Final day of NBA Withdrawal… Thursday can’t come soon enough.
Over the past 3 days I have gone on a rampage with lists that covered blogs, tweeps, movies and books but as game time nears I am going back to the hardwood. Today’s lists will look at two category of players – Those whose value is on the up and up and another that covers players who will be settling for pay cuts next season.
Player Options, Free Agents, Role Players, All-Stars or just a guy vying for playing time. These 10 players have upped their value and let their game do the talking for them.
Trevor Ariza A 5 year career of being a 30% shooter from behind the arc, Ariza has added that weapon to his game since joining the Lakers. He is now a viable option on offense to complement his athletic and defensive abilities. After his playoff performance you can bet the Lakers will do everything to keep him in LA LA Land next year and beyond.
Hedo Turkoglu He has a player option for next year and its unlikely he will pick it up. He may pull the occasional disappearing act during the game and take some bone headed shots, but when the game is on the line he is the guy whose hands you want to have the ball in. He has bounced around the league but has finally been utilized well in Orlando giving him the chance to show off his range on the floor. Going into this off-season he will probably garner the most interest and nab the best contract going forward.
Ben Gordon He wanted more money… took a 1 year deal… recession hit… but he kept playing. Regarded as a streaky shooter, when he is on he is unstoppable. He is a SG but can’t defend others playing his position, yet averaging 24ppg against the mighty Celtics showed that he is still going to be one of the more sought after free agents this summer.
Rajon Rondo Averaging a near triple double in this years playoffs surely added an extra few million on his next contract. He took a lot of heat on the interwebs from fans of other teams, but this guy can flat out ball! He has to get more consistent with the jump shot, other than that he should be regarded as a top 10 PG in the league for years to come.
J.R Smith You may question his attitude but you can’t question his ability. He averaged nearly 15ppg and managed to play solid defense on Kobe in the Conf. finals. Rough around the edges, he surely has managed a MLE contract at the least from a team looking for an athletic shooter (I could name about 20 who need one of those!)
Marcin Gortat Polish Hammer has struck the NBA and he is only going to get better from here. Playing behind Dwight, Gortat has slowly developed into a very serviceable center , managing to hold his own when getting playing time due to Dwight’s penchant to foul out as of late. For $700 grand he is a steal and is sure to get a major pay raise this summer.
Mickael Pietrus Orlando got a deal and Golden State could have used him as he has developed into a solid 2/3 guy. He is athletic, can hit the 3 ball and slash to the rim making him versatile on the offensive end. There is room to grow on both ends but he can be relied on to play man defense on some of the best in the league. Above all else its about #frenchrevolution!
Jose Barea Playing behind Jason Kidd can’t be easy but Barea stepped up this post season and gave his team a different look. He was great in the first series and not so in the 2nd, overall he is showing signs of becoming a solid contributor to the team that is going to be figuring out their PG situation this off-season.
Luis Scola They were dropping like flies in Texas but Scola was the constant – He brings it every night. You wouldn’t call him athletic, or a force but he has high basketball IQ and does all the little things right. He upped his averages in almost every cat across the board this year and is a perfect role player for a team in need of a guy who does what he is told without having the spotlight on him to make him shine.
Glen Davis Big Baby with the Big Shot! He upped his averages in almost every category through the playoffs and came through for the C’s when they went into the post season sans Garnett. He is still a fouling machine but that will sort itself out as he matures and understands his limits within the game.