Players that have something to prove this season-Part 2

Derrick Rose

After a disastrous 2015-16 season where the Bulls didn't even qualify for the playoffs, Bulls GM Gar Forman sought change. The change ended being surprising but expected as they traded their declining franchise point guard Derrick Rose. And it just seems that this is the perfect match for Rose and the Knicks. Going into his contract year, Rose will be relied on to finally solidify the point guard spot for the Knicks after years of flip-flopping. He joins a Knicks team with plenty of talent and expectations which Rose will feed off of. With no more pressure on him to return to his MVP status and a supporting star like Carmelo Anthony and now sophomore sensation Kristaps Porzingis, the foreseeable future shows that Rose will be more efficient and have better looks all season. Defenders will not be able to zero on him like in the past as they have to gameplan for players like Anthony and Porzingis who are lethal in their own ways. This is Rose's last chance at a max contract as he is 28 years old and at this point, looks like he can longer reattain his MVP status. Rose must prove that he can be more effective than history has said over the past few years or else any contract he signs after this season will be considered dead money spent.

Ricky Rubio

The Timberwolves drafted Kris Dunn in the 2016 draft this offseason and that meant only one thing, the clock is ticking on Ricky Rubio's tenure in Minnesota. Rubio's honeymoon years with the team are over and he is slowly starting to look like he's not part of their future. A point guard that has never shot over 38% from the field in a season, that cannot be acceptable for much longer. Considering a lot of culture change has happened with the Wolves in the past 12 months it seems that they are destined to be a great, rugged defensive team under Tom Thibodeau. Kris Dunn is the perfect player for Thibodeau's defensive schemes and he's an experienced, refined player coming out of college. Don't be surprised if Rubio slips up as a starter, he could be easily packing his bags out of Minnesota sooner rather than later. 

Trey Burke

Maybe a tad bit surprising, but Burke is definitely a player that has something to prove this season. After coming out of college as a Consensus First Team All-American and Naismith Award Winner, it donned upon the Jazz to make Burke their point guard for the future. But after starting 68 games as a rookie, to starting 43 games as a sophomore, to starting 0 games in his third season, it was obvious that Burke fell out of favor in Utah as the former 9th overall pick was traded for a second-round pick this offseason. It appears a fresh start is exactly what he needs as a backup on the Wizards but there is one troubling thing about Burke's career so far. His numbers have been declining every year in his career so far and it appears that being a backup exclusively now behind John Wall will only make his numbers dip even more. A big thing that has caused Burke's numbers to drop is his efficiency on the offensive end. He has shot 38, 37, and 41 percent from the field in his first three years in the NBA and he's a below average three point shooter. If Burke doesn't fix his inefficiency he could be without a contract in a few years. Burke must prove he's a solid contributor before it's too late.

Gordon Hayward/Derrick Favors

Always touted as a young team with bundles of talent, the Jazz haven't been able to take the next step and make the playoffs since they let two key free agent pieces go in Paul Millsap and Al Jefferson in 2013. The Jazz handed the keys to the team to players like Gordon Hayward and Derrick Favors after they lost those players and they have become above average players/stars in the NBA. And although they are still considered a young team, the clock is ticking on both of them. Hayward will be a free agent in 2017 as a 27-year-old and Favors will be a free agent in 2018 as a 27-year-old. Both of these players will be in the prime of their careers when their free agency class comes up and they will both get plenty of interest. However, at the moment they need to take a few more stabs at the playoffs; and after missing the playoffs after Kobe dropped 60 on them in the final game of the regular season, the Jazz will be expected to finally take the next step. They made some savvy moves in the offseason and revamped both their bench and starting lineup with key acquisitions Joe Johnson, Boris Diaw, and George Hill. Now, it is up to Hayward and Favors to prove that they can lead the Jazz to the playoffs and show the NBA they are no pushovers.

Russell Westbrook

What more can be said about this player and what he needs to prove this season? It is officially the Russell Westbrook era in OKC and Westbrook surely couldn't be happier. With the departure of Kevin Durant, he will now have every opportunity to become the MVP of the league and demonstrate that he doesn't need Durant to succeed. It is his team now, and the ball-dominant guard will put up godly numbers this season. He is a freak of nature and his athleticism is unmatched. What makes Westbrook scary this season and a player that has something to prove, is the chip he has on his shoulder and the way he always been scrutinized as a player who can't win a championship because of his ball-stopping and erratic play. Westbrook this season can show the critics and NBA that he is not only a great leader but an unselfish one who can work with his teammates while also being the explosive player that he already is. With all the touches Westbrook will get this season, we will now see the player Westbrook truly is and how he can lead a team while being the no.1 option at all times.