5 Second-Year NBA Players Who Will Experience a Sophomore Slump

Love PatelContributor IIIOctober 5, 2012

5 Second-Year NBA Players Who Will Experience a Sophomore Slump

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    Coming off a unique season which was shortened by a lockout, some rookies managed to impress and some will experience a slight or major drop in production this season.

    Injuries, roster changes and a host of other factors can contribute to a player's effectiveness.

    Last year's outstanding effort from rookies could have been enhanced by the fact that they managed to produce despite missing a significant amount of time as a result of the lockout.

    Here's a look at sophomores that could hit the inevitable slump.

Iman Shumpert, New York Knicks

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    Pressure and expectations for the Knicks are mounting after going through some changes in the offseason that suggest they're aiming to make a run at the title.

    Unfortunately, Shumpert's role on this year's team is yet to be determined as he recovers from a knee injury he suffered in last season's playoffs.

    Knee ligament injuries are always cause for concern, and recovery can sometimes be unpredictable. Shumpert recently gave some hope after showing what he can do with an iPhone.

    The Knicks added to their backcourt by bringing in the likes of Ronnie Brewer and bringing back J.R. Smith, so they may not be in a hurry to get Shumpert back.

    Even when Shumpert fully recovers, there's no telling how much time it could take to get back into proper shape, and he'd certainly need to contribute defensively like he did last season.

    His future could be bright, but this season could end up being a wash mainly because of his injury.

MarShon Brooks, Brooklyn Nets

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    The Nets are another team in the East that went through major remodeling to elevate themselves to playoff contender status.

    Brooks showed plenty of offensive production last season and instantly became a factor in the Nets' plans for the future.

    Somehow, the Nets managed to swing a deal with the Atlanta Hawks that netted them Joe Johnson without having to give up Brooks. This is the move that could ultimately keep Brooks from making significant advancements in year two.

    Brooklyn could turn more toward the experienced side of their backcourt in newcomers Joe Johnson and C.J. Watson at point guard and even Jerry Stackhouse.

    Brooks could certainly evolve as a player as his career moves forward, but for now, the Nets could be favoring experience as they look to make a splash.

Chandler Parsons, Houston Rockets

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    Parsons has the potential to be one of the biggest highlights of the 2011 draft, but this season could be tough sledding not only for him, but the entire team.

    Last season, Parsons came on strong off the bench and gradually earned more playing time within the rotation as the season went on. He contributed significantly to the Rockets' late-season playoff push that ultimately failed.

    He's known for his defense, and his production on that side should remain steady. There are parts of his offensive game that need help, but overall, Parsons could eventually develop into a steal.

    However, that evolution could be hamstrung by the recent makeover of the Rockets and an increase in the amount of inexperience on the team.

Markieff Morris, Phoenix Suns

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    Markieff Morris certainly accomplished more in his first season when compared to his brother, Marcus.

    Depth, among other things, contributed to Marcus' lack of production and playing time last year.

    However, Markieff has progressed steadily, but there could be a hiccup in the road. Losing Steve Nash is bad for everyone on the Suns.

    Goran Dragic and Kendall Marshall are good options to attempt to make up for Nash's loss, but there could still be a drop in production across the board for the Suns. Nash made the Suns go.

    Luis Scola also comes in as a proven veteran at his position and could eat into Morris' minutes.

    Morris will have to reach a new level in his game to maintain production and playing time. 

Ricky Rubio, Minnesota Timberwolves

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    Ricky Rubio is bound to be one of the league's top point guards as he matures, but it could be slightly delayed.

    Like Shumpert, Rubio suffered an ACL injury last season and his recovery could cut into the regular season.

    There's no fear that Rubio will lose any of his ability, as his game is predicated more on his skills rather than his athleticism.

    Though he missed significant time last season, he was still showing signs of developing rapidly and becoming a difference-maker for the Timberwolves.

    Recovery, along with getting back into shape and becoming comfortable with his health will contribute to a "slump" this season.

    Note that it isn't an indictment on him as a player, though. Rubio will eventually be a coveted point guard.