NBA Blog: New Faces in New Places - WVTM-TV: News, Weather, and Sports for Birmingham, AL

NBA Blog: New Faces in New Places

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By Peter Lancaster

Ten NBA players that have made an impact on their new team:

O.J. Mayo-Dallas Mavericks (former team Memphis Grizzlies)

O.J. Mayo found a new home in Dallas this off season. Mayo played his first four seasons with the Memphis Grizzlies but they elected not to re-sign him this summer. Mayo never seemed to fit into Coach Hollins’ system in Memphis but now he is a starter for the Mavs. Mayo has been spectacular for the Mavs so far this season while Dirk Nowitzki is still recovering from injuries. Mayo is averaging a career best 21.8 points a game, which is 7th best in the league. But the one stat that jumps off the page, his 58.2% 3PT percentage so far this season.  Mayo has benefited by playing on a team that relies on his scoring. Mayo’s attempts will likely drop once Nowitzki returns but then again it may go up due to the attention that Dirk draws in the post.

 

Jamal Crawford-Los Angeles Clippers (former team Portland Trailblazers)

Jamal Crawford is now playing for his third team in three years and the Clippers are happy to have him. Crawford is still one of the most dangerous scorers in the league. Crawford is instant offense in his sixth man role on this current Clippers team. Crawford spent last season in Portland but was not able to recreate the success he had previously in Atlanta. Crawford was able to win the sixth man award during his second season in Atlanta. Crawford adds another proven scorer on the Clippers’ roster. Crawford has been a major reason why this team has one of the best records in the NBA.

 

James Harden-Houston Rockets (former team Oklahoma City Thunder)

James Harden has become a superstar in his starring role with his new team, the Houston Rockets. Harden was a great third option with the Thunder for the past three seasons. Harden was their instant offense off the bench on one of the most electric teams in the NBA. Harden was traded right before the start of the season in a surprise but necessary move. The Thunder felt they would not be able to re-sign him and made a trade that benefitted both teams. Harden has been the Rockets’ leading scorer this season with 24.2 points a game. The Rockets’ now have their star player and will continue to grow and flourish with his play this season.

 

Ray Allen-Miami Heat (former team Boston Celtics)

Ray Allen caused quite the stir with choosing the Miami Heat for his new home. Allen needed a change of scenery and he is fitting in nicely with the Heat. Allen’s minutes and shooting attempts are all down so far this season but his 51.2% 3PT shooting percentage has been huge for the Heat in some highly contested games. Allen’s impact will be greatly appreciated when the team heads into the playoffs. Allen will be a constant contributor for the Heat throughout the whole season.

 

Andrei Kirilenko-Minnesota Timberwolves (former team Utah Jazz)

Andrei Kirilenko, a versatile forward with a great inside/out game and a tremendous defender. Kirilenko was a vital part of the Jazz organization for a decade. Kirilenko never reached that superstar level while playing with Utah. Kirilenko played in Russia this past season but was signed during the offseason by the Timberwolves. Kirilenko leads the Timberwolves in rebounds and is second in scoring. Kirilenko is a leader for Minnesota while their superstar Kevin Lowe recovers from injuries. Kirilenko’s versatility will just add another wrinkle to this young and upcoming team. Love and Kirilenko’s styles will match up nicely and they should be able to play on the court at the same time once Kevin returns to action.

 

Jason Kidd-New York Knicks (former team Dallas Mavericks)

Jason Kidd made the move to the Big Apple this off season to be the set up guy for Anthony & Stoudemire. The move was seen more of a desperate move by the Knicks, who missed out on other free agents, but this signing has worked out perfectly for the Knicks. Kidd’s veteran leadership has been a big part of their early season success. Kidd gives the Knicks balance at the point guard position and allows Anthony the freedom to post up or spot up for his shot. Kidd and Felton have become a great backcourt and with Stoudemire returning from injury soon, it will make the Knicks that much more dangerous.

 

Raymond Felton-New York Knicks (former team Portland Trailblazers)

Raymond Felton made his return to the Knicks this off season after leaving the team two years ago during the Carmelo Anthony trade. Felton was having his best season with the Knicks before the trade to Denver. Felton never fit into the plans for the Nuggets or Trailblazers. Felton is now sharing the backcourt with Jason Kidd. They both have played well and are finding a way to showcase both of their point guard skills on the court at the same time. Felton is back leading the Knicks and is the team’s third leading scorer.

 

Arron Afflalo-Orlando Magic (former team Denver Nuggets)

Arron Afflalo made his way to Orlando as part of the Dwight Howard mega trade that involved three teams. Afflalo was a starter for the young Nuggets team and his game improved during his three years in Denver. Afflalo was the key player the Magic received in the Howard trade. Afflalo leads the Magic in scoring and will be a major part of the rebuilding process in Orlando. Afflalo will be expected to take key shots for Orlando this year and it will be interesting to see if he can take that next step up to superstar status.

 

Goran Dragic-Phoenix Suns (former team Houston Rockets)

Goran Dragic returned to the Suns this off season by free agency after the Rockets signed Jeremy Lin to a new contract. Dragic played with the Suns his first three seasons in the league and he seemed to be groomed to replace Steve Nash. But the Suns, in a surprising move, traded him to the Rockets in exchange for Aaron Brooks. Dragic now returns to the Suns as the starting point guard, plus he is the Suns’ leading scorer at 16.3 points a game and leads the team with 7.3 assists a game. Dragic will be the leader of this young team for the near future as they rebuild in Phoenix.

 

Mo Williams-Utah Jazz (former team Los Angeles Clippers)

Mo Williams was traded this summer to the Jazz after a great season in a supporting role for the Clippers. Williams’ role on the Clippers was lowered after the Clippers landed Chris Paul but he still made big plays for them. Williams is now the starting point guard for the Jazz and is leading them with 6.8 assists a game and is third in scoring. Williams gets a chance to be the guy to lead the offense for the Jazz and to distribute the ball to his talented big men. Williams is a solid player, who can fill up the basket or get his teammates open shots with his dribble penetration. Williams earned this opportunity to be a point guard in the NBA and he is showing why with his play on the court.

 

Follow me on Twitter @PetorLancaster

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