The NBA offseason has been exciting, as new faces have been matches to new teams, making this upcoming season one of the most anticipated fans of the league have seen in a long time. Whether it be from trades, signings, or rookie additions from the excellent draft class of 2017, there are a lot of players on new teams. With players playing on new teams, it’s a fresh start for the player, and it could go a few different ways for them. They could thrive in their new city and uniform, or the move to a new team could end up being a flop. Teams obviously want the new player they are bringing in to thrive, as a lot of the guys on this list could be the championship contending piece they need, and having them fail in their new system could be detrimental to the team’s success. Other guys on this list are considered the future of their franchise now, and a failed first year could be a sign of bad things to come.
In this article, we will be looking at 16 NBA players on new teams, and deciding whether they will thrive on their new team, or fail. These players could have been traded to a new team, decided to sign with a new team, or drafted into the league. I’m hoping for the best for these guys down below, but certain systems, teammates, and other talent could have some of these guys ultimately failing with their new team.
Here are 8 NBA players who will thrive on their new team and 8 who will fail.
16. Thrive – Jeff Teague (Minnesota Timberwolves)
Jeff Teague has signed on with the Minnesota Timberwolves, and it looks as though he will be the starting point-guard for the championship contending team. Paired up with new teammates Jimmy Butler, Andrew Wiggins, and Karl-Anthony Towns, Jeff Teague will have a lot of new offensive pieces to his disposal, and will thrive in Minnesota. Teague isn’t a guy who needs to score a lot of points to contribute, as he is a glue guy and will definitely be running a solid offense with the Timberwovles. Look to see the Wolves going deep into the Western Conference playoffs, as the team is ready to contend after making a few solid moves this offseason, and having Jeff Teague thrive is important to their chances at success.
15. Fail – Derrick Rose (Cleveland Cavaliers)
Derrick Rose is on the right team if he is looking to win himself a championship, other than the Warriors. Rose was able to achieve some decent stats with the awful Knicks team he was on last year, but the Cavaliers and guys like LeBron James will be looking for more than just some scoring from Derrick Rose, as he will need to fit in with the system before GM LeBron gets him traded. Rose isn’t the same player that he used to be in Chicago of course, as NBA 2k even has him rated as a 78 this year for their video game.
Rose is only 28 years of age, but I don’t expect him playing very well on the Cavaliers behind LeBron and Isaiah Thomas. This isn’t New York anymore; Derrick Rose will need to produce if he expects to ride the success wave in Cleveland.
14. Thrive – J.J. Redick (Philadelphia 76ers)
J.J. Redick is going to have a career year in Philadelphia, most likely averaging around 20 points per game. The fit is just perfect in Philly, as he will start at the shooting guard position, and will be getting a lot of shots up as he is paired up with some solid facilitators in the starting lineup. Redick is a knockdown NBA shooter, and will stretch the floor nicely for guys like Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid, as the Sixers will no longer be one of the worst teams in the league. Signing J.J. Redick shows the Sixers are ready to win now, as the process is finally over and winning can begin in Philadelphia. J.J. Redick is going to thrive as a 76ers, that’s for sure.
13. Fail – Marcus Morris (Boston Celtics)
The Celtics were able to sign Gordon Hayward. With that however, the team had to get rid of lock down defender Avery Bradley to clear cap space, so they traded him for forward Marcus Morris. While getting Hayward is obviously a plus, having to trade Avery Bradley for Marcus Morris could prove deadly to the Celtics winning big this year. Morris will be added to an already stacked with forwards team, as he joins the likes of Gordon Hayward, Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum. Morris could prove to be a nice scorer off the bench for the Celtics, but I believe he will end up failing in Boston as he loses time to other guys similar to his position, and does not play to the same level as the man he was traded for.
12. Thrive – Avery Bradley (Detroit Pistons)
Speaking of Avery Bradley, the former Celtics shooting guard is going to have a breakout season in Detroit. The Pistons aren’t going to be a great team, and while they could make the playoffs in the East, Avery Bradley will be a big piece on team. He has shown flashes of being able to score well, but in Boston, he had to play along with other scorers and guys like Isaiah Thomas, and now he will be able to flourish. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope has also left the team to head to the Lakers, and that will open more time for Bradley. Expect his stats to be up in all categories this upcoming season, as Avery is most likely the best player on Detroit, yes, even better than Andre Drummond, meaning he will thrive in Motown.
11. Fail – Jimmy Butler (Minnesota Timberwolves)
Jimmy Butler is on the move to Minnesota, and while he is now placed on a better team than he was on in Chicago, I believe Butler will take a step back this season, even though his team may be one of the most talented in the league. Paired up with great players such as Jeff Teague, Karl Anthony-Towns, and Andrew Wiggins, Butler is going to lose a healthy percentage of his shots as he now is playing with some other serious offensive fire-power other than himself. The Wolves are also battling with some incredible teams in the Western Conference, and if Butler’s stats go down which they will and the Wolves don’t make a statement this season, this first year with the Timberwolves could end up being a fail.
10. Thrive – Rajon Rondo (New Orleans Pelicans)
Rajon Rondo is easily one of the most underrated players in the NBA. Yes he has had problems with coaches, fellow players, and front-offices, but the talent he brings to the court every night is special, and I believe he could have a seriously excellent season in New Orleans. Rondo is a passer, and now paired up with the leagues most dangerous backcourt Rondo will be able to shine coming off the bench for the Pelicans. Rondo’s season with the Pelicans is going to be much better than his time in Chicago this past season, as he found himself out of the rotation as the Bulls spiraled. Rondo is going to thrive and have a solid season as he and the Pelicans battle in the West.
9. Fail – Paul Millsap (Denver Nuggets)
Will Paul Millsap bring a nice needed veteran presence to the young and talented Denver Nuggets? Yes. But Millsap is getting older and I believe the young stars of the Nuggets will overshadow Millsap as he has one of the least productive years of his career in Denver. Millsap could have found his home for the rest of his career in the Mile High City, as they really are one of the most seriously intriguing up and coming teams in the league. Not to mention Paul will be added to the likes of Kenneth Faried and Nikola Jokic in the frontcourt, Millsap isn’t the only great player down low like he was last year for the Atlanta Hawks. Millsap will have a down year in Denver as is no longer an all-star player like he was in the East.
8. Thrive – Isaiah Thomas (Cleveland Cavaliers)
Isaiah Thomas’ stats will go down compared to his incredible season last year in Boston, but that doesn’t mean his year will be a fail in Cleveland, as I expect him to come in and produce alongside LeBron as the two make some noise this season together. Thomas was traded to the Cavaliers this offseason with Jae Crowder, Ante Zizic, and the Nets valuable 2018 1st round draft pick which will most likely fall in the top 3 after this season. Following a failed physical from IT, the Celtics added in a 2nd rounder in 2020 to close the deal.
The Cavaliers got a steal in my opinion in this trade, as they are acquiring two already established players in Thomas and Crowder, and added some young pieces as well to the franchise giving them leeway for the future. Thomas will be an excellent player for the Cavs this season, and will definitely be out for blood as he was traded from the team he battled for all season long, but that’s just the way it goes.
7. Fail – Tim Hardaway Jr. (New York Knicks)
Signing Tim Hardaway Jr. to a 4 year, $71 million contract is going to fix none of the problems that the Knicks are facing this season. Hardaway Jr. is a decent role player in this league, and the fact the Knicks signed him to a huge contract(so huge in fact, that Hardaway Jr. is making more money than his father made throughout his entire career), shows that the team just really doesn’t know what to do at this point. The Knicks traded away Hardaway Jr. due to his inability to score consistently, and he hasn’t done much to chance that so it’s perplexing that the Knicks thought it would be a good idea to sign him. The bottom line is Tim Hardaway Jr. just isn’t $71 million dollars good, and will be the same player he was in New York a few years ago as fans boo him as a scapegoat. Fail.
6. Thrive – Gordon Hayward (Boston Celtics)
Gordon Hayward is now joining a bit of a different team that he thought he was joining, as the Celtics made a big move. Now, rather than joining IT and company, Kyrie Irving will be coming to town as well to play with their new star small-forward. Hayward probably isn’t very upset with the trade, as he will still be able to show his talents in his new city. Boston is a bigger market than Utah, and Hayward will thrive as a Celtic and will have a career year even though he now has to play with Kyrie Irving, who is another dominant scorer in the league. Hayward has gotten better every year since coming into the league, and all the new moves and changes that has occurred won’t stop him from getting buckets, and being an all-star player in the Eastern Conference.
5. Fail – Frank Ntilikina (New York Knicks)
While Frank Ntilikina could be a New York star in a few seasons, his first season for the Knicks will be a fail. He was drafted with the 8th pick in the 2017 NBA Draft, and is still very raw and could have some trouble competing in the NBA right off the bat being only 18 years old. New York is a touch place to play as well, and a few bad games to start off could get Knicks fans on Frank’s case, which could end up having Frank crack under the pressure. He has some intriguing skills for such a young player, and could prove me wrong and take the league by storm, but I believe fans will begin to realize he wasn’t the right pick at number 8, as guys selected behind him have much better rookie seasons.
4. Thrive – Lonzo Ball (Los Angeles Lakers)
I don’t care if you hate Lonzo Ball, his big mouth father, or his almost $500 shoes, Lonzo Ball has the reigns of the Lakers now, and is going to do some serious damage even just as a rookie this year. After being drafted with the 2nd pick in this years excellent class, Lonzo Ball showed in the Summer League that he is head and shoulders better than the young fringe players that were in the league, which was a good sign for Lakers fans everywhere. The young team is perfect for Ball, as he likes to run and outlet the ball ahead which is going to lead to a lot of assists for the young player. Brook Lopez will be a nice option for Lonzo as well, as the team acquired him as they got rid of D’Angelo Russell to make room for the new face of the franchise Lonzo Ball.
3. Fail – Paul George (Oklahoma City Thunder)
The Thunder got a steal as they grabbed superstar Paul George from the Pacers for Victor Oladipo and Domantas Sabonis. However, Paul George’s season in OKC could end up being a fail, as he isn’t the most effective superstar in the league, and he will be lacing up with the likes of Russell Westbrook, who may have become accustomed to doing literally everything for his team, which could cast a shadow over Paul George.
George probably isn’t too worried on how he will do, as he has the option to leave the team after this season and has already stated that he wants to sign with the Los Angeles Lakers in 2018-19. That’s what I believe will end up happening, as his year with Russell and the Thunder could not be as great for the duo as everyone is expecting.
2. Thrive – Kyrie Irving (Boston Celtics)
Kyrie Irving is already one of the most talented players in the league, but at only 25 years of age, Irving will take a step forward this season in his new digs in Boston. It’s the end of an era in Cleveland, where he won one NBA championship alongside LeBron James, but even with the success he had in Cleveland, Kyrie wanted a place where he could be the leader of the team. He joins a solid team in Boston, where he will most likely meet with LeBron in the Eastern Conference Finals. The Celtics made room for Irving by trading Isaiah Thomas, Ante Zizic and Jae Crowder away. Irving is going to have a career year in Boston, as he tries to lead the storied franchise to a league leading 18 NBA championships.
1. Fail – Chris Paul (Houston Rockets)
Much like the Boston Celtics, the Houston Rockets gave up a lot of what made them special to acquire a big name superstar. Chris Paul is a guy that all teams in the league would love to have running their offense, but the Rockets already have a guy in that position with James Harden, and I believe the two will be an odd fit for Houston’s backcourt. I believe the two will bump heads a little bit throughout the early goings of the season, and whether they are able to right the ship and get on the right path will be up to them. Paul will most likely have a down season as he tries to get used to his new team, as things are not the same as they were in Los Angeles that’s for sure as he loses talent in the front court and will have to play with James Harden who will need to have the ball in his hands a whole lot, something I’m not sure Paul is ready for.
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