Posts Tagged ‘Elton Brand

06
Oct
09

Top 10 NBA Players at a Career Crossroads

Which NBA Players have taken their careers for granted, and not given their team 100% effort? Which high draft picks must either step up their game or consider retirement? What NBA veterans, because of a change in coach, team, or their team’s style of play will be forced to take on a different role than they have been used to throughout their career? Which players have suffered numerous injuries and are possibly being given their last chance to be a valuable player for their team? All are important questions which will undoubtedly be played out and answered during the upcoming NBA season. Here is my list of players who must change their game or find themselves riding the pine or at the unemployment line.

Darko Milicic

Darko Milicic(NYK) – When the Knicks traded Q-Rich to Memphis for the rights to Darko, everyone in NY figured that the move was made for 2010 salary space. After 6 disappointing seasons of 5.5 ppg and 4 rebs , Darko will be given one more chance to prove he is a NBA player or forever be placed on NBA Draft Bust lists(if he isn’t already). The ’03 draft is remembered as one of the best in recent memory but not because of (#2) Milicic.

Sam Dalembert mohawk

Sam Dalembert(PHI) – Since receiving a huge contract for averaging 11.6 ppg and 12.8 rebs in a first round playoff loss to the Pistons in ’05, Slammin’ Sammy has regressed, seeing his scoring(6.4 ppg), minutes(24.8), and Blocks(1.7) drop to their lowest last year, since his rookie campaign. He has had issues with giving effort and staying out of foul trouble. With Elton Brand and Jason Smith back from injuries and 2nd year player Maurice Speights pushing for playing time, I don’t see where he fits in new coach Eddie Jordan’s rotation.

Andrew Bynum

Andrew Bynum(LAL) – Andrew Bynum is the definition of talented but prone to injury. After multiple knee injuries, Bynum is expected once again to be at or near 100% for the upcoming season. Although he averaged 14.3 ppg and 8 rebs in 50 games and is signed through 2012, Bynum will be given the opportunity as a major contributor. If he succumbs to another major injury, he could drift into draft bust territory as a former(’05) lottery pick.

Eddie Curry

Eddy Curry(NYK) – For Curry’s sake, he should be motivated to be in shape and contribute on a bad Knick team who is already looking forward to the 2010 free agency sweepstakes. Since averaging a career high 19.5 ppg in ’07, Curry has played in only 62 games and his scoring dipped to 13.2 and dismal 1.7 ppg. Even though it is doubtful he will remain on the Knicks roster past the trade deadline, he needs to show something if he hopes to remain on any team’s roster past next season.  His recent injury won’t help matters.

Grizzlies Media Day Basketball

Allen Iverson(MEM) – Although A.I. can still play at a high level, the future HOFer is no longer among the league’s elite players and it appears that he is having some trouble accepting that fact. After refusing to come off of the bench last season in Detroit, the team actually paid him to stay away. Hopefully the humbling experience of not receiving any long term offers this Summer. and accepting a 1 year deal in Memphis, will give him a sense of reality and finally become a team player………….lol.

AndrewBogut007

Andrew Bogut(MIL) – It’s tough to live up to being a #1 overall draft pick. Bogut has been good, but not great. He has shown flashes of potential and has has career highs of 14.3 ppg in ’08 and 10.3 rebs in ’09 and is still one of the pieces the the Bucks look to build around. One could argue that he has been hindered by a lack of a talented point guard to play with, but that will change this season with the addition of Brandon Jennings, meaning that there will be no more excuses.

Baron Davis fear the beard

Baron Davis(LAC) – Davis is coming off of his worst season in years. The 2 time All Star and 17 ppg career scorer who was once considered one of the league’s fiercest competitors saw his scoring(14.9ppg) dip to it’s lowest in the past 9 seasons. At age 30, has the toll of more than 700 NBA games taken their toll on his surgically repaired knees or did he just have a bad year. The Clippers have surrounded him in LA with some outstanding talent to return to star status. Or will Baron be overtaken by the Clipper curse?

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Michael Beasley(MIA) – Can a player be at a career crossroads after just one season? Beasley will answer just that after admitting or not to having a substance abuse problem and going into rehab. Obviously Beasley is still a young(20) man who likes to have fun and not follow the rules but he needs to mature very quickly since he has already had a few offcourt incidents which may or may not have affected his play. Most players would kill for rookie stats of 13.9 points and 5.4 rebounds but they don’t live up to the standards for a player of Beasley’s caliber. He has already been involved in trade talks as bait in bringing Utah’s Carlos Boozer to Miami.

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Vince Carter(ORL) – At age 32, Vinsanity is entering new territory in his career. Carter has amazed all of us with his ability to take over games as the go to guy in both Toronto and New Jersey. He now must become one of the best role players in the NBA since the Orlando Magic are already stacked with talent and have one of the league’s best go to guys in Dwight Howard. The knock on Carter has always been his penchant for jacking up 3 pt shots, sometimes too often and at inopportune times. How Carter adjusts to playing within coach Van Gundy’s system and becoming a complimentary player may be the Magic’s biggest question going into the season.

Amare Stoudemire

Tie, Gilbert Arenas(WAS), Tracy McGrady(HOU), Amare Stoudemire(PHO), and Elton Brand(PHI) – It’s hard to put players on this list because of injuries but each of these players have missed significant time in their careers due to injury. Arenas and McGrady are probably at the biggest crossroads since they have suffered the worst injuries. Both are supposedly almost at full strength but are returning to different situations. Arenas has a good supporting cast waiting for him on a good team while T-Mac will return to a Houston squad in rebuilding mode. Brand has missed almost two full seasons due to Achilles and shoulder issues. His outlook appears good since he is on a rising young team in Philly with plenty of talent around him and is implementing an offense which favors multi-talented big men(see Antawn Jamison and Chris Webber). Stoudemire is not so lucky to be on a young team like Brand, but is on an aging team on the way down. All Summer long there have been rumors of his departure to another NBA city.

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06
Sep
09

Who Are Candidates for NBA Comeback Player of the Year?

Which former superstar will overcome injuries and make a comeback? This upcoming season’s list of possible Comeback Player of the Year Award nominees could read like an All-Star roster. Even though the NBA doesn’t officially give out the award, I thought it would be interesting to take a look at which players have the opportunity to be considered the best comeback players. The criteria would be that each player must have been at an All-Star caliber level at some point in their career and who’s numbers have dropped recently because of injuries, played on a bad team, or just had an off season.

 

T-Mac

Tracy McGrady – The player known as T-Mac has not made a major contribution to his Houston Rockets team for the past 2 seasons. Playing in only 97 games since ’07, McGrady has averaged 21.6 and 15.6 points the past two years. While this may be considered good for some players, it is not what we are used to from the 2 time scoring champion(’03 and ’04) and 7 time All-Star. As great players usually do, he upped his scoring average to 28.5 points even though he has never won a 1st round series. Back and knee injuries have ravaged the one time top 5 player, but recent reports have him rehabbing well and on the road to full recovery. At age 30, T-Mac could still be a great player if healthy. Putting up monster numbers for a rebuilding Rockets team seems tough since he doesn’t have much help. At $23+ million this season, Houston hopes he comes back hard!

Gilbert Arenas

Gilbert Arenas The Hibachi has been seen all over the internet recently testing out his surgically repaired knee. Footage was accidentally purposely leaked of Gil playing at Barry Farms in Washington DC this Summer as well as playing in the Chicago Pro Am while training for his comeback. The man with many nicknames like Agent 0, and most recently, Black President, was once one of the league’s hardest players to guard during the ’05-’07 seasons where he averaged between 25 and 30 ppg. The 3 time All-Star has three 50+ scoring games, even scoring 60 during the ’06 season. Since ’07 ,the Wizards franchise player has appeared in only 15 regular season games averaging 17.6 points because of two surgically repaired knees. As the video footage showed, Gil looks good and claims to be at 90% of his former self. There are once again high hopes in Washington with a good supporting cast and only at age 27, Arenas could still have many good years ahead of him.

Elton Brand

Elton Brand – It bothers Elton Brand that he never has truly been able to show the Philly faithful what he has to offer. He had high hopes coming to Philadelphia and joining a contending team which  has made the postseason the past two seasons with a young and talented nucleus of players after playing his heart out for perrenial NBA doormat LA Clippers for the previous 6 seasons. He averaged only 15.9 points and 9.8 rebounds before dislocating his shoulder in December. When he returned he would come back slowly from the bench and finished averaging only 13 points and 8 rebounds, which is a far cry from the 2 time All-Star’s career numbers of 20 points and 10 rebounds. He is still one of 6 current players to average 20 and 10. While in very good company, he will have had 6 months of time off which should be plenty of time to be 100% going into ’09-’10. A new coach, offensive system, and point guard should do Brand some good. I look for a strong return next season from EB24.

Garnett

Kevin Garnett – Everyone in the Celtic organization missed The Big Ticket for the final 25 regular season games and the playoffs. The 12 time All-Star averaged only 15.8 points and 8.5 rebounds before sustaining a right knee sprain which occured during a game with the Utah Jazz in February. Garnett could only play cheerleader during his team’s loss to the Orlando Magic in the Eastern Semi-Finals. One has to wonder that even though he is not ancient, at age 33, how the toll of playing more than 1100 NBA games straight from high school has taken a toll on the one time MVP’s knee joints. Garnett who has career averages of 20.2 points and 11.1 rebounds, dipped to 18.8 and 8.8 during the Celtics ’08 Championship season. While he may be voted an All-Star when he returns, I doubt he will ever return to superstar status.

Amare Stoudemire

Amare Stoudemire – Stoudemire is seemingly on this list every year, but it is only because he has so much potential. He missed the final 29 games of the regular season because he sustained a detatched retina to the same eye which he injured in preseason in February. Before the injury he averaged 21.4 points and 8.1 rebounds in his 7th season. Stoudemire seemed to be finally fully recovering from microfracture surgery in ’05, which was his best season averaging 26 ppg. With Coach Alvin Gentry bringing back the uptempo offense we are used to, and Steve Nash resigned for two more years, Stoudemire will have might have the best chance on this list to put up big numbers. At age 26, Amare definately has the most upside of anyone on this list.

Jameer Nelson 1

Jameer Nelson – Jameer Nelson has two meaningful tatoos across his back, All Eyes on Me and Accomplish Everything Without Fear. Both sum up his offseason coming back from a dislocated shoulder. Even though the Magic made news by letting Hedo Turkoglu go to Toronto and bringing Vince Carter to Orlando, All eyes are on Nelson, who is probably the most important player on the team. He is the floor general that brings it all together for a team that has aspirations of returning to the Finals. If healthy,he could be the piece of the puzzle that pushes them over the top. Before the injury, Nelson averaged 16.7 points, 5.4 assists, and selected for his first All-Star Game. Nelson, who was a former Naismith Player of the Year at St. Joe’s University, is supposedly back to All-Star form. If so, watch out Eastern Conference, because we have not seen the best of Jameer Nelson.




About the Author:

Allen Moll is an avid NBA and College Basketball fan who watches and studies games religiously and coaches youth basketball in his native Lehigh Valley region of Pennsylvania. Allen also writes for thehoopdoctors.com, Bleacherreport.com, and UpperDeckblog.com.

Favorite teams include everything Philly, like Sixers, Eagles, Phillies, Villanova , St. Joe's , Hoops, LaSalle, and Lehigh University Hoops.

Contact info: mollallen@yahoo.com

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