3 Biggest Busts at Every NBA Position

Dan FavaleFeatured ColumnistJanuary 19, 2012

3 Biggest Busts at Every NBA Position

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    The shortened NBA season isn't even a quarter of the way done, yet there are some players who have us wishing the campaign was nearly over.

    Amidst a compacted schedule, expectations were lowered to account for the additional wear and tear that would come with playing through this season. That being said, they may not have been lowered enough, as there are still a number of year long busts in the making.

    Standards are set as a way of measuring an athlete's effectiveness, and thus far, there is a higher than ordered amount of players simply not performing up to their forecast.

Point Guard: Jerryd Bayless

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    Jerryd Bayless was supposed to challenge Jose Calderon for his starting job this season, but he has instead found himself hampered by injury. However, the limited fashion in which Bayless has been on the court has proved to be less than impressive.

    Bayless has only appeared in three games, averaging 8.3 points and only 1.7 assists. He has been out since December 30th with a sprained ankle and while he should return soon, his rehabilitation hasn't gone as expected.  

    The Toronto Raptors had begun experimenting with Gary Forbes as their backup point guard, and luckily for Bayless, he has not performed well out of position.

    That being said, Bayless, prior to his injury, wasn't performing well at his natural position.

Point Guard: Jimmer Fredette

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    The listing says point guard, but Jimmer Fredette is a shooting guard trapped in a floor general's build. 

    Staring down the barrel of a condensed season as a rookie left expectations regarding Fredette fairly low. He wasn't expected to learn defense, or even lead the Sacramento Kings in scoring, he was just expected to be an outside threat.

    Unfortunately, he has been anything but a lethal offensive weapon, shooting just 27.8 percent from long range and 33 percent from the field overall.

    Upon entering the NBA, Fredette had more than his fair share of doubters, and as of right now, he is doing little to disprove their skepticism.  

Point Guard: Jameer Nelson

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    The Orlando Magic are off to an impressive start to the season, but the team has done so without a consistent Jameer Nelson, who has been rendered a near non-entity on the court.

    Nelson is having the worst season of his career since he was a rookie, averaging just 8.7 points while shooting a horrendous 29.6 percent from downtown. His assist totals are up, but he has become turnover prone in the process.

    Dwight Howard's impending free agency makes this season a crucial one for the Magic, and Nelson is making anything but a strong case for the star center to stay in Orlando long term.

Shooting Guard: Nick Young

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    Nick Young is fresh off a scoring-heavy performance against the Oklahoma City Thunder, but the usually instant-offense shooting guard is not convincing any teams to offer him a long-term contract next summer.

    Young is averaging 15.6 points per game, but shooting only 38.8 percent from the field. On the nights where he has point up larger point totals, they have come with excessive field-goal attempts; Young scored 24 in the Washington Wizards victory over the Thunder, but he was 6-of-17 from the field.

    Entering a second consecutive contract year, expectations were high for the 26-year-old, but Young just hasn't lived up to the offensive hype this season.

Shooting Guard: Rudy Fernandez

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    Rudy Fernandez has become the poster boy of lost potential, but all of that was supposed to change when he was traded to the Denver Nuggets.

    Denver has perhaps the most balanced attack in the league, yet Fernandez has yet to capitalize off his situation. The shooting guard's numbers are in line with his career totals, but so much more was expected of him.

    The supposed-to-be-offensively-dominant version of Fernandez has not yet reached the surface, or simply doesn't exist, and it's likely his tendency to disappoint continues as he works his way back from an Achilles injury.

Shooting Guard: Jason Richardson

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    The Orlando Magic were desperate enough for an offensive spark that they re-signed the aging Jason Richardson to the tune of four years and $25 million last summer.

    To date, he has been more of an offensive dud than a spark.

    Richardson is averaging just 11.1 points and 2.8 rebounds per game and shooting a subpar 33.3 percent from the field. His athleticism is fleeting and he is now suffering from a left knee injury.

    For more than a decade, Richardson has been the epitome of instant offense. More recently, though, he has become the quintessential example of disappointing. 

Small Forward: Michael Beasley

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    Public persona is not a strong suit of Michael Beasley's, but offense is—or at least, it was.

    Prior to being sidelined with a mid-foot sprain, Beasley was averaging a less-than-impressive 12.9 points per game. He is shooting under 40 percent from the field for the first time in his career, and visibly slows down the Minnesota Timberwolves' ball movement.

    The Timberwolves were hoping that Beasley could coexist amongst their plethora of forwards, or at the very least not wreck his trade value. He has failed meet either expectation, and all signs point to a substantially diminished role when he returns.

Small Forward: Metta World Peace

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    Few players had the bar set as low for them heading into this season as Metta World Peace, yet somehow, he has managed fall short of such low standards.

    World Peace is averaging just 5.4 points and 2.7 rebounds per game, while posting an embarrassing 6.5 PER. He is shooting 33.7 percent from the field, and a despicable 7.4 percent from behind the arc.

    His defensive abilities have proven to be less than mediocre as well.

    The Los Angeles Lakers are playing well despite small forward's ineffectiveness, and one can only hope they are prepared to continue such a trend, as World Peace's production is only going to deteriorate further. 

Small Forward: Dorell Wright

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    Dorell Wright feigned a breakout last year, as he has simply been a bust for the Golden State Warriors this season.

    Wright is following up his 16.4 points and 5.3 rebounds per game campaign with 8.3 points and 5.2 rebounds per contest. He is shooting 35.1 percent from the field and an abysmal 25.5 percent from three-point range.

    And don't even get Mark Jackson started on his defense.

    Golden State has significantly reduced Wright's role within the rotation, yet even against lowered standards, he and his lingering knee injury continue to disappoint.

Power Forward: Tyrus Thomas

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    There was hope that one day, Tyrus Thomas would live up to the four-year, $33.4 million contract he signed with the Charlotte Bobcats.

    If this season has been any indication, that day isn't coming anytime soon.

    Thomas is averaging 6.9 points, 3.8 rebounds and 1.6 blocks in nearly 27 minutes per game this season. He is shooting only 33.9 percent from the field and while he has been battling a sore leg, his rebounding totals are inexcusable for someone his size.

    Once thought to be on the verge of becoming a premiere and two-way impact player, Thomas has instead proven he is only consistent at exhibiting fits of rage. 

Power Forward: Glen "Big Baby" Davis

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    The Orlando Magic acquired Glen "Big Baby" Davis in a sign-and-trade with the Boston Celtics, investing four years and $26 million dollars in the process. They have yet to see an adequate return.

    Davis is averaging only 8.1 points and 4.9 rebounds per game, shooting a shockingly low 37.7 percent from the field. After last year's campaign, the Magic had hoped that Davis would provide guaranteed bench production, but they were wrong.

    Aside from a few impressive outings, Davis has proved to be yet another notch under the bust belt for Orlando.

Power Forward: Lamar Odom

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    Some say Lamar Odom just isn't a good fit in the Dallas Mavericks system, while others say age is finally catching up with him, but no matter how you spin it, there is no escaping the reality that the power forward has been a bust so far this season.

    Odom is averaging a mind-boggling seven points and 4.9 rebounds per game. He is shooting just 31.4 percent from the field and an incredibly bad 21.4 percent from behind the rainbow.  

    What is more of an issue is Odom has proved to be a non-factor on defense. He is getting lost on screens and just isn't able to lock down the opposition like in the past.

    Odom is down in every statistical category and simply having the worst season of his career.

Center: Greg Oden

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    Pretty soon, there is going to be a law passed that states the topic of a "bust" cannot be touched upon without discussing Greg Oden.

    Despite having three season-ending injuries to his name, the Portland Trail Blazers were adamant about retaining his services—or lack thereof—because they believed he would return to the court this year. However, Oden has already suffered a setback in his rehabilitation and it has become less likely that he will return to the court at all this season.

    Heading into the season, the expectation wasn't that Oden would become an All-Star, reach his full-potential or even broach the line of effectiveness, it was simply that he would step foot on the hardwood during an actual game.

    Mission not accomplished.

Center: Kwame Brown

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    Luckily for the Golden State Warriors, their investment in Kwame Brown was only one year. That being said, the notoriously underachieving center needed less than that to be rendered a bust.

    Golden State apparently hasn't learned that it is incapable of boasting a big man who isn't overpaid—see Andris Biedrins—as they threw caution to the wind and gave Brown $7 million for his lackluster services this season.

    While on the court, Brown has proven to be anything but the defensive stalwart the Warriors hope he would be. The only thing he has been good for is rebounds, but not to the point where he is a board-crashing guru.

    As if it couldn't get any worse for the Warriors, Brown's season may be over, as he is set to miss at least three months after having surgery, the result of a chest injury he sustained.

    That's not exactly money well spent.

Center: Joakim Noah

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    The oft-injured Joakim Noah has at least managed to remain on the floor so far this season, but that's about all he has allowed the Chicago Bulls to get excited about.

    Chicago remains one of the best teams in the league, but their starting center is best served coming off the bench. He is averaging 7.1 points, 8.2 rebounds and 1.1 blocks per game, shooting a career-low 41 percent from the field.

    Noah has never been an offensive juggernaut, but his defense is no longer a saving grace. Is he a solid defender? Yes, but the term "lock-down" doesn't apply anymore.

    An even bigger travesty is he remains a legitimate All-Star candidate, which contributes most to him being considered a bust.

    Noah is not playing at an All-Star-caliber level, and should be recognized for what he is: a solid role player.