5 Most Criticized Stars in the NBA This Season
There are two ways to take the limelight in the NBA: stellar play and all-around greatness...
Down in Sactown, there's a guy doing the latter to the fullest. A handful of other players around the league have also captivated us with ignominious feats that have drawn rightful criticism as well.
Whether it be instigating a mini-brawl or not living up to absurdly high expectations, these five NBA stars have all drawn negative media attention, and they're all surely hoping for a more prosperous and less scandalous new year.
Bradley Beal has had the unfortunate cause of trying to keep a Washington Wizards team relevant without John Wall. The fact that he has failed miserably has caused many to call him a bust, but B/R's own Branden FitzPatrick doesn't feel that is the case.
He stated that Beal is improving and has been subjected to unfair pressure with John Wall out. Both statements are true.
And while it's easy to agree with FitzPatrick that Beal will go on to have a productive NBA career, the label "bust" may still be appropriate yet.
Not living up immense expectations and the lofty Ray Allen comparisons is enough to merit the bust label, but only in retrospect can we say that those expectations were likely too high to begin with.
Following last season, B/R's Adam Fromal put the writing on the wall.
He listed 10 reasons why Jeremy Lin would never live up to fans' expectations, "even if he will be a solid player in his prime." Fromal can rightly be called a prophet.
Fast forward to this season: Lin is having a decent year for the Houston Rockets, and regardless of how well he plays, a short scroll through a comments section reveals a whole lot of "hate" for the young sensation.
Whenever evaluating Houston Rockets' game grades, readers frequently comment that Lin is being graded too high, no matter the grade. To them, it seems Lin just can't perform well enough, and that sampling is a pretty good indicator of the fans' sentiment around the NBA.
Lin has posted 12 points per game and dished out 6.4 assists per contest, but due to his breakout performance in New York, everyone just expected far more.
Twelve and six isn't too shabby, and though there are plenty of areas in which Lin could improve, it's important to remember he has now played a total of just 94 games.
Lin has essentially just passed through the equivalent of his rookie season, and last time I checked, his stats aren't too bad for a second-year player.
Celtics coach Doc Rivers said, "Fighting isn't toughness."
And then there is the fact that Rondo said he "learned nothing" during his suspension, only indicating that he would do the same thing over again if the opportunity arose.
Rondo said he missed being around his teammates and that it was difficult to be suspended, but the foul which incited Rondo's anger wasn't even that bad (see the video and judge for yourself).
Rondo leads the league in assists and is without doubt a top-five point guard in the NBA, but he's not going to win fans over by needlessly inciting "mini brawls" because he is "loyal." That boneheaded move rightfully earned Rondo much criticism and a spot in this slideshow.
Deron Williams denied having anything to do with the firing of Avery Johnson, but that hasn't stopped the criticism of Williams being a "coach killer."
Williams spoke of his struggles playing within the structure of Johnson's offensive system prior to his firing, so the finger-pointing was only natural after the Nets axed the man who had just won Coach of the Month in November.
Johnson won 67 games with the Dallas Mavericks in 2006-07, and his talents as an NBA coach are indisputable despite a failure to sniff that win total with recent subpar Nets squads. Finally with a proven NBA talent (Joe Johnson) and a well-rounded bench, the diminutive skipper led the Nets to an 11-4 record before they went on to lose 10 of 13, leading to his firing.
In an ESPN interview with Stephen A. Smith, Williams gave his final words on the matter:
The last thing I would try to do is get any coach fired. I already went through that situation once when people thought I got Coach Sloan fired. Why would I want to put myself through all of that? There's no way I'd do it, because there's certain situations you can never detach your name from once it's happened. But people already are going to believe what they believe. So what can I do now?
So, Williams not only denied having anything to do with Avery's firing, but he also denied that he was the one behind Jerry Sloan getting fired. We'll never know if the rumors are true, but Williams has drawn plenty of criticism for a guy who claims no wrongdoing.
DeMarcus Cousins was suspended after a halftime incident in which he screamed profanities at Sacramento coach Keith Smart. Cousins was left in the locker room for the second half following the incident, and he has recently been the subject of abundant trade rumors.
Cousins' immaturity has been a problem for the Kings dating back to early in his rookie season, and it appears the proverbial dung has flown into the fan now.
Will a change of scenery calm Cousins down? Is any coach capable of reining in his attitude and helping him reach his potential as an NBA center?
These are things we just don't know the answer to, but Cousins has been making headlines for all the wrong reasons for two-and-a-half years now.
Cousins just posted a triple-double in the Kings' victory over the Celtics on Dec. 30, and the Kings have gone 2-0 since he returned from his suspension. How much longer until the fecal matter flies again, though?