NBA Power Rankings: The 10 Most Underachieving Players of the 2011-12 Season
Some players come into the season and exceed all expectations. Players like Josh Smith and Andrew Bynum put up some numbers that very few thought they could accumulate. But then there are those players that just don't live up to their talents.
Now I know the lockout had a lot to do with some players not playing to their fullest potential. However, some have set the bar high and failed to reach the mark.
As we close out the 2011-2012 season, let's take a look at the 10 most underachieving players, in no particular order.
I want to start with a player who was put in a great situation and failed to take advantage of it: Lamar Odom.
We all know how talented Odom is, as he was last year's Sixth Man of the Year. He can bully smaller players in the post and take big men off the dribble.
But how he handled the trade that almost sent him to the New Orleans Hornets was downright disgusting. What Odom failed to realize is that in sports, there are no loyalties. Not even longtime Laker Derek Fisher was safe from the Lakers' roster sweep.
Odom should've sucked it up and been happy he was playing with the defending NBA champions. Now all that whining landed him on the inactive list for the rest of the season.
Arron Afflalo had loads of talent back when he was at UCLA. He is almost built in the same mold as Lamar Odom. When he was traded from Detroit to Denver, it was a perfect match for his uptempo skill set.
Three years later, he's still trying to find his mark.
He's had some problems staying healthy, but when you have the skills that Afflalo has, just under 15 points per game just isn't going to cut it.
Gerald Wallace is one of those players who is stuck in neutral. After nearly turning around the Charlotte Bobcats, he was traded midseason last year to the Portland Trail Blazers and he flashed some of his limitless potential on many occasions.
But this season, after some mind-numbing inconsistency, Wallace was traded midseason again, but this time to the New Jersey Nets. And again, the inconsistency continued.
Wallace is considered one of the best defenders in the entire NBA. But until he can stop his routine disappearing acts, he will keep getting farther away from how good he really is.
After his breakout playoff performance last year, the Hawks were relieved to finally find their point guard of the future. But since then, he has regressed tremendously.
With a team that has players like Joe Johnson and Josh Smith, averaging five assists per game just doesn't make sense.
What's even more embarrassing? His little brother, Kentucky point guard Marquis Teague, may be light-years better than him.
When the Clippers landed Chris Paul last summer, I felt that not only would Blake Griffin benefit, but so would DeAndre Jordan. A freakishly athletic center would have been a perfect fit for a guy who loved running the pick-and-roll with Tyson Chandler.
But horrible free-throw shooting and a very raw offensive game kept Jordan off the court for long periods of time, which stunted his possible improvement.
He is a beast defensively, but still needs a lot of work on the offensive side.
Since exploding onto the scene as a 2009 NBA All-Star with the New Jersey Nets, it seems like Harris has regressed every single season. He went from averaging 21.3 points in 2009 to averaging 10.8 points per game this season.
Granted, Harris has yet to play a full season, but he has the ability to dominate games and is considered one of the quickest players in the NBA.
With two dominant big men in Al Jefferson and Paul Millsap, Harris should be averaging way more than five assists per game.
JaVale McGee might be the most frustrating player in the NBA.
McGee could easily be averaging Dwight Howard-like numbers, but he needs to improve his bottomless basketball IQ first.
Jennings exploded onto the scene during his rookie year with a 55-point performance which saw him basically hit a shot from every spot on the court.
Averaging 18.7 points per game isn't too bad, but a player with Jennings's ability can easily average well over 20 points per game. Plus, those points are coming off of an average of 16.8 shots per game.
A more efficient Jennings will turn into a more dangerous Jennings.
Standing at 6'10" with very underrated ball-handling skills, Turkoglu at times seems like he is at the cusp of superstardom. As a catalyst for the Orlando Magic's last Finals campaign, he could have easily taken that next step to greatness.
But injuries and inconsistency have plagued Turkoglu's career and lately he has been nothing but a shell of his former self.
As one of the more highly-skilled all-around big men in the league, we should expect more out of him.
My pick for the biggest underachiever this year is Tyreke Evans.
Since being named Rookie of the Year of the 2009-2010 season, Evans has seen a decline in stats in almost every single category. This coming from a player that could be the next Dwyane Wade.
I personally blame his regression on the fact that he plays out of position as he is more suited as a flat-out scorer rather than a facilitator. But hopefully, with the young core of talent in Sacramento, Evans can return to relevance.
Anyone I Missed???
If you have anyone else you feel should be called out, let it be known in the comments section.
By the way, the guy pictured: biggest underachiever of all time.
Thanks for the read.
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