The Oddest Roster Fits in the NBA
With the major free agency moves behind us and teams starting to take shape for the upcoming season, some oddities are beginning to stick out roster-wise. Whether it be a cluster of players at the same position, the wrong type of player in a certain role or just plain quizzical moves, this free agency period like the rest have spawned a number of questions surrounding most teams in the league. Let’s break it down, shall we?
The Hawks’ Starting Wing
Who are the Hawks going to start alongside Kyle Korver on the wing? Jeff Teague, newly-signed Paul Millsap the improving Al Horford and Korver have cemented their spots in the starting five, but who’s the missing piece? Young pieces Jared Cunningham and John Jenkins are both far too inexperienced and well, bad. Meanwhile DeShawn Stevenson has long outgrown his prime. An option is starting rookie Dennis Schroeder in a dual-point guard lineup, such as the Hawk so often did with Teague and Devin Harris. Another is starting Elton Brand and going big with Millsap at the small forward position, which I discussed at HawksHoop.com.
The Boston Celtics
The whole team. All of them. Just… what? The team’s obviously rebuilding, with maybe a handful of players on this roster being ones they are looking to keep for the future. Where Gerald Wallace and Kris Humphries – the two former Nets – fit into this rotation wise is beyond me. It’s just a mess.
The Kirilenko-Pierce Dilemma
Who do the Nets start, Andrei Kirilenko or Paul Pierce? Well, who starts isn’t actually the biggest problem. Who’s going to play the most minutes at the 3? Who’s going to be on the floor in tight games? Each have their pros and cons, there’s no silver lining here. Start Kirilenko and you actually might not have a horrible defensive team, start Pierce and your spacing will be much improved. It would have been ideal for both to be able to play together, but with their playing the same position and All-Stars blanketing the rest of Brooklyn’s brand spanking new starting five, this doesn’t seem to be possible.
The Charlotte Bobcats
The Cavaliers’ Frontcourt
Roll call! Talented young big men, listen for your name! Number one draft pick Anthony Bennett? Here! Improving fourth overall pick Tristan Thompson? Present! Injury-prone rebounding machine Anderson Varejao? Aqui! The second-best center in the league a couple of years ago, Andrew Bynum? Strike! An underdeveloped center who was tossed into the meat-grinder last year yet somehow played well, Tyler Zeller? Here! That Los Angeles Laker that quietly looked good, Earl Clark? Here! Okay now form a single file line, where Mike Brown will try to figure how who the hell will start, play, or ride the bench.
The Denver Nuggets
7/23/13 – Police continue to search for two missing Denver Nugget front office personnel. The first is one George Karl, last seen hoisting a Coach of the Year trophy and getting knocked out of the first round of the Playoffs. The other is upstart GM Masai Ujiri, last seen in Toronto being awesome. If you have seen any of these two men, please report your findings to the police. There is a cash reward waiting.
Smoove at the 3
The Pistons made their splash this offseason with the signing of one Josh Smith, mid-range shawty with a knack for playing terrific all-around defense. He, sophomore Andre Drummond and potential All-Star Greg Monroe all are potent starters, meaning J-Smoove will have to play the small forward spot. Thing is, it’s not his ideal position and will effectively kill offensive spacing. Smith is a 28% career three-point shooter and is best when taking on larger and slower players at the four. He can defend all five positions on the floor though, so at the very least Detroit will have quite the defense and a whole lot of dunks.
A minor quip, but Douglas is replacing Jarrett Jack as the Warriors’ back-up point guard. Although Douglas will bring the defense that starter Stephen Curry doesn’t, Jack oftentimes found himself playing alongside the sharp-shooting Curry and feeding him the ball as he would a wing. Douglas doesn’t have the distribution skills of a Jarrett Jack, hell he nearly ended his possessions in a turnover as much as he did in an assist. The Dubs often went to this look in tight games, and it opened up easy looks for Curry and was overall quite effective for the team so long as Jack wasn’t hoisting mid-range jumpers left and right. In all likelihood we’ll see Andre Iguodala take on this role, but it would have been much easier for the Warriors to have seeked out a better playmaker.
What the heck do the Pacers do with Danny Granger? 4 years ago he put up 26 a night on a 58% true-shooting clip, but then regressed and was strapped to the bench last season due to a tough knee injury. Now young Paul George has stolen the franchise face of Indiana basketball, and Granger could very well be effective next year, but the two play the same position. This is the last year of Granger’s deal, does he get traded? Does he start alongside George? Does he come off the bench, where the Pacers desperately needed help from last year? We shall see.
Kobe Bryant and Nick Young on the Floor Together
SHOTS SHOTS SHOTS SHOTS SHOTS SHOTS EVERYBODY!
Despite this issue, the Grizzlies made it to the Western Conference Finals. Problem being, it’s hard to see them go further if this problem goes untouched. The Spurs were able to leave Memphis’s Tony Allen and Tayshaun Prince to go help out down low because the two couldn’t find the bottom of the net if they had their game sliders up in 2K. This will make it all but impossible for the Grizzlies to see the NBA Finals or a championship, and there aren’t many answers. Allen may be a trade asset but he is also Memphis’s best perimeter defender. Prince isn’t someone teams are trying to nab via trade and the young Quincy Pondexter has yet to develop the viable defensive prowess to make him a 3-and-D starter candidate.
All of Milwaukee’s Bigs
What were they thinking? You sign a boatload of bigs then trade the one who has a ton of defensive upside and the best name in basketball? I’m eager to hear how a frontcourt rotation of LARRY SANDERS!, Gustavo Ayon, John Henson, Ersan Ilyasova, Zaza Pachulia and Ekpe Udoh will be divided.
The Gordon-Evans Dilemma
The Pelicans signe Tyreke Evans to an $11 million deal this summer, and their intentions with him are unclear. Current starting two (Evans’ primary position) Eric Gordon has injury question marks, but until he’s out, Evans has no true role. He refuses to play small forward, so starting him beside Gordon would be a mistake. Having him come off the bench would be paying a player $11 million a year just to be a sixth man, which is unprecedented especially when you consider just how good of a player Evans is.
The Bargnani-Stoudemire Comedy Show
As of the Knicks’ rotation at the moment, New York has two off-the-bench big men. Andrea Bargnani, a shooting 7-footer who can neither defend or rebound and Amar’e Stoudemire, a non-defending 6’11” big man with the knees of a 70-year old. With no other options to turn to – unless Jeremy Tyler somehow makes the team and jumps ahead of either player on the depth chart – these two will be manning the bench frontcourt for the Knicks. There is the possibility of the Knicks starting one of the two, which would be catastrophic any way you look at it. Do you hear that? That’s the sound of the future. Listen closely. You will hear players dribbling by the Knicks’ bigs and finishing with easy slams. There it is again. And again. And again…