistons.

    Coach John Kuester did strange things all year and led the team to an awful record.  Pinning Gordon into such a minuscule role is one of the weirdest things he's done.

Golden State Warriors: Stephen Curry

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    OAKLAND, CA - MARCH 25:  Stephen Curry #30 of the Golden State Warriors in action against the Toronto Raptors at Oracle Arena on March 25, 2011 in Oakland, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using
    Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

    I know what you're thinking: I'm crazy for going with Stephen Curry instead of Monta Ellis here.

    Hear me out.

    Yes, Ellis led the team in scoring, but Curry actually averaged more points per shot attempt.  Plus, Curry led the team in assists per game.

    Curry played nearly seven fewer minutes a game than Ellis.  When you compare their production per 36 minutes, the gap in points is smaller while the gap in assists is bigger.

    If you look at a few advanced statistics, the picture becomes even more clear.

    Curry had a better Player Efficiency Rating and had more Offensive Win Shares than Ellis.

Houston Rockets: Kevin Martin

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    OAKLAND, CA - DECEMBER 20:  Kevin Martin #12 of the Houston Rockets in action against the Golden State Warriors at Oracle Arena on December 20, 2010 in Oakland, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or u
    Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

    Kevin Martin has averaged over 20 points a game in each of the last five seasons.  This year, he led the Rockets in scoring at 23.5 points a game.

    He is an extremely efficient scorer, as he averaged fewer than 16 field goal attempts per game.

    So how does he score so many points on that amount of shots?  He averages 2.2 threes and 7.4 free throws made per game.

Indiana Pacers: Danny Granger

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    PHOENIX - DECEMBER 03:  Danny Granger #33 of the Indiana Pacers during the NBA game against the Phoenix Suns at US Airways Center on December 3, 2010 in Phoenix, Arizona.  The Suns defeated the Pacers 105-97.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and
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    Granger's numbers were down a bit this year, but he's still clearly the most imposing offensive force on the Pacers.

    He led the team in scoring at 20.5 points per game and is one of the league's best three-point shooters.  He shot 39 percent from downtown and was sixth in the NBA in threes made at 157.

Los Angeles Clippers: Blake Griffin

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    BOSTON, MA - MARCH 09:  Blake Griffin #32 of the Los Angeles Clippers takes a shot in the second half against the Boston Celtics on March 9, 2011 at the TD Garden in Boston, Massachusetts. The Los Angeles Clippers defeated the Boston Celtics 108-103. NOTE
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    The word imposing may suit Blake Griffin better than anyone else on this list.  His ferocious mentality made him a nightmare inside this year.

    He led his team in scoring at 22.5 points per game and was fifth in the league in offensive rebounds per game at 3.3.

Los Angeles Lakers: Kobe Bryant

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    DALLAS, TX - MAY 06:  Guard Kobe Bryant #24 of the Los Angeles Lakers takes a shot against the Dallas Mavericks in Game Three of the Western Conference Semifinals during the 2011 NBA Playoffs on May 6, 2011 at American Airlines Center in Dallas, Texas.  N
    Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

    Once upon a time, Kobe may have been the most imposing offensive force in the entire NBA.  He seemed to be able to score at will, especially when his team was in desperate need of a basket.

    He's certainly not the same player he once was but is still one of the league's best offensive players (and definitely the Lakers' best).

    He led his team in scoring and assists at 25.3 points and 4.7 assists per game.

Memphis Grizzlies: Zach Randolph

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    MEMPHIS, TN - MAY 07:  Zach Randolph #50 of the Memphis Grizzlies has a few words with James Harden #13 and Kevin Durant #35 of the Oklahoma City Thunder in Game Three of the Western Conference Semifinals in the 2011 NBA Playoffs at FedExForum on May 7, 2
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    Zach Randolph's numbers have been insane over the last couple years with the Grizzlies.  He has posted around 20 points and 12 rebounds a game in two seasons.

    One of the most imposing aspects of his offensive game is the way he hits the glass on that end of the floor.  At 4.3 a game, he was second in the league in offensive rebounding this year.

Miami Heat: LeBron James

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    BOSTON, MA - MAY 07: Dwyane Wade #3 and LeBron James #6 of the Miami Heat walk on the court near the end of the game against the Boston Celtics in Game Three of the Eastern Conference Semifinals in the 2011 NBA Playoffs on May 7, 2011 at the TD Garden in
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    Some people may think this one belongs to Dwyane Wade.  It doesn't.  And it's really not very close.

    James averaged more points while shooting a higher percentage from the field and three-point range. He averaged significantly more assists.

    LeBron led the league in Player Efficiency Rating (which says a lot more about offense than defense).

Milwaukee Bucks: Andrew Bogut

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    MIAMI, FL - JANUARY 04:  Andrew Bogut #6 of the Milwaukee Bucks dribbles past Erick Dampier #25 of the Miami Heat during a game at American Airlines Arena on January 4, 2011 in Miami, Florida. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by
    Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

    Bogut was third on the Bucks in scoring this season at 12.8 points per game.  He's still their most imposing offensive force for a few reasons.

    He didn't average a lot of points because the team's starting backcourt consists of two volume shooters (Brandon Jennings and John Salmons).  Bogut is easily the team's most efficient scorer.

    Plus, he was in the top 10 in the NBA in offensive rebounds at 3.1 per game.

Minnesota Timberwolves: Kevin Love

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    WASHINGTON, DC - MARCH 05:  Kevin Love #42 of the Minnesota Timberwolves against the Washington Wizards at the Verizon Center on March 5, 2011 in Washington, DC. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this P
    Rob Carr/Getty Images

    Here's another one that's a pretty easy call.

    Kevin Love led his team in scoring at 20.2 points per game and led the league in offensive rebounds at 4.5 per game.

    One of the most underrated aspects of Love's game is his three-point shooting.  This year, he was 14th in the NBA in three-point percentage at 42.

New Jersey Nets: Deron Williams

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    LONDON, ENGLAND - MARCH 04:  #8 Deron Williams of the Nets in action during the NBA match between New Jersey Nets and the Toronto Raptors at the O2 Arena on March 4, 2011 in London, England. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by do
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    If Deron Williams signs an extension in New Jersey, they could be one of the best teams in the Eastern Conference in a year or two.

    What makes him so imposing on offense is how much better he makes his teammates.  

    He averaged nearly 13 assists a game as a member of the Nets, and the team averaged nearly six more points per game after they acquired him.

    Kris Humphries and Brook Lopez especially benefited from Williams' presence.

New Orleans Hornets: Chris Paul

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    NEW ORLEANS, LA - APRIL 22:  Chris Paul #3 of the New Orleans Hornets reacts during the game against the Los Angeles Lakers in Game Three of the Western Conference Quarterfinals in the 2011 NBA Playoffs at the New Orleans Arena  on April 22, 2011 in New O
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    Chris Paul had a pretty significant drop-off in production this year (15.9 points and 9.8 assists per game), but during the playoffs, reminded us all just how dominant he can be.

    He averaged 22 points and 11.5 assists per game in the Hornets first-round series against the Lakers. 

New York Knicks: Amar'e Stoudemire

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    NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 24:  (L-R) Amar'e Stoudemire #1 and Carmelo Anthony #7 of the New York Knicks stand on court against the Boston Celtics in Game Four of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals during the 2011 NBA Playoffs on April 24, 2011 at Madison Squ
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    Carmelo Anthony may have scored more points when these two were together, but that has a lot to do with the fact that Melo loves to shoot.

    Stoudemire is the more imposing offensive force because of his ability to absolutely dominate inside (when he gets the touches).

Oklahoma City Thunder: Kevin Durant

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    MEMPHIS, TN - MAY 07:  Kevin Durant #35 of the Oklahoma City Thunder shoots the ball during the game against the Memphis Grizzlies in Game Three of the Western Conference Semifinals in the 2011 NBA Playoffs at FedExForum on May 7, 2011 in Memphis, Tenness
    Andy Lyons/Getty Images

    After watching most of Oklahoma City's playoff games, it's clear that Russell Westbrook would like to have this title.  

    There's no doubt that Westbrook is important for what they do on offense but not as important as Durant.

    Kevin Durant is arguably the best scorer in the NBA.  Last year, he became the youngest player to ever win a scoring title.  This year, he made it back-to-back titles.

Orlando Magic: Dwight Howard

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    ATLANTA, GA - APRIL 22:  Dwight Howard #12 of the Orlando Magic against the Atlanta Hawks during Game Three of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals in the 2011 NBA Playoffs at Philips Arena on April 22, 2011 in Atlanta, Georgia.  NOTE TO USER: User expres
    Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

    I let this one slip in the introduction.  But you already knew who would be on this slide.

    Howard had the best individual season of his career in 2010-11.  He was 11th in the NBA in scoring at 22.9 points per game and fourth in the league in offensive rebounding at four a game.

    He was also second in the league in field goal percentage at 59.

    If he goes to the Lakers, he and Kobe Bryant may be the best one-two combo in the NBA.

Philadelphia 76ers: Andre Iguodala

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    MIAMI, FL - APRIL 27:  Andre Iguodala #9 of the Philadelphia 76ers dunks during game five of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals in the 2011 NBA Playoffs against the Miami Heat at American Airlines Arena on April 27, 2011 in Miami, Florida. NOTE TO USER:
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    At 6.3 a game, Andre Iguodala was second in the league in assists by non-point guards (behind LeBron James).

    On his team, he was second in scoring and assists.

    He's one of the most underrated facilitators from the wing and could be a really nice addition to some team looking to trade for him this summer.

Phoenix Suns: Steve Nash

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    PHOENIX - DECEMBER 15:  Steve Nash #13 of the Phoenix Suns moves the ball upcourt during the NBA game against the Minnesota Timberwolves at US Airways Center on December 15, 2010 in Phoenix, Arizona.  The Suns defeated the Timberwolves 128-122.  NOTE TO U
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    Nash has led the league in assists in five out of the last seven seasons.  This year, he did it with a pretty weak supporting cast.  He averaged 11.4 a game in 2010-11.

    What makes him really imposing is his incredibly accurate shooting.  For his career, he shoots 49 percent from the field, 43 percent from three-point range and 90 percent from the free-throw line.

Portland Trail Blazers: LaMarcus Aldridge

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    PORTLAND, OR - APRIL 23:  LaMarcus Aldrdige #12 of the Portland Trail Blazers drives against Tyson Chandler #6 of the Dallas Mavericks in Game Four of the Western Conference Quarterfinals in the 2011 NBA Playoffs on April 23, 2011 at the Rose Garden in Po
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    As Brandon Roy's injuries have become more of a nuisance each year, LaMarcus Aldridge has officially filled the role of Portland's best offensive force.

    He led the team in scoring with a career-high 21.8 points per game and was fourth in the NBA in offensive rebounding at 3.4 a game.

Sacramento Kings: Tyreke Evans

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    PHOENIX, AZ - FEBRUARY 13:  Tyreke Evans #13 of the Sacramento Kings handles the ball during the NBA game against the Phoenix Suns at US Airways Center on February 13, 2011 in Phoenix, Arizona.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, b
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    This was actually the toughest team on the slideshow to make a decision for.  You could easily make a case for Marcus Thornton or even rookie DeMarcus Cousins.

    I went with Evans because of the combination of his ability to score and distribute the ball.  He was second on the team in scoring at 17.8 points per game and led the team in assists at 5.6 a game. 

San Antonio Spurs: Tony Parker

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    SAN ANTONIO, TX - APRIL 27:  Tony Parker #9 of the San Antionio Spurs reacts to a call during the game against the Memphis Grizzlies in Game Five of the Western Conference Quarterfinals in the 2011 NBA Playoffs on April 27, 2011 at AT&T Center in San Anto
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    This one came down to two obvious choices—Manu Ginobili and Tony Parker.

    While Parker averaged one less point per game than Ginobili, he shot a better percentage from the field, and he led the team in assists at 5.2 a game.

Toronto Raptors: Andrea Bargnani

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    OAKLAND, CA - MARCH 25: Andrea Bargnani #7 of the Toronto Raptors drives on David Lee #10 of the Golden State Warriors at Oracle Arena on March 25, 2011 in Oakland, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and
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    Bargnani is clearly the most difficult matchup opposing teams have to deal with when they play the Raptors.  That has been a big factor in his becoming the team's most imposing offensive force.

    He's a legitimate seven-footer and can score from all over the floor.  For his career, he has averaged over 100 threes per season while hitting 37 percent from downtown.

    He led the team in scoring at 21.4 points a game.

Utah Jazz: Al Jefferson

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    CHICAGO, IL - MARCH 12: Al Jefferson #25 of the Utah Jazz looks to against the Chicago Bulls at the United Center on March 12, 2011 in Chicago, Illinois. The Bulls defeated the Jazz 118-100. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by do
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    After Deron Williams was traded, Al Jefferson took on the unfortunately familiar role he filled in Minnesota.  He became a "looter in a riot," scoring tons of points for a terrible team with few other offensive options.

    Prior to the trade, Jefferson averaged 17 points and nine rebounds a game.  After the trade, he posted 22 points and 11 rebounds a game.

    When the Jazz acquired Jefferson, I was excited for him.  I thought he'd finally get to the playoffs. Then everything fell apart in February.

Washington Wizards: John Wall

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    WASHINGTON, DC - MARCH 14: John Wall #2 of the Washington Wizards dribbles against the Oklahoma City Thunder during the second half at the Verizon Center on March 14, 2011 in Washington, DC. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by do
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    Lost in the splendor of Blake Griffin's rookie campaign was an extremely good rookie season for Washington point guard John Wall.

    16.4 points and 8.3 assists a game are ridiculous numbers for a first-year player.

    In a year or two, the Wizards backcourt of John Wall and Jordan Crawford/Nick Young could be one of the most explosive in the league.