Once-Promising NBA Players We're Losing Patience with
Although every NBA player enters basketball's premier league with some degree of potential, not everyone lives up to the expectations. Some of these once-promising players end up testing our patience.
It's always frustrating when you have high hopes for someone, and they let you down. That's exactly what's been happening with these five guys.
For various reasons and to varying degrees, the five players you're about to read about were once considered future studs. Some of them may still be in that category, but they're all starting to lose their luster.
Read on for five let-downs, but be sure to leave any players you think I missed in the comment section below.
Team: Orlando Magic
2012-13 Per-Game Stats: 16.1 points, 3.8 rebounds, 2.5 assists, 0.3 blocks, 0.8 steals, 13.61 PER
The Orlando Magic had to get rid of Dwight Howard during the offseason, and Arron Afflalo was their prize in the trade that shipped him to the Los Angeles Lakers. Well, Rob Hennigan thought he was going to be a prize.
Although Afflalo's offensive game is still slightly improving on a day-to-day basis, he did take a step back once he became the featured player in the Orlando system. He might be averaging a career-high 16.1 points per game, but he's also turning the ball over more than ever before. The shooting guard's field-goal percentage has dipped as well.
Additionally, Afflalo has a reputation as a stellar defender, that hasn't translated onto the court. According to NBA.com's advanced stats, the Orlando Magic allow an additional 10.3 points per 100 possessions when he's on the court compared to when he's resting on the bench.
Afflalo was once viewed as a breakout candidate, but he's failed to show significant improvement over the last two years, causing his star to lose quite a bit of its luster.
Team: Toronto Raptors
2012-13 Per-Game Stats: 16.8 points, 4.4 rebounds, 1.4 assists, 0.7 blocks, 0.7 steals, 12.81 PER
It's officially time to give up on building around this No. 1 pick from the 2006 NBA draft. Long viewed as a defensive liability who expends far more energy on offense than he does crashing the boards, Andrea Bargnani isn't even that valuable on offense anymore.
Even though Bargnani is averaging 16.8 points per game, he's doing so on 39.5 percent shooting from the field. Part of the problem is that the seven-footer has been far too dependent on the three-ball, lofting up 4.7 attempts per game (a career high) despite hitting only 32.1 percent of his attempts.
Look at it this way. Despite his points per game figures, Bargnani has accumulated negative win shares on the offensive end of the court during the 2012-13 season.
We're now firmly past any time that would allow us to hold out hope for the former top pick finally living up to the expectations that come with such a lofty slot.
Team: Dallas Mavericks
2012-13 Per-Game Stats: 4.1 points, 1.6 rebounds, 2.5 assists, 0.1 blocks, 0.6 steals, 9.03 PER
If you just looked at Rodrigue Beaubois' numbers over the last few seasons out of context, it would be nearly impossible to guess that he's been a mainstay on lists of breakout players.
The speedy French guard looked like he might be starting to turn it on after the All-Star break during the 2011-12 season, but he wasn't able to make it onto the court much during the postseason, and the 2012-13 season hasn't been any different.
Beaubois usually struggles to shoot efficiently, but he's taken that to another level. The 24-year-old guard has hit on only 31.4 percent of his attempts during 2012-13 while continuing to see his perimeter shooting take yet another step in the wrong direction.
His athleticism still gives Dallas Mavericks fans hope for his future breakout, but it's about time to start giving up on his chances of ever truly becoming a standout.
Team: Sacramento Kings
2012-13 Per-Game Stats: 15.5 points, 4.9 rebounds, 3.7 assists, 0.7 blocks, 1.3 steals, 18.01 PER
Tyreke Evans enjoyed a sensational rookie season, joining an exclusive club of players who averaged at least 20 points, five rebounds and five assists per game in their first season. However, by doing so he also set some unreasonable expectations for the rest of his career.
If you're a believer in PER, Evans is actually playing better basketball than he has since that historic first season out of Memphis, although his scoring average has gone down each of the last three seasons, giving the illusion that he's in a constant state of decline.
Although Evans is playing fine basketball, it is time to give up on his eventual stardom. At least, that's what should happen until he leaves the Sacramento Kings and the backcourt mess that Keith Smart hasn't exactly fixed during the 2012-13 season.
Team: Detroit Pistons
2012-13 Per-Game Stats: 13.0 points, 3.7 rebounds, 5.2 assists, 0.1 blocks, 0.5 steals, 12.27 PER
Brandon Knight isn't the only member of the 2011 NBA draft lottery who has struggled, but he has been the one who's struggled most while being given every opportunity to succeed. The former Kentucky Wildcats has made 80 starts in his career, far more than Derrick Williams, Jan Vesely, Enes Kanter, Tristan Thompson and the rest of the other lottery picks.
While continuing to start for the Detroit Pistons, Knight has been even worse when shooting the ball this year than he was as a rookie. That mostly stems from a surprising inability to finish plays around the rim and in the paint.
There's obviously plenty of time left for Knight to show dramatic improvement, but he's starting to test the patience of fans, both in Detroit and outside the Motor City.
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