One of the big downsides to NBA expansion, according to some pundits and fan, is the lack of talent. The feeling is that the NBA can’t support another team(s) because of a lack of talent available. The “tanking” theory has only supported this theory.
However, it is possible for the NBA to support another team or teams to field a competitive roster. Recent signings around the league have only supported the theory that the NBA can field new teams from a talent level standpoint. These signings have quickly turned into major contributors, or have experience. There are also a number of quality free agents on the open market as well as a number of examples of players who went from sitting on the end of the bench to contributing in the NBA.
Here’s a look at some of those players:
Recent Signings From Out of Nowhere (Relatively Speaking)
- The Saint Joseph’s product has been a positive for the Knicks with 10.8 points, 4.5 rebounds, 2.9 assists and one steal per game.
- He’s been a little out of control with his cheap shot on Kelly Olynyk and his take down of Alex Len, but foolish decisions aside, Whiteside is a talented player who has shown he can be productive in the league. Averages 10.9 points and 9.8 rebounds per contest.
- Whiteside’s teammate in Miami, the guard averages 8 points a contest, he dropped 26 in a win over Phoenix.
Recent Signings with Experience
- The 5’9” Robinson brings instant offense as at the point guard spot, averages 11.1 points per game in NBA career.
- The former number two overall-pick may be more of a role player at this point in time, but he’s a pretty productive part-time player. Miami has gotten good value out of Beasley on a pair of ten-day contracts. The Kansas State standout has scored a respectable 11 points a game in 24.9 minutes per contest.
- James has only ever played for the Mavericks in his NBA career. In Dallas he’s proved himself to be a quality back-up center.
Free Agents/ Available Players
- One of the best pure shooters of all time. Considered signing with a contender this season before choosing to sit the year out.
Back End of the Bench to Quality Contributor
- The Seattle product went from averaging 2.6 points per game in Memphis a couple seasons ago to scoring 16.9 points a game this year with Philadelphia. Is Wroten going to score 17 points a night on every NBA team? Probably not, but his statistical output on a better team is likely to fall closer to his numbers in Philly than his showing in Memphis.
- Went from averaging less than a point per game with Indiana (0.9) to scoring 8.1 points and grabbing 7.8 rebounds a game in Phoenix his second year. Now with Milwaukee, he’s proven that at the very least, he’s a serviceable rotation big.
- Similar to Wroten and Plumlee, Covington was receiving little playing time with his first club (Houston). The wing player moved to Philadelphia where he has flourished, averaging 13 points a contest to go along with 4.7 rebounds a game and a 37.7 shooting percentage from three.
All of these players are either available or were available at a certain point in time.
An expansion team would also have the benefit of having two draft to supplement their roster. One of those picks would likely be in the high lottery. The other pick would likely be near the onset of the second round, providing additional value.
If the success stories of Galloway and Whiteside have taught us anything it’s that there is talent for the NBA to make use of when expansion comes. This isn’t even considering the concept of an expansion draft where the new team would get to pluck unprotected players from other teams’ rosters.
The expansion team would likely find themselves with a young building block to construct a team around al a Giannis Antetokounmpo, Andre Drummond or DeMarcus Cousins.
All stats courtesy of http://www.basketball-reference.com/ unless otherwise noted.