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By: Lang GreeneLast Updated: 6/16/11 8:13 AM ET | 3650 times read
The 2011 season is over, a new champion has been crowned and the focus has steadily shifted toward the upcoming NBA Draft and free agency (barring a lockout). Every season there is a group of players, either through free agency or trade, who suddenly impose their presence on the scene or reinvent themselves after being buried deep on a team's respective depth chart. This past season granted us plenty of examples of redemption stories. Michael Beasley emerged as a big time scoring threat in Minnesota after struggling with the veteran laden Miami HEAT early in his career. Marcin Gortat was withering away on Orlando's bench behind Dwight Howard until dealt to Phoenix where he averaged nearly a double-double. Jordan Crawford played a grand total of 160 minutes for Atlanta before he was dealt to Washington and finished the season on a torrid scoring streak. Marcus Thornton couldn't break head coach Monty Williams' rotation in New Orleans, but after being dealt to Sacramento he averaged over 20 points per contest. Here is a list of players who would benefit from a change of scenery in 2012. Make sure you give your list in the comment section below. Josh Smith, Atlanta Hawks, Power Forward Drafted by the Hawks in 2004 as a small forward prospect, Smith has become one of the most electrifying power forwards in the game today. In fact most would agree he has all the tools to be a perennial All-Star. Unfortunately, Smith may have worn out his welcome in Atlanta. Smith's penchant for loitering on the deep perimeter and hoisting low percentage jumpers has steadily turned a lot of fans of the team against him. This was evident by the groans from the crowd whenever it appeared he was going into shooting form from the outside during the playoffs. Whether Smith is being encouraged by the coaching staff to launch so many perimeter shots or if he's defying their requests to go inside remains a topic of debate amongst analysts and fans. One thing is for certain; the offensive schemes designed by former coach Mike Woodson and current head coach Larry Drew haven't complemented Smith's raw athleticism and speed advantages he possesses over opposing defenders. Since the season ended there have been rampant rumors regarding the club's willingness to deal Smith this offseason if the trade would yield a significant piece(s) in return. For Smith, a deal to a Western Conference team who plays at a faster pace with less half court sets might be the final nudge that lifts his game to the next level – the All-Star level. Raymond Felton, Point Guard, Denver Nuggets After helping to lead the Charlotte Bobcats to their first ever postseason appearance in 2010, the franchise basically let Felton walk out the front door unimpeded during free agency last summer. Felton eventually signed a two-year $15 million deal with the New York Knicks. During the early portion of this past season Felton earned his share of All-Star candidate buzz by rolling to averages of 17.1 points and 9 assists for a surging Knicks squad before the All-Star break. However, the All-Star nomination never came, but what did transpire back in February was the Carmelo Anthony to New York deal which sent Felton packing to Denver. The Nuggets shipped starting point guard Chauncey Billups to New York as part of the Anthony deal and decided to hand the keys of the offense to second year guard Ty Lawson which effectively made Felton a sixth man for the remainder of the season. To Felton's credit, he didn't become a locker room cancer during the Nuggets' surprisingly successful late regular season run but he also didn't shy away from stating he wanted to be a starter and expressing his openness to a trade after the campaign concluded. The fifty-four game stint with New York last season proved Felton was a bona fide full-time starter, so a potential deal to a team with a gaping hole at point guard there would be no reason to doubt he could once again flourish with a heavier workload. Rodney Stuckey, Point Guard, Detroit Pistons Stuckey has been Detroit's starting point guard for the majority of the past three seasons but his presence hasn't contributed to consistent winning and the jury is still out on whether the former Eastern Washington University standout is indeed a true point. Earlier this week it was reported the Pistons will tender Stuckey with a qualifying offer which would make the fourth year guard a restricted free agent this summer. The qualifying offer consists of a 30 percent raise on his previous season's salary or approximately $3.9 million dollars – far below his market value. For the rebuilding Pistons tendering the qualifying offer had to be done because it gives the team the option to match any offer for Stuckey's services and allows them to potentially use him as an asset in a sign-and-trade transaction. Stuckey hasn't exactly been awful during his time as a pro, but a change of scenery and role might be the tool which helps him maximize his true potential. Stuckey would likely thrive as the first guard off the bench for a contending team which could use his ability to score consistently and handling the ball while initiating the offense in spots. Reggie Williams, Shooting Guard, Golden State Warriors In just over 100 games played as a professional Williams has established himself as a legit highly efficient double-digit scoring threat despite playing behind two of the most talented guards in the game – Monta Ellis and Stephen Curry. Williams was on the books last season for roughly $762,000 and will be a restricted free agent this summer. The Warriors would love to keep him as a strong backup on their bench but aren't expected to invest heavily with two potent guards already higher on the depth chart. In fact, Williams told HOOPSWORLD back in January that he would love to remain in the bay area but admitted it was tough playing behind the duo of Ellis ad Curry. "I would love to be in Golden State," Williams told HOOPSWORLD back in January. "I love the Bay Area, I love the fans, I like my team and I'm used to the system. But you never know what happens in the offseason. The offseason is crazy from what I learned last summer. So we'll just have to see. It's tough for me coming behind Monta and Steph who are great players. They come out every night and perform well. Here I try to find minutes where I get them. The minutes that I play, I have to just come in and produce and do the best that I can." There are numerous teams which need two guard help such as Chicago, Atlanta (provided Jamal Crawford doesn't return) and Indiana which will make Williams an attractive free agent candidate and a player to watch for a breakthrough season in 2012. Marvin Williams, Small Forward, Atlanta Hawks Williams will always be known as the guy Atlanta selected over point guards Chris Paul and Deron Williams in the 2005 draft. There's no way around that. But what's often lost in translation is the fact Williams has established himself as a more than capable starter on four playoff units. He's also recorded double-digit scoring averages in five of his first six campaigns despite being a fifth option in the offense in recent years. Williams shoots a decent percentage from the floor (45 percent career) and free throw line (81 percent career) and is a solid rebounder at small forward. If given an increased role in a different uniform Williams could possibly match his 2008 season output where he averaged 14.8 points and 6 rebounds on 46 percent shooting. Carl Landry, Power Forward, New Orleans Hornets Landry will undoubtedly be one of the most targeted power forwards in this year's free agent class. Over the past several seasons Landry has been hindered by either playing behind a more established power forward (Luis Scola in Houston, David West in New Orleans) or an up and coming rookie a franchise is investing its hopes in (DeMarcus Cousins in Sacramento). The 2012 campaign is where Landry will emerge from the shadows and solidify himself as a team's power forward of the future. J.J. Redick, Shooting Guard, Orlando Magic The Chicago Bulls thought so highly of Redick last summer they offered him a three-year $20 million deal. The Orlando Magic unexpectedly matched the offer in order to keep their perimeter firepower in-house as they attempted to make a title run. Heading into 2012 it would appear Redick is a little further down the pecking order of guards in Orlando. The Magic's top priority this offseason is re-signing shooting guard Jason Richardson and working the struggling Gilbert Arenas into a more involved role in the rotation. Redick would start on more than a handful of teams around the league and has increased his scoring averages every season since 2008. The only item seemingly hindering his jump to a more prominent status is playing time, which would change in a different city wearing a new uniform.
Does anyone know very much about him? Would he be a good FA target for us?
Last edited by NapTonius Monk; 06-16-2011 at 05:17 PM.