Throughout the season, we'll be taking a look around the league at how who were on last year's squad are performing. Our first look came a few weeks ago, so I thought it was time for another glance around the NBA. I took a look at a few we didn't cover earlier, and a couple that we already talked about but our still worth mentioning. Here we go!
Man, I miss Aminu. He signed in Dallas as a reclamation project, but really carved out a niche for himself. He was one of my favorite players on last year's team and I really thought the Mavs would do what it took to re-sign him. An athletic wing player with a motor that can rebound and play defense? Sign me up.
Unfortunately, Aminu immediately agreed to a four-year, $30-million deal with the Portland Trailblazers when free agency began. The Blazers had already traded Nic Batum and it seemed like LaMarcus Aldridge was already on his way out the door, leaving plenty of room in Portland's front court.
Aminu has taken advantage, starting in all 35 of Portland's games while averaging 10.7 points and 6.7 rebounds in 29.7 minutes per game. His offensive game still isn't great, as Aminu is shooting 40.2 percent from the field, but he is shooting a more than respectable 35.6 percent from deep.
It seems like it's a good fit for Aminu. There were times when he fell out of the rotation in Dallas, but it's nice to seem him have a consistent role on a team. I was hoping Jeremy Evans or Justin Anderson could fill the Aminu-role, but that hasn't happened.
Jae Crowder will be remembered as who the Mavs' traded to get Rajon Rondo, but at the time of the trade it was Wright who I was more concerned about losing. After all, Wright was averaging 8.8 points while shooting 74.8 percent from the field for a Mavs offense that was humming at a historic rate. His ability to roll hard to the basket along with Tyson Chandler was key for that team.
But Wright was traded to Boston in the package that brought in Rondo. Wright didn't last long in Boston and was traded again to Phoenix in the deal that brought Isaiah Thomas to the Celtics. His numbers dropped with both Boston and Phoenix after leaving Rick Carlisle's offense, and I'm sure getting used to two new teams and cities didn't help either.
Wright hoped for stability by signing a three-year, $18 million deal with the Memphis Grizzlies, but it's been a tough go. He's only played seven games this season thanks to a knee injury. It'll be interesting to see what happens to him if Memphis decides to make changes to its roster. The Mavs have a need for a rim-rolling big man, but with his injury and the way the salaries work, I don't see a reunion happening.
Remember that time when Amar'e Stoudemire was on the Mavericks? Yeah, neither do I really.
After Wright was traded, Dallas had a need for a back up big that could roll to the rim. The Rondo trade made the Mavs an attractive destination for Stoudemire after he was bought out by the Knicks (LOL!!). Stoudemire of course moved on after the season and is now a reserve with the Miami Heat.
He hasn't done a whole lot, playing in just seven games and averaging 3.6 points and 2.4 rebounds per game. That's a big drop from the 10.8 points he averaged in 23 games with Dallas last year.
It is strange to see how far Stoudemire has fallen after his days with Phoenix. From that to being bought out to being stuck on the bench? That's a crazy fall. But, as we saw last year in Dallas, Stoudemire has become a defensive liability (even more so than the past) and has lost most of his athleticism.
On a sidenote, I was the Mavs vs. Grizzlies game on Dec. 18 and saw someone wearing a Dallas Stoudemire shirt. I didn't even know they sold those while he was here?! Hope he got on clearance for fun.
The Suns are a mess, but Chandler has played better recently with three double-doubles in his last five games. Still, Chandler is only averaging 5.3 points and 7.7 rebounds per game, while his minutes have gone up-and-down sporadically.
I'm fascinated by what Chandler's future in Phoenix looks like. The Suns have lost eight straight games and head coach Jeff Hornacek's job is in doubt. Chandler seems like an awkward fit in Phoenix, but with that contract and the fact that Chandler might be showing signs of breaking down, it's hard to see who might make a deal for him.
Here's your frustrating Rondo update: he's averaging 11 points, 12 assists and 5.7 rebounds while shooting 54.5 percent from the field in his last 10 games.
Rondo's numbers don't change the fact that he was and still would be a bad fit in Carlisle's offense. And let's not even get started on the chemistry issues that comes with that. But, it is frustrating to see him look engaged and play well on a team when he looked like he had no interest in being here.