Who Needs a Fresh Start in the NBA
There comes a time in every general manager’s life where they look at their star players and the team around them, maybe even their coaching staff and say: “This is just not working”. At that very moment, a few things may run through the general manager’s head: Where did I go wrong? Why does my team suck? Why do I suck? Is it time to pull the trigger on a rebuild? Who do I fire to protect myself?
There are quite a few GMs who will be asking themselves these exact same questions this upcoming season, with the most significant question being, is it time to click the restart button. As hard as it is to do, general managers have to realize that when they make mistakes, they have to fix them and that may just be the toughest aspect of the dream job they have earned.
With a need for moves inevitable, their jobs quite possibly on the line, and their teams still having trouble to gel or more importantly win, which players in NBA circles need a fresh start, not just for their own good, but for the good of their current team?
1) Anthony Davis, New Orleans Pelicans
Two seasons ago, the Pelicans were able to beat out the injured, Kevin Durant-less Oklahoma City Thunder for the final spot in the Western Conference playoff picture.
The postseason opportunity was short lived as the Golden State Warriors made quick work, sweeping the New Orleans Pelicans out of the 2014 NBA playoffs.
With new hope in the 2015/16 season, the Pelicans sank again, back down the Western Conference ladder, missing out on the playoffs in a far more weaker conference than one in years past. Injuries continued to be an issue, most notably, their star big man, Anthony Davis again was unable to string together a healthy season. Jrue Holiday has struggled to remain healthy, so too has Eric Gordon and Tyreke Evans.
Now as the 2016/17 NBA season is about to begin, there are still questions surrounding Anthony Davis and whether or not he can remain healthy. Ryan Anderson and Eric Gordon are now gone, Jrue Holiday will miss an extended part of the start of the season to tend to his ailing wife, and similar to Davis, Evans’ health continues to remain a question mark.To make the situation more complicated, the Pelicans went out into the offseason and spent a lot of money and gave out a lot of term to none other than Solomon Hill and E’Twaun Moore.
That being said, once again the Pelicans playoff hopes will be hinging on the shoulders of Anthony Davis and his health. He has not been able to pull of a healthy season to this point in his young career, he does not have the necessary talent to make noise in the playoffs let alone make it there. Davis is still one of the best talents in the NBA. He has not reached his ceiling yet, which is scary to imagine, he has a lot of term left on his contract and will bring in a boatload of assets to a team that is still going no where.
How long before the Pelicans pull the trigger? Maybe 2016 should be that year.
2) Eric Bledsoe, Phoenix Suns
The Phoenix Suns seem like they are in eternal rebuild. When Eric Bledsoe first arrived, along with Goran Dragic, he led the rejuvenated Suns to a near playoff spot, falling just a game shy of cracking the top eight. Everything went downhill from there – everything including Bledsoe’s health.
An inability to stay healthy, struggling with leg injuries, while still remaining the highest paid player on the roster has allowed the Suns to load up on picks and draft some high upside players, which included: Tyler Ulis, Marquese Chriss, Dragan Bender, T.J. Warren, and Archie Goodwin.2016-17 will be another rough season for the Suns, but it is going to be important for the Suns to realize where their future lies. Brandon Knight and Bledsoe will not be the guys who will lead this team to future glory, but their young guns just might do the trick.
With health being a constant concern surrounding Bledsoe again this season, the question on most people’s mind is, why is he even here? Development must be pushed through the roof for the Suns this season, playing guys like Bledsoe heavy minutes will only push the Suns into the opposite direction. If Bledsoe plays high minutes, he will impede development, if he gets reinjured, he is just an expensive contract sitting on the couch. Either way you slice it, it is a negative.
The Suns are the ultimate “trust the process” team in the West and if it hasn’t been made clear last season, the team’s personnel should be screaming rebuild.
3) DeMarcus Cousins, Sacramento Kings
What more does this man have to do to get traded? He has disagreed with management countless times, he has butted heads with each and every coach that has come to the franchise, he has had issues with teammates, and he even wore Raptor shorts to practice. This dude is trying, trust me he is, but so far it has all been for naught.
This team is always a mess. Ben McLemore has been a horrible high draft pick, Rudy Gay is a borderline star whose is in the same boat as Cousins and needs to go. Their bench depth is non-existent.
How’s their point guard situation you may ask? Well, one dude’s got domestic violence issues on his resume, while the other has a history of DUIs on his. To be perfectly honest, the Kings’ franchise situation since their glory days of the start of the century can be summed up in a nutshell by their point guard situation of this season – it’s been bad, maybe even far worse than just bad.
The most unfortunate part is that the best big man in basketball and one of the best talents in the entire NBA is dealing with all this poison around him every single year. He is also, believe or not, beginning to mature as a player. He is entering his prime as we speak, while the Kings as an organization continue to take a step back with each year.
Someone has to tell Kings’ management that this is not working and they need to sell high on Cousins ASAP or this mess of a franchise will only keep sinking lower and lower while Cousins’ talents will continue to be wasted.
Nerlens Noel (PHI), Ricky Rubio (MIN), Greg Monroe (MIL), Nick Young (LAL), Kenneth Faried (DEN)