Top Five NBA Players Who Will Benefit from a Change in Scenery
Top Five Players Who Will Benefit From a Change of Scenery
In the NBA, there are players who are lucky enough to find success with the team that drafted them. Other players however, don't have that luck. Chauncey Billups, for example, played for four different teams before finding success with the Detroit Pistons. There he was an NBA Finals MVP and earned the nickname Mr. Big Shot. Now with the Los Angeles Clippers, Billups is one of the most respected players in the league.
Different players have different NBA experiences, for every Lebron James, Kevin Garnett or Kevin Durant, we have a Kwame Brown, Greg Oden or Darko Milicic. Players who are supposed to come out of the gates and be strong but become disappointments usually become journeymen and travel from team-to-team. Instead of realizing their potential, they become role players who are seldom used and become benchwarmers.
We do have journeymen who have enjoyed a successful career as well. We’ve had Bobby Jackson who suited with seven different teams. We have Kurt Thomas who changed jerseys 8 different times. We’ve had Juwan Howard who suited for 10 different teams as well. This may not be quintessential superstar players, but they’ve made valuable contributions in every team they’ve landed in.
There are also players that have underachieved with their previous teams but breakout with the new team they ended up. Similar to the career path Billups enjoyed, I’m here to list the players who have the chance to make a big impact with their new team. Here are five players who will make a noticeable impact with their prospective new teams.
Number Five: Ben Gordon
After having five solid years with the Chicago Bulls, Ben Gordon signed with the Detroit Pistons in 2009, however he regressed there and posted averages of merely 12.5 points 2.2 rebounds and 2.4 assists in three years. The Pistons ultimately regretted the signing and they have failed to reach the playoffs as a result.
Gordon was traded to the Charlotte Bobcats in the offseason for Corey Magette. Now Gordon has another chance to be a major contributor on a young team. If he was sharing minutes and touches with Richard Hamilton and Tayshaun Prince in Detroit, now he has the chance to come in and just score in Charlotte.
Gordon has the opportunity to regain the form he had when he was with the Bulls, at least scoring wise, he can go back to scoring 18 to 20 points night in and night out. Obviously all he will ever be is a great scoring option and nothing else, but for the Bobcats that’s all they’ll need.
Number Four: Ryan Anderson
Ryan Anderson has slowly developed in his time with the Orlando Magic. He has consistently seen a steady spike on his minutes until he plateaud with 32 minutes per game last year. Thanks to the spike in his minutes, he won the most improved player award last year. After signing a long term contract with the New Orleans Hornets, he is now ready to really show his skills on an up-and-coming team.
Anderson will go to a Hornets team with number 1 pick Anthony Davis, Austin Rivers and Eric Gordon. The team is unquestionably talented, and head coach Monty Williams is a fine coach. Anderson will have a chance to grow and really develop on a team that is clearly on the rise.
Anderson will have the chance to play the four or the five alongside Davis. He will have the chance to really dictate different matchups and he can even help Davis in his adjustment towards the NBA. Look for Anderson to score 18 to 20 points once again with at least 7 rebounds per game.
Number Three: Darren Collison
Darren Collison was one of the most intriguing young players in the league when he was playing for the New Orleans Hornets in the 2009-10 season. When he started sporadically for the Hornets, he averaged 18.8 points and 9.1 assists per game. When he was traded to the Indiana Pacers though, he struggled to really break out even though he was given starter’s minutes. He averaged over 30 minutes a game in his two seasons with the Pacers, but he was underwhelming and averaged less than 12 points and five assists per game.
He now has a chance to do well on a new team once again. He was traded to the Dallas Mavericks this offseason. He will be playing for a new contract in the 2012-13 season, and he has an owner in Mark Cuban who is extremely supportive to his players. I bet he will breakout this year with the Mavs to secure his future with the team.
Collison is still a relatively young player, and he still has time to realize his potential. This is the year he needs to show up and prove he still has what it takes to be a contributor on a good team. He will be given a lot of opportunities with the Mavs and he should average at least 15 points and 7 assists per game.
Number Two: O.J. Mayo
O.J Mayo is another player who has seen his stock plummet after an excellent rookie and sophomore campaign. He was averaging 38 minutes a game for the Memphis Grizzlies in his first two years but saw his role change and his minutes drop to only 26 minutes a game the last two years. As a result, his numbers dropped across the board and he was unceremoniously dropped by Memphis in the offseason.
After Memphis let go of Mayo’s qualifying offer, the Mavericks took their opportunity and signed him to a two year contract. Now Mayo has a chance to regain back his form on the Mavs. Mavs’ owner Mark Cuban showed his unrelenting support by even saying that Mayo could become a star in the NBA.
As long as Mayo is provided starter’s minutes then he will have no problems gaining back his confidence and his game. He could even realistically be the Mavs’ second scoring option behind Dirk Nowitzki this year. I would be surprised if he doesn’t come close to averaging 20 points per game with the Mavs.
Number One: Goran Dragic
Goran Dragic was initially drafted by the San Antonio Spurs in 2008, his draft rights were then traded to the Phoenix Suns and he became officially a Sun on September 22, 2008. He played sporadically with the Suns in his first few years with the team and averaged 15 minutes per game for two-and-a-half years before being traded to the Houston Rockets in the 2011 trade deadline.
Dragic showed some of his skills on the Rockets and was even named the Western Conference Player of the Week for the games played on April 2 to April 8, 2012. He returned to Phoenix this offseason as he signed a four year contract with the team.
Now that he will undoubtedly be the starter on the new look Suns, he will have no problems showing what his made of on his second go-around with the team. I have no doubt in my mind that he can average at least 15 points and 8 assists this year and be one of the most entertaining and electric players in the NBA.