As yet another NBA season approaches, there are a number of key players who have said or have done something that puts them onto the NBA’s “I’ll Prove-it Team” . They aren’t always different players but hopefully they’ll have different reasons!
The top candidates for this season’s “I’ll Prove-it Team” and their runner-ups for each position are shown below. If you think that someone’s been missed, voice your opinion. We all want to know who’s got something to prove this season.
Now starring for the Portland Trailblazers is a 33 year old, 10 year veteran point guard. Andre Miller, Portland’s big free agent signing this off season, brings his career averages of 14.6 points and 7.4 assists to a good young team in need of veteran leadership. But this signing only makes sense if Miller can lead his new team deep into the 2010 playoffs.
Runner-up, Rodney Stuckey. Detroit traded away all-star Chauncey Billups to clear cap space and hand the reins over to the up and coming Stuckey. Well, the A.I. experiment is over! The team is now now reconstructed with Stuckey clearly the team’s point guard leader. It’s time to Prove-it young man!
In a huge shake-up for an NBA finals team, the Orlando Magic let Hedo Turkoglu slip away uncontested to bring in a former all-star and “real” slam dunk champion Vince Carter. As the Magic’s point forward, Hedo had the ball in his hands a lot. But Vince Carter
brings a level of scoring and athleticism the Magic didn’t have last year.
A career 23.5 point, 5.5 rebound, and 4.3 assists player, at 32 years old Vince Carter
has seen his stats slipping the past 2 seasons. The Magic gambled heavily on this $16m per year half man, half amazing player. It’s time to prove he’s still got it!
Runner-up Ray Allen. Now most people would think that Ray Allen has nothing left to prove. But this 34 year old, 20.9 point per game, 9 time all-star has gone on the record looking for a contract extension. Time to Prove-it all-star!
There are lots of small forwards with something to prove this season. Can Richard Jefferson bring the Spurs back to the finals. Will Luol Deng return healthy and productive with the Bulls.
But when a newly signed veteran free agent says its on him if his new team doesn’t repeat as NBA Champions? Ron Artest, Prove-it!
Runner-up Trevor Ariza. In perhaps the most reactionary signing of all-time, Ariza signs with Houston for the full mid level almost immediately on learning of the Ron Artest deal. Did he even consider other offers?
Take that Lakers, only carries any weight if Trevor Ariza’s game continues to blossom!
No one can deny Kevin Garnett’s passion. No other player could stand on the sidelines in a suit shouting “Way to go Motherf***ers!” during an internationally broadcast playoff game.
But KG’s injury last season was serious. Don’t believe otherwise. There is no way KG doesn’t play if it’s anything less. No one believes that Kevin Garnett at age 33 is ready to take it easier, let alone retire. This year will be all about proving that he’s still got it!
The runner-up Prove-it power forward has a lot to make up for. There was no bigger free agent signing disappointment last season than Philadelphia’s acquisition of Elton Brand. The career 20 & 10 power forward who was coming off a major injury the season before, never seemed to fit in on his new team. Then another major injury ended his season. No one has more to prove to his team and his GM this year than last season’s $80m man, Elton Brand.
The 37 year old, 17 year veteran, perennial all-star, and multiple NBA champion Shaquille O’Neal has joined the Cleveland Cavaliers with one goal in mind. “Bring a ring to the King.”
Not surprisingly, O’Neal’s stats have been in a 7 year slide. But understandably, Shaq believes he’s still a difference maker. Paired up with the best young player in the game, it’s time to prove you’ve still got it Shaq!
This summer in a move that caught some people by surprise, Bryan Colangelo extended his young center and 2006 1st overall draft pick, Andre Bargnani
for 5 years and $50m.
In his first 3 NBA seasons, Bargnani
only averaged 12.4 points, 4.3 rebounds, and 0.8 blocks and has taken a lot of criticism for not playing like a big man. The last half of last season saw Bargnani’s numbers improve to 19 points, 6 rebounds, and 1.15 blocks. Much better, but still lacking from a rebounding perspective. If Bargnani’s game continues to improve, he’s well worth that big contract. Prove-it big man!
Only one rookie is truly under the gun this season, Blake Griffin.
Every other rookie can fail win the ROY and still have had a great season. Not Blake Griffin! This dominant college power forward was labeled as NBA ready and a franchise player long before the draft. Anything less than being the best rookie, nay all-star consideration, will be labeled as disappointment!
Prove your critics right Blake! That’s not too much pressure for a rookie is it?