8 Big-Name NBA Players Who Will Crush the Hopes of Their Fans
With the start of the NBA regular season rapidly approaching, it is never too early to speculate on some potential duds come April.
Fall is an exciting time for all NBA teams as they gear up for the regular season. From high expectations in Miami, to young squads like the Golden State Warriors eager to make a playoff push, 'tis the season for hype and excitement.
Despite the hopes of all 30 squads, only 16 can make the playoffs, and only one will finish on top.
For every fan celebrating in South Beach after the Heat defeated the Thunder last June, there was a dejected fan trying to make sense of the loss in Oklahoma City. Every year some player will fall short of the expectations, sending his team and fanbase into a tailspin.
Here are eight big-name NBA players who will crush the hopes of their fans this season.
8) Kevin Love
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Kevin Love and the up-and-coming Minnesota Timberwolves were one of the exciting stories last season.
The combination of Love and Ricky Rubio became a fan favorite across the league. Under the leadership of head coach Rick Adelman, the T-Wolves looked to have finally made the comeback to relevant status.
Just as things were on the rise, Ricky Rubio tore His ACL and derailed Minny's playoff hopes.
Things got worse this preseason when Kevin Love broke his hand doing knuckle push-ups. The injury will sideline the UCLA product for about the first 20 games of the season.
A lineup without Rubio or Love could put the T-Wolves in an unrecoverable early-season hole and close the door on a playoff push in April.
While fans might not fault Love for the bizarre manner in which he was injured, Minny's fanbase could spend this season wondering what could have been had the All-NBA Second Team big man stayed in the lineup.
7) Blake Griffin
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In just two seasons, the electrifying Blake Griffin has helped turn the Los Angeles Clippers from the laughingstock of the NBA into a Western Conference powerhouse.
Griffin is among the most dominant power forwards in the game, capable of scoring, rebounding and distributing at an efficient rate.
Where BG falters, however, is with his defense and woeful free-throw shooting.
During last season's playoffs, Griffin was lit up by Zach Randolph in Lob City's opening-round series against the Memphis Grizzlies and then torched by Tim Duncan in LAC's second-round series against the San Antonio Spurs.
From the line, Griffin was beyond miserable.
The regular season saw him shoot just 52.1 percent from the charity stripe, 12 percentage points worse than his rookie campaign. The postseason was not much better as Griffin converted just 63.6 percent of his free throws.
While Griffin's awful free-throw shooting was often overshadowed by the terrible free-throw shooting of his teammates DeAndre Jordan and Reggie Evans, fans will have less tolerance for Griffin's deficiencies this season.
What happens if Griffin's free-throw shooting starts to cost Lob City games in 2012-13?
A close loss could obstruct the highs of Lob City and disrupt the excitement of Clipper Nation.
6) John Wall
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Coming off a strong finish to the 2011-12 NBA season, the Washington Wizards gave their fans hope of a playoff push this season.
The player most responsible for the Wizards' success was the point guard and 2010 No. 1 overall pick, John Wall.
News hit DC hard this summer, when Wall was diagnosed with early stages of a stress injury to his left kneecap. The injury is expected to keep Wall on the bench for at least the first month of the season.
While the injury might open the door to some early development and valuable playing for rookie Bradley Beal, the long-term effects will likely hinder the Wizards' progression.
Expect another lottery season for the Wiz and more disappointment for its fanbase.
5) Rajon Rondo
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At times, Rondo has been labeled immature and incapable of becoming a poised leader in Boston. The point guard's bump of a referee in Game 1 of the Celtics' first-round series against the Atlanta Hawks reflected poorly on the young guard.
Now that Allen spurned Boston for Miami, all eyes will be on Rondo to perform and take his team to the next level. A reloaded Miami roster after the Summer of LeBron will make it especially hard for the C's to make it to the championship.
If things go bad in Beantown, the scrutiny might begin to fall on Rondo.
4) Andrew Bynum
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Arguably the second-best center in the game, Bynum will be looked on to become the leader of the young and scrappy Sixers.
However, Bynum's attitude and questionable shot selection caused headaches for Lakers fans in Hollywood over the last couple of seasons. Fortunately, the Laker faithful could tolerate the mishaps because of the strong play of Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol.
3) Joe Johnson
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Traded from the Atlanta Hawks to the Brooklyn Nets this summer, Joe Johnson will be hoping that a change of scenery can turn him back into the dominant small forward that he once was.
Since his second season in Atlanta in 2006-07 Johnson's numbers have steadily declined. Despite his solid play with teammates Josh Smith and Al Horford, the Hawks never made it out of the second round of the playoffs.
"Iso Joe" is 31 years old and quickly falling out of his prime. Scheduled to make $19.7 million this season, Johnson is not the bona fide superstar that is going to help lead the Nets to the championship.
While fans will enjoy their honeymoon season in Brooklyn, positive sentiment towards Johnson could fade quickly.
2) Carmelo Anthony
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The Carmelo Anthony experiment in New York has been anything but a success since he was acquired midway through 2010-11 regular season.
While Anthony has taken the Knicks to the playoffs in both of his seasons in Manhattan, New York has been largely irrelevant in the playoff picture.
In 2011, they were swept by the Celtics. Last season, they fell in five to the Heat.
Melo's inability to coexist with forward Amare Stoudemire has only made things more challenging in the Garden. Two high-volume scorers have yielded poor offensive results.
Fittingly, Anthony played the best last season with Stoudemire out of the lineup.
Moving up to power forward, Anthony torched opponents for 29.8 points per game on 49.5 percent shooting from the field during the month of April. The Knicks impressed that month, going 9-4 and locking up a spot in the playoffs.
Despite Melo's proficient play, the Knicks' Big 3 of Carmelo Anthony, Amare Stoudemire and Tyson Chandler does not have the firepower to match that of the Boston Celtics or the Miami Heat in the Eastern Conference.
If the Melo and the Knicks start to falter early, then it could be much of the same in New York this season.
1) Jeremy Lin
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Linsanity swept the nation last season and turned Jeremy Lin into an international superstar.
Basketball was back at the Garden as Lin lead the Knicks to gutsy wins over the Los Angeles Lakers and the Toronto Raptors without Amare Stoudemire or Carmelo Anthony in the lineup.
The talk of much of this summer's free agency, owner James Dolan and the Knicks opted not to match the Houston Rockets' free agency offer for Lin.
His departure from the Knicks was anything but graceful.
Houston already had a rough offseason, sending most of their young assets away for draft picks in a failed attempt to land Dwight Howard .
Now the Rockets will field a weak lineup with Lin at the helm. Ultimately, Lin is in something of a no-win situation, locked up in the competitive Southwest Division and the loaded Western Conference.
When things start to look shaky in the Toyota Center, Lin could be labeled overrated and come under fire first.