Jeremy Lin and 4 More Big NBA Names Under Crushing Pressure in 2013
It's time to pull a Skip Bayless and talk about pressure in the NBA.
Upcoming is a list of five players who are going to deal with the most crushing pressure during the 2012-2013 season.
How they deal with it is up in the air, but these five are going to be constantly analyzed and heavily scrutinized, then criticized when and if they come up short.
I'll go ahead and tell you now that Dwight Howard will not be appearing on this list—although that changes if he's traded to a new team.
While Superman is with the Orlando Magic, there isn't any pressure on him at all to succeed. Everyone knows that he can be the most dominant center in the league, and he can put forth lackluster showings every night and still earn a max deal.
Without further ado, read on for the five players under the most pressure next season.
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After leading his team to this year's NBA title, LeBron James has finally rid himself of the giant monkey on his back.
It's time now for Carmelo Anthony to carry around the primate.
Melo doesn't have any more excuses in his quest for an NBA title.
He's on a team of his choosing, is surrounded by another great scorer and the reigning Defensive Player of the Year and has a solid point guard who should be in place for the entire season.
Winning just one game in the 2013 NBA playoffs isn't going to cut it next year.
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Even though LeBron James managed to win his first title, his detractors aren't satisfied yet.
After all, the opinion that LeBron was actually being serious with his infamous "Not two, not three..." quote still prevails. Despite the fact that his quote was obviously meant in jest and said to pump up a Miami Heat crowd that was enjoying the moment, it still means LeBron is going to be held to that standard by way too many people.
As hard as the first title is to win, the second one is sometimes even harder.
Nothing short of another MVP campaign with a second opportunity to hold up the Larry O'Brien Trophy will satisfy anyone.
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Kevin Durant can no longer use youth and relative inexperience as a defense if he fails to win a title at the end of the 2012-2013 season.
Durant has been deep into the playoffs twice now and he's experienced the bitter taste of losing in the NBA Finals. His teammates are almost all back—all the important contributors anyway—and they'll all be better and more comfortable playing with each other.
The three-time scoring champion is widely viewed as the NBA's second-best player, trailing only LeBron James, and he's going to have to compete for the MVP award throughout the season or else be considered a disappointment.
In a way, the Durant honeymoon may be over soon. Each missed shot at the end of a game is going to be overly scrutinized and the pressure will be on for the Durantula.
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The Jeremy Lin saga is over now that he's with the Houston Rockets.
After all of the drama and negotiations, Lin has to step up his game and prove that he was worth all the fuss. We only have a handful of games to work with in our evaluations of the point guard, so anything could happen.
Lin is going to be one of the most popular players in the NBA now that he'll have a starting job for a full season. He's going to be constantly discussed and should be in strong contention for an All-Star bid thanks to his overwhelming popularity.
Now his play has to match the hype.
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Deron Williams was the most sought-after free agent in the class this summer and chose to remain put with the Brooklyn Nets.
After the addition of Joe Johnson and the re-signings of Brook Lopez and Gerald Wallace, this team must be considered a title contender.
It's up to Williams to lead the charge and make sure that all of the Nets pieces mesh together and win games.
The move from New Jersey to Brooklyn also increases the pressure as the appeal of the new jerseys and new location will only add to the media scrutiny.