Blogtable: Flourishing in a new place

Each week, we’ll ask our stable of scribes across the globe to weigh in on the most important NBA topics of the day — and then give you a chance to step on the scale, too, in the comments below.

BLOGTABLE: Home sweet new home | Kobe and the Lakers | Is there a hot seat?

Pau Gasol joins the Bulls after 6 1/2 season with the Lakers. (Gary Dineen/NBAE)

Pau Gasol joins the Bulls after 6 1/2 season with the Lakers. (Gary Dineen/NBAE)

> Which player who already has switched teams this offseason will best flourish with his new team?

Steve Aschburner, I’m surprised there isn’t a “besides LeBron” qualifier on this, since James outflourishes pretty much everyone every year. He’s my easy answer in his first season back in Cleveland. After that, the guy who ought to flourish most is Lance Stephenson, since he’s a little older (presumably a little more mature) and will get every opportunity to be Charlotte’s go-to guy. But I’m not sure I trust him yet to fully “get it.” So I’ll say Spencer Hawes, Clippers.

Fran Blinebury, When you are the best player in the game, you flourish wherever you go, which is why the easy answer is LeBron James, the returning, conquering hero who will put the Cavaliers immediately into title contention in the Eastern Conference.  But I also think Pau Gasol is a perfect complement on the Bulls front line with Joakim Noah and I’ve got an eye on the venerable Vince Carter, who could be the wing scorer that lifts the Grizzlies into the upper half of the West race.

Jeff Caplan, I’m going a bit off the radar here with Jameer Nelson in Dallas, a re-tooled team that believes it could be top-four in the West. He’s been in such a tough situation the last few seasons, from the “Dwightmare” to Stan Van Gundy‘s firing to a total rebuild, that getting to the veteran-laden Mavs will be a breath of fresh air. Plus, he’s a great fit. Dallas badly needed a starting point guard after losing Jose Calderon in the Tyson Chandler trade. Nelson eliminates the need to start Raymond Felton and allows Devin Harris to come off the bench. Offensively, Nelson just has to be steady. He’s got weapons all around in Monta Ellis, Chandler Parsons, Dirk Nowitzki and Tyson Chandler. Defensively he’ll provide some much-needed tenacity. Nelson’s only 32 and with good health he very well could put himself back on the radar.

Lance Stephenson (Issac Baldizon/NBAE)

Lance Stephenson joins Charlotte for the 2014-15 NBA season. (Issac Baldizon/NBAE)

Scott Howard-Cooper, Lance Stephenson flourished last season in Indiana, so it’s not like this will be a breakout season. But the move to Charlotte opens possibilities he will reach a new level, certainly statistically beyond the 13.8 points a game last season. It lines up as a perfect opportunity. He will be especially motivated to prove the Pacers wrong for not spending more to re-sign him, and now Stephenson goes to a team that needs more scoring. He can do that.

John Schuhmann, Other than LeBron James, right? Lance Stephenson looks like a great fit in Charlotte, with the ability to give their offense a boost. He’s improved dramatically over the last two seasons, will still be only 24 years old when training camp opens, and likes to get out on the break, where his new team wasn’t very effective last season. With a top-10 defense, Al Jefferson, and now two guys who can create off the dribble, the Hornets will be fun to watch … and very good.

Sekou Smith, I like how you excluded Kevin Love from this question, keeping us all from picking the same guy. And I’ll even refrain from choosing LeBron James, the most obvious choice of the century. I think Pau Gasol will ease into an opportunity to recharge his career. He looked worn out and worn down during his final seasons in Los Angeles. He’s still an unbelievably skilled big man with plenty left in his tank. The idea of Gasol and Joakim Noah working in tandem with a healthy and rejuvenated Derrick Rose should have folks in Chicago fired up. Gasol is free from the pressure of trying to be something he was not in Los Angeles. Expectations went through the roof for him after winning back-to-back titles alongside Kobe Bryant. When injuries and uncertainty changed the mood in LA, Gasol struggled with that burden. Rose and Noah are the leaders in Chicago. All Gasol has to do is what he does best, and that’s play the game he loves without any extra Hollywood drama involved.

Lang Whitaker,’s All Ball blog: To me the player who has the best chance to make an immediate impact is Pau Gasol. The last few years he’s slipped defensively, but in Tom Thibodeau’s stifling defensive system in Chicago, they should be able to game plan around Pau’s deficiencies and get the best out of him. But it’s offensively where I think he could really shine. Gasol is on record as preferring to work in the post, which is probably fine with the Bulls as Joakim Noah is so effective at the top of the key, giving Gasol plenty of room to operate down low. And Gasol and Noah are probably the two best passing big men in the NBA, and together, with Rose and Butler and other guys cutting off of them, this may be the first time in a while the Bulls will be able to mount a powerful attack on both ends of the court.

Stefanos Triantafyllos, NBA Greece: You mean “which player that hasn’t won two rings, isn’t considered the best around the globe and isn’t having a good time in Greece right now”? When you have LeBron James changing jerseys, then you have the answer in all your questions.

Simon Legg, NBA Australia: There’s been plenty of positive cases of players moving on in free agency with the opportunity to flourish with their new team. If I have to pick one, I’ll take Pau Gasol after signing with the Chicago Bulls. Gasol’s last few seasons in LA were tough, albeit productive, and now he can find himself on a team that really values his skills. I’m looking forward to seeing his partnership with Joakim Noah. They could legitimately become the best-passing big man duo in the NBA. Gasol’s varied offensive game will get the opportunity to shine in Chicago because he’ll be playing with an unselfish center in Noah. He has a nice back-to-the-basket game with varying moves, he’s still a decent mid range shooter and as always, he’ll look to set up his teammates. Gasol’s ability to operate and pass in tight spaces will work perfectly with Noah. The Bulls’ offense will look less cramped with four perimeter players surrounding one pick-setting big in Noah. They’ll be a lot better to watch offensively in 2014-15 and a lot of that is down to Gasol.

Aldo Avinante, NBA Philippines: Lance Stephenson will surely relish his role with the Charlotte Hornets. He will be one of their main ball-handlers and creators. Stephenson has showed flashes of overall dominance when he gets it going and he will have more chances to prove his worth with his new team. Also a trio of small forwards will be do well in their new teams, that would be Paul Pierce, Trevor Ariza and Chandler Parsons for the Wizards, Rockets and Mavericks respectively. Pierce will be the veteran leader Washington needs, Ariza will be the do-it-all forward for Houston while Parsons will hopefully be the second scoring option to Dirk in Dallas (or third, depending on where Monta fits in this year).


  1. jdub455 says:

    Definitely gasol… the bulls will be a dangerous team with that noah-gasol combo plus taj coming off the bench… Lebron and Love coming to Cleveland is big but how the cavs play D will be a big question… the bulls and heat will always be solid D teams… Deng going to the heat is also a welcome addition… Prediction: Cavs v Heat east finals, with Heat coming out on top… Bulls without a healthy Drose wont make it through

  2. Alex says:

    These people don’t understand what the word flourish means. To flourish means to grow and Lebron is already in his prime athletically. Any flourishing on his part will not be a result of a changed jersey. Spencer Hawes was a brilliant pick. 3’s off the bench all day now that he’s on a good team (you want him on your fantasy team so much more now).

  3. LAkers!!! says:

    Angelo i should mention pack up and move to cleveland hahahahahahahahahahaha

  4. LAkers!!! says:

    i think if we give Jeremy Lin his minutes he will show his LINSANITY even better through out his laker career. Forget the rest. And You lebron lover just text him and make up thank you.

  5. Julio says:

    Shawn Marion will thrive because he does a little bit of everything and he can score. He also guards multiple positions like LeBron does.

  6. mee(a)t says:

    I think Josh McRoberts is gonna thrive in his new place

  7. ArgleBargledippityslipptyflimflam says:

    I can see Chris Kaman having a decent year with the Trail Blazers. It won’t be on a high caliber level, but he’ll help with the bench production in terms of scoring and rebounding. Same with Vince Carter and Vancouver. Lance Stephenson has a legitimate chance of being an All-star in Charlotte (IMO).

  8. Bob says:

    A leader point guard must have the stature to both reward and punish. When your big men don’t run the court, they don’t get the ball in the half court. When players don’t move without the ball, they don’t get it on the perimeter. When they dive on the floor and set good picks – reward city. Haven’t seen this yet from Irving.

  9. Hak of howard2 says:

    I hope ariza will do better then parsons that’s the rockets only concern

  10. TEG says:

    I think Pau Gasol will do well in Chicago. it’ll be interesting to see how the Bulls do, considering if Rose can stay in good health

  11. ANGELO says:


  12. najee colston says:

    honestly pau will thrive the most from his move during the summer time it was tough for him in la with all the trade rumors he finally found a place where he can fit in and be comfortable and really play his game.

  13. Kuhlmans Calixte says:

    I really enjoyed bornready in the playoffs last season, but people have given me the impression he is allstar calibur#OVERRATRED

  14. John says:

    Definitely thabo he will thrive in the San Antonio east style .He brings much needed d and is a overall great player he is also teaming up with an ex teammate in Kyle korver. Go atl!

  15. harriethehawk says:

    Toss up between Thabo Sefalosha and Lance Stephenson. Pau Gasol is only as good as Derrick Rose.

  16. Mike says:

    With or without Gasol, the Bulls will never be a true contender without a healthy Derrick Rose. Thibodeau is a great coach, but he’s terrible at managing players minutes. I hope he takes a page out of Pop’s book and does a better job of managing Rose’s playing time. Rose is the kind of player that wouldn’t struggle to go up a gear going into the playoffs after a quiet regular season.

  17. Bob says:

    LBJ is not going to have one of his best seasons this year. It will be decent but this is the first time he has played with a really good point guard so he will have the ball less and will want to engage his new team mates more to get their confidence up.

    Durant will get MVP. I don’t think Rose will play in enough games to be considered MVP.

  18. I see Pau Gasol and Jameer Nelson flourishing with their new teams. They both have been stuck in tough situations the past couple of years and could do with a change of scenery. They are both solid contributors.

    Lance Stephenson is going to fail in Charlotte. Kemba Walker and Al Jefferson are already the alpha dogs and they have already found a way to work off of one another even though they both excel with the ball in their hands. Having a nut case like Stephenson with those other two dudes is asking for trouble and a drama filled season.

    • shahz says:

      just cuz u obviously don’t like lance doesnt mean hes not gonna do great in Charlotte. one thing they are in dire need of is offence, which lance happens to be pretty good at, i think he’ll be fine

    • You could be right. I hope Lance & Kemba get along just great, its possible, but a ? remains.
      And I dont know why Schuham & Cooper picked him over some other great trades & signs.

  19. Jorge says:

    Sekou, why would you say “a healthy and rejuvenated Derrik Rose”, when in reality all he really is, is healthy and older Derrik Rose. While I wish the Chicago super star a healthy return, I think Chuck is wiser than most in saying “I don’t expect nothing (sic) from him.” I would love to be surprised and have such a strong season from Chicago and even Indiana and Miami, that the Eastern Conference is thrown really open.

  20. #dwade#flash says:

    *clarifications, pardon for typo

  21. Chuck says:

    No mention of Omer Asik? Bad journalism as he will give AD a mobile center next to him for the first time, and if the others stay healthy the Pels will be a handful. You guys still don’t comprehend how transcendant Davis is going to become. Bill Russell and KD wrapped in one body, but keep speculating that Kobe will be like he was.

  22. LovantheNBA says:

    I’d have to go with Loul Deng. Sure he’s been an All-Star before with Chicago, but Irving’s lack of leadership and isolation plays really left a team player like Deng in the shadows. I saw a couple games where Irving waved off a high screen from Deng because he wanted to play 1-on-1. With the absence of LBJ there is a void to fill at the SF position, I believe Deng can give the same level of defensive effectiveness and be an offensive option that can & will make sacrifices on Offense. He will once again become the player he was in Chicago playing under Coach Spo. With Deng starting Granger will be prepped to come off the Bench.

    • devin mcain says:

      “but Irving’s lack of leadership and isolation plays really left a team player like Deng in the shadows.”

      You call yourself a fan of the NBA but you couldnt be more wrong on this topic
      First off, Irving has perfect leadership at the age he’s at are u kidding me?
      Irving is possibly the most skilled point guard the league has ever seen
      just watch a highlight pact and youll get it
      Deng will just meet expectations in Maimi he will not soar or avearge higher than 20 point
      The free agent who will flourish the most (aside from LeBron) would have to be Lance Stenpson
      becuase he will make the bobcats a lethal team I see them finsihing top 4 in the east just you watch
      you might be laughing now but well see who finshing where (including the heat) at the end of the season
      no one disrecpts my boy Irving without the proper knowledge

      • spguide says:

        Sorry but Irving is not a leader, comparing to other top Point Guards, even though he has some amazing skills. Still i would not rank him near CP3, Tony Parker, Stephen Curry, Westbrook, Lillard. Also there is Rondo and Rose, if they stay healthy they are all around better point guards then Irving , who hopefully mature to be a top five PG.

      • SMH says:

        You sir, need knowledge of your own. “Your boy” Irving himself stated he hasn’t been a leader. Furthermore, you go out of your way to talk about his skills because of HIGHLIGHT TAPES. If we were to base everything off highlight tapes, then guys like McGee, Nick Young, and Jeremy Lin would be instant HOFers. I don’t disagree with you that he’s skilled (he has that ball on a string!), but I completely agree with Lovan about Kyrie’s style of play. He tends to go iso too much and that hurts the team. Argue with me all you want, but he had a perennial All star in Luol Deng, but still used his “perfect leadership” to lead his team to the cellar dwellers of the NBA. By comparison, Chris Paul led his team to the WC finals in his rookie year. Derrick Rose has never missed the playoffs. At times, BOTH players have made the playoffs WITHOUT A SINGLE ALLSTAR ON THEIR ROSTER. I used Paul as an example because you might try to say Rose is too injured to count anymore. I used Rose as an example because you might try to say Paul has a better team. Your move

      • #dwade#flash says:

        completely agreeing with you SMH and @ Devin please DEFINE “LEADER” in your own words, maybe we can get clarrifications on how you define leaders

      • Flexy says:

        Very intersting conversation, but all of the players mentioned are great players under poor leadership except for CP3. With that said it doesn’t matter how great of a “leader” a player can be on the court if they are being led by a poor leader themselves then the team will still go nowhere why becasue games are won by tight D and teamwork not by “floor leaders” true you may all have great understanding of the game but lack understanding of the importance of leadership from the top down. True leaders understand that what defines them as a leader is now how great they play but how they empower others to play better than them so in essence they really don’t have to try so hard to take over the game to win. An ISO player is NOT a leader, and regardless Lebron, KI, CP3, Rose, Rondo, Lillard are all great players with excellent IQ but sorry not leaders, and other than that they all have something in common, they will all lose to the Spurs again this upcomming season why, because their “leadership” starts from where it needs to, an amazing coach that enforces team play. I have never really been a fan of the Spurs but the ball they played last season was the best I’ve ever seen in my life, it was boring, but amazing, and played to near perfection. You don’ see none of those guys ever stepping out to talk about their leadership abilities why you ask becasue out on tha floor they are all a leader as a unit doing their part and that is true team championship ball