NBA Teams Still Missing That Franchise Player
Every Team has that one guy, that number one option. I'm talking about the elusive franchise talent. The Lebron James, Kobe Bryant, Derrick Rose, Dwight Howard of every team. Almost all teams, 22 to be exact, have one guy right now that they can label as their best player and go to guy.
The eight teams I'm about to name currently lack a number one option. They have some solid pieces but no one who assumes the top dog role on their respective team.
So who are they? Let's find out.
8. Toronto Raptors
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I can't decide who the Raptors' best player is.
I keep going back and forth between Andrea Bargnani and DeMar DeRozan. Right now, I'm leaning towards DeRozan as I believe he's got more star potential. Still, it shows you how much the Raptors need a clear cut number one option. Both Bargnani and DeRozan are nice but they don't command the same respect a franchise talent like Kevin Durant or Derrick Rose would.
The Raptors need a leader now more than ever, or DeRozan must step up in a big way. Either way, the void of a franchise player is empty in Toronto ever since Chris Bosh left town and it's up for grabs for anyone that wants to take it.
Current Best Player: DeMar DeRozan
7. Denver Nuggets
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Lebron James decided to leave the Cavaliers through free agency, which made Carmelo Anthony want to ditch his franchise as well. Only Melo was still under contract and had a year left before he hit the market.
That certainly wasn't going to matter for Anthony, who wanted out and wanted it right then and there. The Nuggets were left with no choice but to ship Anthony to his desired destination of New York. They obviously couldn't pry away Stoudemire from the Knicks and so they were given a bunch of role players as a consolation prize for Anthony.
Now the Nuggets are a collection of middle-level talent NBA players such as Aaron Afflalo, Danilo Gallinari and J.R. Smith. Sure, Ty Lawson is a nice player but does anyone seriously think he's a franchise caliber talent? I thought so.
Current Best Player: Ty Lawson
6. Philadelphia 76ers
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The 76ers-Iguodala marriage needs to come to an end soon, please.
The Sixers have treated Iggy bad enough by not letting him have the reigns to the team, but at the same time, not trading him to a desired team. He's simply become a stop-gap for the Sixers and it needs to end.
Sure, Iguodala isn't a franchise caliber player, but he's a great second or third option that another team could use. The Sixers aren't using Iguodala in the right manner. Until they trade him, they can't move on. Looking past Iguodala though, it's clear the Sixers need a fresh face to represent the franchise ever since Allen Iverson left town.
Jrue Holliday is their player with the most star potential. He's a very underrated point guard that has improved each season in the league. But is he the face of the Sixers' franchise? Only time will tell. My answer is no.
Current Best Player: Andre Iguodala
5. Houston Rockets
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The Rockets have been franchise player-less for quite some time now. Even though Yao Ming was the one assuming that role, he had lost it during the past two seasons when he couldn't stay on the floor.
It got so bad to a point that the Rockets had decided to just give up and move on without Yao Ming. Now with Yao retired, the Rockets officially don't have a franchise player. They have some solid pieces in Luis Scola, Patrick Patterson, Kyle Lowry and Kevin Martin, but no one that jumps out at you. Sure, you could say Kevin Martin is that guy, but though he's always been a great scorer he isn't a player you build your franchise around a la Monta Ellis.
The Rockets truly need that go-to-guy that they can trust and have him put the team on his back in times of adversity and lead their leader-less group.
Current Best Player: Kevin Martin
4. Cleveland Cavaliers
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If I wrote this article a year and a half ago, you would have called me crazy for saying that the Cleveland Cavaliers don't have a franchise player on their roster.
But here we are, a year and a half later. And the best player in the Cavs history, Lebron James, took his talents to South Beach and left the Cleveland Cavaliers franchise player-less. They did get some consolation from James' departure when they struck the No. 1 pick in the draft. Unfortunately for the Cavs, the 2011 NBA Draft was one of the weakest in the recent history.
Regardless, the Cavs took Kyrie Irving with the No. 1 overall pick. He's an intriguing player and certainly a solid point guard, but I just don't think he'll ever be a franchise player. He's got Mike Conley written all over him and there's little chance he can emerge as a top PG in a point guard heavy league that has the likes of Derrick Rose, Chris Paul, Deron Williams, Rajon Rondo, John Wall and etc.
Kyrie will be decent, but decent isn't good enough.
Current Best Player: Antawn Jamison
3. Detroit Pistons
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Ever since the summer of 2009, when the Pistons decided to shell out their entire cap space on undersized two guard Ben Gordon, and non-rebounding forward Charlie Villenueva, it's all been downhill for Mo Town.
The Pistons have struggled to make the playoffs for the past few seasons and the Gordon/Villenueva experiment turned out to be an utter failure. They made some right moves by drafting Greg Monroe and Brandon Knight. Hopefully, they can turn the franchise around, but first the Pistons must do some house cleaning and find takers for Rip Hamilton, Ben Gordon and Charlie Villenueva.
The Pistons still lack that clear number one option, and while Monroe has the potential to be a solid center in the this league, he's still got a long way to go if he wants to be the face of the Pistons' franchise.
Current Best Player: Rodney Stuckey
2. Utah Jazz
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The Deron Williams trade midseason left the Jazz without a leader.
Their two best players last season were Williams and Boozer. Obviously, Boozer signed with the Bulls this past offseason (talk about a bad contract), and Williams was abruptly traded to the Nets in the middle of the year.
What did that leave the Jazz with? A clump of above average players—Devin Harris, Al Jefferson, Paul Millsap, Derrick Favors—with no true number one option. On some nights, Big Al can go off, on other nights it's Millsap. The consistency just isn't there. The Jazz need someone to assume the void left by D-Will. Favors looks to be the Jazz's best shot, and he's far from a sure thing.
Current Best Player: Paul Millsap
1. Charlotte Bobcats
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The Bobcats did some serious house cleaning the past couple of seasons.
They never truly had a franchise player but they had a few that assumed that role during their tenure in Charlotte. They include Emeka Okafor, Gerald Wallace and Stephen Jackson. Each were the number one option offensively at some point during their time with the Bobcats, and as you can guess, the Bobcats weren't very successful with either of the three as their go-to guy.
They've made the postseason once and that's about it. All three were shipped off to New Orleans, Portland and Milwaukee and the Bobcats are now moving on. Currently, the most intriguing player on the Bobcats with franchise-type potential is their new draftee Kemba Walker. He's an electric player that made a name for himself at UCONN. Even though he's a bit of a tweener between PG and SG, the Bobcats should absolutely hand over the keys to Walker to see if he takes them anywhere.
Because, now more than ever, the Bobcats need a go-to guy to lead this young franchise. If only Michael Jordan was their best player and not their owner...
Current Best Player: Kemba Walker