Devin Harris and the Most Disappointing Players in the NBA
I don’t know if you’ve heard, but this Jeremy Lin fellow is causing quite a stir in the NBA.
Surprising and positive stories such as Lin’s will certainly be what we think about when reminiscing about the 2011-12 NBA season.
Unfortunately, for every bright spot that comes out of nowhere, there are three or four colossal disappointments. Here are the seven biggest busts of the 2011-12 NBA season thus far.
Ezra Shaw/Getty Images
Utah Jazz fans and Harris himself likely saw oodles of potential for Harris prior to the dawn of this season. Fast forward to near the halfway point of the season, and Harris’ production, cohesion with teammates and overall performance leave much to be desired.
Harris’ struggles can in part be linked to his awkward fit as floor general for the Jazz. The combo guard likes to use his unparalleled speed to get to the rim and the threat of smoking his defender to get a comfortable cushion and consequently open jump shots.
Utah’s offense requires a point guard in the mold of former Jazz great John Stockton. Utah’s offense cannot achieve maximum efficiency without a pass-first point guard who can play some tough defense. Likewise, Utah’s offense does little to put Harris’ strengths on display.
Chris Trotman/Getty Images
Oh how quickly a team can change.
Who would’ve thought a few months into the season that the question “Should Carmelo Anthony defer to Jeremy Lin?” would be a legitimate one? Yet, a combination of Lin’s meteoric rise and Anthony’s disappointing play has spawned a potential rift in the team and in Knicks fans.
Though his scoring average of 22 points per game isn’t bad, Anthony received the dreaded “disappointing player” stamp because of his inability to stay healthy and his dismal shooting. ‘Melo is hitting about 40 percent of his field goals and is hitting a putrid 29 percent from behind the arc.
With Carmelo’s “me first, second, third, fourth and fifth” offensive philosophy, continued shooting woes could lose Anthony some popularity and the Knicks some games if his shooting percentages don’t come back up.
Chris Trotman/Getty Images
There is a silver lining to the troubles Stoudemire and ‘Melo have had turning in consistent performances so far. Without these struggles and a rash of injuries, Jeremy Lin may never have had the chance to shine.
Still, Stoudemire’s less-than-impressive numbers are reason for frustration for Knicks fans. Stoudemire is shooting 44 percent from the field, a precipitous drop of nine percent from his career average. His points per game, rebounding and blocks are all down from career averages this year too.
On the bright side, Knicks supporters should not fret over Lin and Amar’e coexisting as they may be about Lin and Anthony playing together cohesively. Amar’e’s best years statistically were in Phoenix running the pick and roll with two-time NBA MVP Steve Nash. Lin has proven he can dish as well as score, and that should help Amar’e’s numbers come up significantly.
Stephen Dunn/Getty Images
After everything Lamar has been through this year, I feel bad for including him on this list. From the discord in L.A. spawned by the vetoed Paul trade to the eventual trade to Dallas to all the “Ugly Sister!” chants he has to endure, the last thing Odom needs is more negative publicity.
However, the quickest of glances definitively shows that Odom has been a massive disappointment for the Dallas Mavericks this year. His points-per-game average is nearly half of his career average. His shooting percentage is a dismal 36.5 percent. Pretty much all of his other averages are significantly down from recent years.
To say it’s been a trying year for Odom is like saying Kris Humphries and Kim Kardashian weren’t the greatest match.
It may seem a little unfair to include someone like Lopez in this list considering the sole reason for the disappointment is a foot injury that has kept Lopez out all season. But Lopez’s absence from the Nets starting lineup has had a ripple effect throughout New Jersey’s current and future plans that can’t be ignored.
It’s no secret that Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov has coveted Dwight Howard to pair with point guard Deron Williams, which would give the team two first-team-caliber players just in time for the move to Brooklyn.
As the Magic would certainly be looking for a young center with high long-term potential to replace Howard, the cornerstone of any Nets/Magic deal would have to be Lopez. But due to the injury, Lopez has gone from coveted young piece to a big man with significant injury concerns.
If Lopez has any other setbacks, he could gain an unwanted and unshakable stigma of being a soft and injury-prone big man. This stigma could single-handedly crush any hopes New Jersey has of dealing for Howard this season.
Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images
Anyone who has watched the Spurs in the last year or two knows that Duncan is in the twilight of his career. He’s certainly not the player he used to be.
Even so, it’s disappointing and sad to see just how much his skills have eroded due to age. Duncan’s per-game averages have dipped well below career averages, and Duncan has been relegated to a supporting role on the Spurs, an odd sight for anyone who watched Duncan absolutely destroy defenders in his prime.
This is a different type of disappointment. It’s not an indictment of Duncan’s skill or work ethic; it’s a poignant reminder that arguably the greatest power forward of all time doesn’t have much time left in the NBA.
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images
It’s hard to call Jackson a disappointment. Saying Jackson has disappointed this year insinuates there were high expectations for him going into the season.
Regardless, the combination of horrible stats and the embarrassing public rift with Milwaukee coach Scott Skiles have combined to make Jackson fall short of the already-low expectations NBA fans have for Captain Jack.
Part of Jackson’s disappointment lies in the fact that he has tremendous scoring talent. He can’t seem to sit down, shut up and get out of his own way so he can at least not scare away every offensively-anemic team who might decide to take a chance on him.
Yet, Jackson’s perpetual inability to get along with coaches combined with his horrendous numbers (36 percent shooting, 28 percent from behind the arc) and large contract will likely keep all teams except for the most desperate away from even considering trading for Jackson.