The biggest stars in the NBA lately have been joining teams that already have stars on their team. The rationale behind this is many players, like LeBron James when he joined the Miami Heat, want to win a championship so badly that they will go anywhere to achieve the ultimate prize. There are also examples of players who have struggled on their new teams in the past. Dwight Howard joined the Los Angeles Lakes a few years ago, and many thought the Lakers were destined to be successful. The Lakers and Dwight Howard struggled, and Howard failed to build much chemistry with his Laker teammates.
Player movement is always an entertaining aspect of the NBA that ramps up during the summer time each and every year. Some players become very rich during the offseason. Other players are clinging on to a team to keep their NBA life from withering away. It is interesting to see where some of the star players of the league will end up, whether that is a new team or they stay loyal to their current teams. Joining a new team can either lead to a player being highly successful or struggling greatly in a new environment.
Here are 8 NBA players who will do well for their new team and 7 who will struggle.
Succeed: Al Horford
The Boston Celtics were in desperate need of filling a big void at the center position, and Al Horford is an All-Star caliber center that has filled that void. The Celtics are a team that seems to be trending upward. Horford’s former team has a big pair of shoes to fill, and the Celtics seem to be primed to be contenders in the eastern conference. Horford was only able to collect seven rebounds a game last season. He had to share the front court with Paul Millsap, who is an extremely talented rebounder.
Horford is now the number one rebounder on his team, and should be able to drastically improve his rebounding totals this upcoming season. The Celtics have also proven to be a great defensive team. The Celtics’ above average defensive play should also cause missed shots which will translate to more rebounding opportunities for Horford, and he should also be able to keep on scoring at a high rate on his new team.
Fail: Derrick Rose
Derrick Rose at one point in his career was the MVP of the NBA, but his game has seemed to regress mightily ever since he reached the top of the mountain. His last season with the Bulls seemed to have a lot of drama associated with it. The relationship between the Bulls and Rose seemed to be becoming toxic, and it became so damaged that the Bulls traded Rose to the Knicks. The Knicks have been in shambles ever since Phil Jackson stepped foot in the front office.
The culture presently associated with the Knicks is not a winning one, and Rose’s point per game total has dropped almost nine points since he was named the MVP of the NBA during the 2011-12 NBA season. Scoring is really the only contribution he can make for a team, and with Carmelo Anthony and Kristaps Porzingis being the main scoring pillars for the Knicks, Rose may struggle to get a lot of touches on the offensive end.
Succeed: Kevin Durant
Kevin Durant made the most surprising move of the 2016 NBA offseason by leaving the Oklahoma City Thunder, a team with whom he spent his entire career, and joined the Golden State Warriors. There are many arguments to be made as to why he will be very successful with his new team. The Warriors will likely be the Vegas favorites to win the NBA championship next season, and if Durant does capture his first championship his stint with the Warriors will be seen as a success. The Warriors also have so many different offensive weapons on the floor. Opposing teams will most likely try to limit the three point shooting of the Warriors, but Durant is also very capable of knocking down mid-range shots if the three is not available. Durant should have no problem scoring at a similar rate that he was while playing with Russell Westbrook and the Thunder.
Fail: Harrison Barnes
Harrison Barnes is now being seen as a potential number one option on a Mavericks team that has leaned on the scoring and leadership presence of Dirk Nowitzki for over a decade. Being a number one option in most cases involves carrying the bulk of the scoring load for your team, and also being able to perform at a high level when the game is on the line. Barnes only averaged 12 points per game last season. Most of his shots were uncontested due to him sharing the floor with Steph Curry, Klay Thompson, and Draymond Green, and despite having a ton of open shots he struggled tremendously with his shot during the 2016 NBA Finals.
The contract that Barnes received was given to him based on hope from the Mavericks that he can become an All-Star. Harrison Barnes will most likely struggle if he continues to trend in the same direction he was trending in the 2016 NBA playoffs, which took a sharp turn down during the 2016 NBA Finals.
Succeed: Dwyane Wade
Dwyane Wade has had an incredible career as a member of the Miami Heat, but due to recent business related fights with Pat Riley, Wade has switched uniforms. The Chicago Bulls signed a hometown kid in Dwyane Wade. The Bulls were initially looking as if they would begin rebuilding, but the acquisition of Wade makes it obvious that the Bulls are reloading to make another run at being an elite team in the east. Wade was also arguably the best player for the Miami Heat during the 2015-16 NBA season.
Jimmy Butler will more than likely be the main focus of most opposing teams, and Wade can take advantage of this by scorching defenses who think he has maybe lost a step in the last few years. He is still capable of scoring 20 plus points in a game and scoring in bunches towards the end of games in clutch situations.
Fail: Chandler Parsons
Chandler Parsons seemed like he was exceeding everyone’s expectations early on in his career when he was a member of the Houston Rockets. He then joined the Dallas Mavericks for a couple of seasons, and his game did not seem to get much better. Since his game has been declining in the past, it is not a reach to assume that he will struggle when he joins the Memphis Grizzlies for the 2016-17 NBA season. Many thought that Parsons had the potential to be a 20 point a game type of scorer.
He surely will not reach this plateau with the Memphis Grizzlies, and Marc Gasol, Mike Conley, and Zach Randolph have been the three main contributors offensively for the past handful of seasons for the Grizzlies. It is tough to see how many shots Parsons will be allotted. If there are not a lot of offensive opportunities presented to Parsons he may struggle to score, and may fall into the categorization of a role player as opposed to a star.
Succeed: Dwight Howard
Dwight Howard has always seemed to have a cloud of drama surrounding him, but he is now committed to joining his hometown Atlanta Hawks, and continuing their recent stretch of great team basketball. Howard will be a go to option for the new starting point guard of the Atlanta Hawks Dennis Schroeder. He is still a great option on lob passes, and can be a force on the offensive boards. The defensive presence that he presents is much greater than their former center in Al Horford, and he should improve the Hawks’ already good defense. Injuries have nagged Howard over the past few seasons. It seems as though he is completely healthy, and this gives many hope that he will play at as high a level that he was at when he played for the Orlando Magic years ago. His 14 points and 12 rebounds per game should help the Hawks tremendously on the offensive and defensive sides of the floor.
Fail: Jeremy Lin
Jeremy Lin almost seemed to revive his career with the Charlotte Hornets last season, so it is a bit of a surprise that he would choose to leave a playoff team for a potential basement dweller of the NBA in Brooklyn. At the end of the day it is all about the Benjamins. Lin may not be able to excel anywhere near the levels that he was at the last time he played in the city of New York with the Knicks, and playing in what most likely will be a losing culture is not a positive factor for anyone from a mental standpoint. Brook Lopez is the only real scoring threat for the Brooklyn Nets presently. Jeremy Lin instantly is the best player in the back court for the Nets, and this will cause teams to put their best back court defender on Lin making it difficult for him to score.
Succeed: Pau Gasol
Pau Gasol is a veteran in the NBA, but after last season it does not seem like he has slowed down at all. The Chicago Bulls were a train wreck last year. Gasol decided to go to one of the most functional teams in the NBA in the San Antonio Spurs, and will attempt to fill the shoes of the legendary Tim Duncan. The Spurs have a great one two punch in Kawhi Leonard and LaMarcus Aldridge. Despite being the slated third option for last year’s second best team in the west, he should be able to keep on collecting double doubles on a nightly basis. He will also get to play for a team that is more than capable of winning an NBA championship sooner rather than later, and with Gasol getting up in age, he will be invigorated to play his best to obtain another NBA championship to his impressive basketball resume.
Fail: Serge Ibaka
Serge Ibaka has spent his entire career as a member of the Oklahoma City Thunder, and was a little flustered when a team that he had been loyal too for so long shockingly traded him to the lowly Orlando Magic. Serge Ibaka has been highly successful as a third option for the Thunder. He has now been thrust into the first option role on the Magic, and Ibaka has never been a high volume scorer. There also seems to be a log jam of big man on the current Magic roster. Nikola Vucevic has been a beast on the boards for the Magic, and his presence on the floor will more than likely equate to a lower rebounding rate for Ibaka. It is also difficult to go from a team that has been so successful in the Oklahoma City Thunder, and then play with the same intensity on a team that most likely will not make the playoffs next season in the Orlando Magic.
Succeed: Rajon Rondo
Rajon Rondo’s career seemed to be spiraling downward after the 2014-2015 NBA season. He received little interest in free agency that year, and had to sign a one year contract with the lowly Sacramento Kings. Despite not having a lot of talent surrounding him, Rondo flourished as a King, and put up great numbers in a contract year. He averaged nearly 12 assists a game playing with the slop that is mostly present on the Kings roster. He is now surrounded by a much more talented roster, and could even increase his productivity surrounded by All Stars in Jimmy Butler and Dwyane Wade. The Bulls will probably win more games this upcoming year than the Kings did last year. It is always easier to give it your all as a player when your team is playing well and winning, and Rondo has not been around a winning team since his days with the Boston Celtics.
Fail: Bismack Biyombo
Bismack Biyombo was having a pretty mediocre season for the highly talented Toronto Raptors, but then the 2016 NBA playoffs happened. The Raptors starting big man Jonas Valinciunas was injured and Biyombo had an opportunity to shine. He performed exceptionally against the eventual NBA champion Cleveland Cavaliers, and due to this short run of success he was awarded with a generous contract from the Orlando Magic. The only problem is that the Magic have a player with his shot blocking ability in Serge Ibaka. Nicola Vucevic is a better rebounder than Biyombo also, and this makes it difficult to figure out what kind of role Biyombo will have on this team. His stat line was not all that glamorous when he was on a good team in the Toronto Raptors. The Magic would be best not to expect his meager stat line of five points per game and eight rebounds per game to be much higher.
Succeed: Jeff Teague
Jeff Teague was highly successful as a member of the Atlanta Hawks, but the Hawks traded him to the Pacers due to the rise of Dennis Schroeder. With the Hawks he had an excellent front court in Paul Millsap and Al Horford. Now Teague will get to play with high quality wing players in Paul George and Monta Ellis. Playing alongside Paul George alone should help Teague increase his assist total, and his three point percentage has been going up the past few years. He is going to a team that should have similar success compared to the Atlanta Hawks team he was on last season. Leadership is something that teams always look for in a point guard and Teague possess these qualities. Teague is virtually a model teammate, and he will be looking to lead the Indiana Pacers to a high finish in the eastern conference and advance far in the playoffs.
Fail: Joakim Noah
Joakim Noah had a long successful stint with the Chicago Bulls, but his days as a Chicago Bull are outnumbered. He is now a member of the New York Knicks who have been a dysfunctional franchise the last couple of years. Noah was often times injured during the 2015-2016 NBA season, but in the 29 games that he played in he was largely a different player from his former self. He now looks to be sharing the front court with Kristaps Porzingis. Porzingis proved to be a capable rebounder as a rookie, and Noah may not be as effective rebounding the basketball if Porzingis is grabbing his fair share of rebounds. It seems as if Noah may have turned a corner for the worst in his career. He will need to prove he is still capable of playing at a high level, and the odds are likely against him getting back to that level.
Succeed: Victor Oladipo
Victor Oladipo is often overlooked by NBA fans, but he has been an extremely productive player since he was drafted by the Orlando Magic. Just last season he averaged 16 points, five rebounds, and four assists per game for a Magic team that did not have much talent to surround him with. Now he will begin playing with a team that advanced to the western conference finals last season in the Oklahoma City Thunder, and there will be plenty of shots to go around for everyone. These shots are now available due to Kevin Durant departing the Thunder in free agency. Oladipo used to share the backcourt with Elfrid Payton, but will now be playing with the dynamic Russell Westbrook. The attention that Westbrook will receive by opposing teams should give Oladipo opportunities to score at a much higher rate than he did when he played for the Orlando Magic
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