Kevin Durant is pictured above because he used to be less than three-dimensional. Often dismissed as a mere scorer, KD has grown his game.
His passing has improved to the tune of four assists per evening. KD used to rely on others for his shot. He now creates for himself with ease. The Oklahoma Thunder superstar once had a shaky handle. Today, he's by far the best dribbler at his height.
The point is, a one-dimensional athlete can often grow beyond that. It's more predictive than descriptive, more a statement of what to improve on than a dismissal. Here's to hoping that the following players round out their games.
You can be fantastic and one-dimensional. It's hard to know, but Carmelo Anthony is pulling it off this season.
So we're clear, Melo has two elite skills, not one. He's a premier scorer and elite rebounder for his position.
I just happen to perceive his rebounding as connected to his scoring. The man has a laser-gaze on the hoop, and many of his offensive rebounds are in pursuit of his misses that Anthony chases into the hoop.
The knock on Anthony is that he's a lethargic, unaware defender and not much of a passer. Both those criticisms are true, but Melo is so good at his good qualities that he outweighs those issues.
There is an irony in taking a triple-double machine and declaring him one-dimensional. To be clear, I'm citing Rajon Rondo as dominating one dimension of the point guard position.
He's an incredible passer, to the point where it seeps into what should be scoring opportunities. Though a very good player, Rondo must improve as a shooter and as someone who's willing to shoot. It's fantastic that Rajon finds open men, but he takes pressure off the defense if he's only probing it with passes.
This designation is actually a promotion for DeMar DeRozan. Most observers wouldn't consider the Toronto Raptors guard a "star."
The Raptors feel otherwise, apparently, because they signed DeRozan to a hefty $40 million contract extension. For him to justify that figure, he must expand that game.
DeRozan's a gifted athlete, but his shooting is suspect. In his career, he's shooting 23 percent from deep, and he possesses very poor court vision.
The cloud's silver lining here is that DeMar is shooting a shade under 31 percent on threes. He just might be getting there as a marksman (emphasis on "might").
Dwight Howard used to have dimensions—really, he did. His detractors insisted that he lacked a post game, lacked a shot. They would often scream that "All Dwight does is dunk!"
Now, due to a back injury, Dwight Howard's become the limited player that he was unfairly accused of being. He rarely operates in the post these days. He almost never takes jumpers.
Worse yet, Howard moves slowly on defense as he rehabs from his surgery. The multi-dimensional aspects of Dwight's game could often be found in the realm of basketball that too few pay attention to.
Howard was an excellent screen-and-roll defender because he possessed superior instincts, defensive intelligence and athleticism. Now that he's been robbed of that last quality, the former qualities can't shine through.