Solid Gold Superstars
The Northwest have long been a source of NBA talent, although at times it has not been as prominent as it has been in the past few years.
With a variety of talent levels featured throughout the league, though mostly kept within the Western Conference, the upper left corner of North America is well represented and continues to grow.
A future Hall Of Famer, an Olympic gold medalist, a NBA champion, a handful of starters/ role players and a trio of rookies looking to secure their spots, the 2012-13 season will no doubt enhance the spotlight on the Northwest talent.
(Hometown: Victoria, BC. Team: LA Lakers, 2011-12 stats: 12.5ppg, 10.7apg)
Nash’s relocation to Hollywood has been one of the dreams for Lakers fans (or maybe just me, unless the Grizzlies were still in Vancouver!).
A completely different style from the conventional Derek Fisher, Nash is looking for his best shot at an NBA championship with what may be the most star studded roster of his career (LA = Dwight Howard, Pau Gasol, Kobe Bryant / PHOENIX = Amare Stoudemire, Shawn Marion, Joe Johnson / DALLAS = Dirk Nowitzki, Mike Finley).
A lot has been written about Nash throughout his career, but where everyone wants to see his name is next to the words….NBA CHAMPION!
Aaron Brooks / Isaiah Thomas
(Hometown: Seattle, Wash / Tacoma, Wash. Team: Sacramento Kings, 2011-12 stats: Brooks played in China, Thomas: 11.5ppg, 4.1apg)
The two Seattle point guards are going to be pushing each other for minutes as the Kings’ starting point guard.
Last year, Thomas surprised everyone as the last pick in the 2011 draft stepped up as a starter in the latter half of the season.
Brooks is looking to return to NBA form after a year in China. It will be interesting to see at the end of the 82 game schedule which Emerald City native comes out on top.
(Hometown: Seattle, Wash. Team: Chicago Bulls, 2011-12 stats: 11.2ppg, 4.5apg)
“The State Of Nate” relocates to Illinois this year. Although he has been able to provide a spark off the bench and has posted a number of big games in each of the four cities he has played in, Robinson has not been able to lock down a permanent residence for longer than his 4.5 years with the Knicks. With Derrick Rose sidelined, Nate will battle Kirk Hinrich for the starting role.
(Hometown: Seattle, Wash. Team: Detroit Pistons, 2011-12 stats: 14.8ppg, 3.8apg)
For whatever reason, when talks of Northwest ballers come up, Stuckey gets very little attention or acknowledgement. Since Chauncey Billups was moved out of Detroit, Stuckey has filled the point guard role adequately, though he is more of a shooting point guard, than a passing point guard.
However, it appears as though Stuckey may be in need of a change of scenery, as the Pistons have been stagnant for the past few years and relocation may be good for both parties.
(Hometown: Blaine, Wash. Team: Minnesota Timberwolves, 2011-2012 stats: 12.1ppg, 4.8apg)
An ever steady presence at the point throughout his career, Ridnour never seems to get the love and credit from beyond the hardcore NBA fans that he deserves.
With Ricky Rubio still on the mend, Ridnour will be asked to step up and fill in a starters role, something that he has been more than capable of his entire career.
For the Wolves to be successful this season, Ridnour will have to play a big role.
COMBO GUARDS PG/SG:
(Hometown: Seattle, Wash. Team: LA Clippers, 2011-12 stats: 13.9ppg, 3.2apg)
Unfortunately for J Crossover, his homecoming party was short lived and unsuccessful on a number of levels. Set free to explore his options this summer, Crawford joined the “Lob City” crew as they look to build on last years playoff appearance.
Playing beside or backing up Chris Paul and Chauncey Billups, Crawford now has the opportunity to progress deep into the playoff rounds with the most talented and deepest team he has ever played on.
Sadly, though, the Clippers will still play second fiddle in Hollywood.
(Hometown: Seattle, Wash. Team – Boston Celtics, 2011-12 stats: 13.8ppg, 3.8apg)
Moving from Dallas to “Dallas East”, Terry signed with the Celtics as a free agent and fills the same role as he had with the Mavericks.
As a combo guard sixth man, Terry can either run teh show or launch from deep to extend opposing defenses. As the Mavericks were over the last couple of seasons, the veteran-heavy Celtics are looking for one final chip before a rebuilding takes place.
(Hometown: Seattle, Wash. Team – Minnesota Timberwolves, 2011-12 stats: Did not play, retired)
Roy will find himself in the spotlight no matter how he plays this season.
If he fails in his comeback attempt, the Wolves will be on the hook for a good chunk of money for two years.
Should he succeed (fingers crossed), Northwest fans will be pining for the good ol’ days in Portland. With Ricky Rubio’s ACL on the mend and Roy’s knees grinding bone on bone, Minnesota better have an orthopedic surgeon on speed dial.
(Hometown: Tacoma, Wash. Team – Boston Celtics, 2011-12 stats: 7.6ppg, 1.8rpg)
When you replace a future Hall of Famer on a traditional team like the Celtics, you have to be something special.
Increased minutes reflected increased point production, however it was Bradley’s effort and hustle on the defensive end that kept him in the lineup until a shoulder injury knocked him out.
Bradley has every opportunity to reclaim his starting role with Ray Allen now a member of the Miami Heat.
(Hometown: Edmonds, Wash. Team – Washington Wizards, 2011-12 stats: 6.9ppg, 3.9rpg)
Unfortunately for Webster, his lack of continued health has impacted his career in Portland and Minnesota.
Now in Washington DC, Webster is considered to be a veteran on a young squad, despite only being 26 years old. A three point specialist, Webster should benefit from a run and gun offence headed by John Wall.
(Hometown: Lake Oswego, Oregon. Team – Minnesota Timberwolves, 2011-12 stats: 26ppg, 13.3rpg)
K-Love is looking to lead the Timberwolves back into the playoffs for the first time since “The Big Ticket” left town.
This summer, Love was very opinionated about his desires for a post season appearance.
With an improved roster that just fell short last year, Love has shown that he is capable of big numbers throughout his short career.
Question is, however, is Love a case of a big number on a bad team type player, or can he lead the Wolves to the next level?
(Hometown: Seattle, Wash. Team – Philadelphia 76’ers, 2011-12 stats: 9.3ppg, 6.6rpg)
Currently the second best “big man” out of the Northwest, Hawes has seen an improvement in his stats, but he is still very inconsistent as a nightly contributor.
The addition of Andrew Bynum moves Hawes to the bench or the power forward spot.
Should the 76’ers want to go with a big lineup or if Bynum’s health issues follow him East, Hawes will be an important piece to the young team taking the next step in the playoffs.
PG: Tony Wroten
(Hometown: Seattle, Wash. Team – Memphis Grizzlies)
Playing behind Mike Conley, Wroten will be granted the opportunity to learn the Grizzlies system without the expectations he had with the Washington Huskies. Wroten’s game is tailor made for the high octane Grizz and the loose reins of the NBA style of play.
SF/PF: Terrence Jones
(Hometown: Portland, Oregon. Team – Houston Rockets)
Part of the youth movement in a very confused Houston Rockets organization, Jones will have to battle with Patrick Paterson or last season’s surprise Chandler Parsons for minutes.
After coming from a winning program at Kentucky, Jones will have to get used to a long trying rookie year in Texas.
PF/C: Rob Sacre
(Hometown: Vancouver, BC. Team – LA Lakers)
Bound to be a fan favorite along the lines of Kurt Rambis, Mark Madsen and Ronny Turiaf, Sacre will help anchor the second line and motivate the team from the bench.
While it may take a while to crack the lineup on a consistent basis, Sacre has shown he is a team first player and willing to do the blue collar work.