O'Neal has missed at least 13 games in each of the past four seasons, bottoming out in 2007-08 when he appeared in only 42 games. The six-time All-Star is seeking to revive his career with the Raptors, who acquired him in the offseason in hopes that the combination of O'Neal and Chris Bosh inside would help them advance beyond the first round for the first time since 2001.
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The No. 1 pick in the 2006 draft regressed in his second season, with declines in scoring (10.2 ppg), shooting (38.6 percent overall, 34.5 percent from three-point range) and rebounding (3.7) while playing 24 minutes a game as a part-time starter. The Raptors have talked about possibly playing the 7-footer at small forward in a big lineup alongside Chris Bosh and newcomer Jermaine O'Neal. Regardless of position or role, Bargnani needs to improve in Year 3 for the Raptors to realize their potential.
3 of 10John Biever/SI
Hinrich figured prominently in the Bulls' nightmarish start, averaging 10.1 points on 33.1 percent shooting during a 3-9 November that set the tone for the team's unexpected free fall. The five-year veteran point guard finished the season with career lows of 11.5 points and 6.0 assists. Now, barring a trade, Hinrich must battle No. 1 pick Derrick Rose, along with shooting guards Ben Gordon, Larry Hughes and Thabo Sefolosha, for playing time in a crowded backcourt.
4 of 10Greg Nelson/SI
Stackhouse's scoring average dipped to a career-low 10.7 points last season (a brutal start included November averages of 7.5 points and 29.9 percent shooting). Worse, he shot only 31.6 percent in the Mavericks' first-round loss to the Hornets.
5 of 10Greg Nelson/SI
Though he was productive in the Suns' first-round playoff loss to San Antonio, Diaw's regular-season numbers (8.8 ppg, 4.6 rpg, 3.9 apg) dipped for the second straight year. His name surfaced in trade rumors in the offseason, no doubt in part because he is on Phoenix's books for four more years and $36 million -- a handsome reward for his breakout season in 2005-06 (13.3 ppg, 6.9 rpg, 6.9 apg) when he was named Most Improved Player.
6 of 10Anthony J. Caus/Icon SMI
Hardly the only Knick who fizzled last season, Richardson shot 35.9 percent from the field in 65 games (all starts) and struggled with injuries for the third straight year. Perhaps the arrival of Mike D'Antoni will help rejuvenate Richardson, who averaged 14.9 points and 6.1 rebounds while playing for the coach in Phoenix in 2004-05.
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Once regarded as the heir to Jason Kidd in New Jersey, Williams started last season on the injured list and finished it backing up the Nets' new floor leader, Devin Harris, while hearing more whispers about his lack of conditioning. But opportunity is knocking now for Williams, the 22nd pick in the 2006 draft. Traded to the Warriors in the offseason, Williams could be an opening-night starter in the wake of Monta Ellis' ankle injury.
8 of 10Manny Millan/SI
Pavlovic wasn't worth the wait in 2007-08: After spending the preseason locked in a contract stalemate with the Cavs, he finally signed on Nov. 1 and proceeded to shoot 36.2 percent from the field (including 29.8 percent from three-point range) in 51 games. He averaged only 13.9 minutes in the playoffs, one year after averaging 30.8 during Cleveland's NBA Finals run.
9 of 10Gregory Shamus/Getty Images
Agent Zero's hoped-for resurgence will have to wait several weeks after he underwent a third knee surgery in the last 18 months. Arenas was limited to 13 regular-season games and four playoff games last season because of knee problems. Nevertheless, that didn't stop the Wizards from giving the three-time All-Star a six-year, $111 million deal. The payoff for Washington has to come in the playoffs, where a team led by Arenas, Antawn Jamison and Caron Butler has lost in the first round three consecutive seasons (each time to Cleveland).
10 of 10Doug Benc/Getty Images
Bell reluctantly returned to Milwaukee last season after the Bucks matched the Heat's five-year, $18 million offer for the then restricted free agent. The 29-year-old guard played like he preferred to be elsewhere, especially before the All-Star break, when he averaged 6.6 points on only 36 percent shooting. One of the few holdovers from the Bucks' busy offseason, Bell will be competing with Luke Ridnour, Ramon Sessions and Tyronn Lue for minutes.
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