The Most One-Dimensional Athletes in Sports Today

Nick Dimengo@@itsnickdimengoFeatured ColumnistJanuary 2, 2013

The Most One-Dimensional Athletes in Sports Today

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    While it's great to be known for doing one specific thing in sports like drain threes or hit homers, it's even better to be that all-round superstar who not only buries opponents offensively, but can shut down the other team's best player defensively too.

    Unfortunately, not everyone can do that.

    These just so happen to be some of the worst athletes at expanding their game into something more than just one specialty.

Ben Wallace

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    The former All-Star may have been eggs on the defensive end of the ball, intimidating other players with his strength and rebounding, but when it came to scoring, Ben definitely wasn't big.

    If you needed a big stop at the end of Piston games during their heydays of the early 2000s, the easiest strategy was making sure Wallace touched the ball on the offensive end, because his free throws and lack of interior game was, well, offensive to watch.

James Jones

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    Finishing this past regular season as the league leader in TD catches, James Jones is widely to be thought of as Aaron Rodgers' third- or fourth-best option in an offense with guys like Randall Cobb, Jordy Nelson and Jermichael Finley.

    But averaging double-digit touchdowns in the past two seasons has made Jones a dangerous threat once the Pack move past midfield.

Steven Stamkos

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    As Steven Stamkos topped the 60-goal plateau for the first time in his career last season, the former No. 1 pick also fell below the 40-assist line as well.

    He's a hell of a talent who's proven he can put the rubber in the net, so if he gets more help around him as the Lightning continue to improve, we could see him becoming more of a Evgeni Malkin-type, who balances both goals and assists.

Devin Hester and Josh Cribbs

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    As the most successful return men in the NFL, these two have left their mark on how special teams coaches game-plan.

    With their respective teams trying to find more opportunities for touches through offensive plays, they have yet to see the same results—besides just decoying defenses—though Devin Hester has far surpassed Josh Cribbs as a receiver.

    They might not be dangerous as wideouts, but if a team's kicking off or punting to one of them, it can be a dicey situation.

J.R. Smith

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    If a team needs instant points off the bench, J.R. Smith's your guy.

    But if that team's looking for a playmaker who can get other guys involved and/or shut down his man on defense, they'd be best served going with someone else.

Adrian Peterson

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    After his ridiculous 2012 season, Adrian Peterson has proven that he's the best running back in the league—as if there were any doubters.

    He runs past linebackers and over defensive backs, but that doesn't mean he's utilized in the passing game.

    Averaging less than two catches a game over his six-year career shows he's the best at taking a handoff and running to daylight, but not shifting into a receiver role to confuse the defense.

Ryan Anderson

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    While most 6'10" guys would be perfectly suited to sit down in the paint and try and get after it down low, Ryan Anderson is the complete opposite, as he loves to hang out behind the three-point arc.

    Averaging 14 shots per game this year—half of them coming from downtown—he avoids taking guys off the dribble and getting to the basket.

    He led the league in three-pointers made and was named the "Most Improved Player" last season, so he's proving that if it ain't broke, don't fix it.

De'Anthony Thomas

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    As a sophomore, De'Anthony Thomas proved that he was a dynamic threat both running and catching the ball for the Ducks' explosive offense.

    So why does he find himself on our list?

    Because of his success rate in his limited amount of touches during this past season.

    With a rushing average of 7.6 per carry, racking up 686 yards on 90 carries, Thomas was a home run hitter who took it to the house 11 times.

    For taking advantage of his opportunities when he got them as a rusher, De'Anthony gets praise.

Randy Choate

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    Randy Choate may not be a household name, but if your favorite team's looking for a solid bullpen vet, he'd be a good man to add to the battery.

    As a crafty lefty who's been around the majors for 12 seasons, he's the definition of a left-handed specialist, compiling a total of just 309.1 innings in his entire career, or an average of 26.1 per season.

    With those types of stats, it's hard to imagine he even knows what a right-handed batter even looks like in the box.

Lionel Messi

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    Whether you're a Lionel Messi or Cristiano Ronaldo supporter, the one main difference between the two's games is the fact CR7 impacts the game in ways outside of just scoring.

    Though Messi is completely dangerous and fearless at taking defenders on—especially for his tiny stature—he's a goal scorer through and through, and is limited in getting his teammates involved.

Mark Reynolds

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    Mark Reynolds has led his respective lead in strikeouts in four of the past five years, while hitting an average of 32 homers in the same span.

    What do those kind of numbers get you? Based on the new deal he just signed with the Indians, about $6 million.

    Not bad for a walking fan.

Blake Griffin

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    Blake Griffin's a dunking extraordinaire, and though he's developed somewhat of a shooting touch, he's still inconsistent enough to crack our top 10.

    More than just his lack of variety on the offensive end, his weak defense is what earns him the nod.

    He's scary good, but still isn't quite as complete as he probably could be.

Bruce Irvin

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    Coming out of West Virginia this past draft, the Seahawks selected Bruce Irvin in the first round at No. 15, prompting draft pundits and analysts alike to question the pick.

    Thanks to his eight-sack season, he's done his small part in proving those who doubted him wrong.

    While he's left his impact on the Seahawks' vaunted defense with his pass-rushing skills, he hasn't quite been the all-round player quite yet—though he hasn't been needed to—instead focusing on being a sack master in his first season, and only having a total of four other tackles all season.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic

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    As one of the world's greatest strikers, Zlatan Ibrahimovic is the type of player a back line purposely tries to shut down.

    Though his primary skill is to put the ball in the back of the net, if his touches are limited, his impact on a match is minimal in part to his lack of playmaking for his teammates.

Andrea Bargnani

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    As a former No. 1 overall pick, expectations were high for Andrea Bargnani with the Raptors.

    And while he has a career average of a respectable 15.5 ppg, when you're looked to as the face of a franchise, the effect needs to be on the total number of wins, and not so much the inflated scoring numbers.

    In his defense (which he never plays), Andrea's supporting cast hasn't been top-notch in his time with the Raptors, so why wouldn't he be one of the NBA's biggest hurlers?

Rob Gronkowski

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    It seems all Rob Gronkowski does is catch touchdowns.

    With a combined 38 TD catches in his first three years in the league, he's become one of the most dangerous weapons in the game.

    Though his 2011 season was just stupid all-round when it comes to stats, his 2010 and 2012 seasons didn't boast nearly as many targets, yet his TD production didn't take a major hit.

Zenon Konopka

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    Zenon Konopka is one of the NHL baddest enforcers, and chooses to pretty much stick to his specialty.

    Here's a quick snapshot of his stats from last season:

    Three goals.

    Two assists.

    Five total points in 55 games played.

    Want to know how many penalty minutes he accumulated? 193. Which may not have lead the league, but his average time between fights did (23 minutes), meaning the dude basically used opponents as a punching bag every game.

Monta Ellis

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    We don't want to call Monta Ellis a ball hog, but if you were to pick one current NBA guy who best defines the term, his picture would probably be the one next to it.

    Dude jacks up shots like a middle-schooler trying to jack candy at a drugstore, firing whenever he has even the slightest window of opportunity, yet his 40 percent shooting isn't exactly what you'd want from your primary scorer.

DeAndre Jordan

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    DeAndre Jordan may be entertaining to watch thanks to monster dunks and row-hopping blocks, but get him anywhere outside the paint and it makes you wonder if a fifth-grader could beat him one-on-one.

    With the previously mentioned Griffin teamed with DeAndre, the lack of range might be the one Achilles heel for the suddenly scintillating Clips.

Adam Dunn

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    Adam Dunn might be nicknamed the "Big Donkey," for his massive strength when he actually does connect with the baseball, but if you've ever seen one of his at-bats, you might just think he looks like a jackass.

    When you bat a whopping .202 over the past two years—yet have still made $26 million in that time—you know your power's respected, but your whiffing is feared even more.