The Biggest Busts of the 2009-2010 NBA Season
Sometimes plans work out. Sometimes they don't. Each offseason hundreds of moves are made by NBA teams and many of them come with high expectations for the following season. The 2009-2010 NBA season has been no different in that regard, offering up plenty of players who didn't exactly have the right sized foot to fill the shoes waiting for them in their new destinations. You won't find Cinderella here, but you will find her ugly step sisters.
5. Marcin Gortat
The Dallas Mavericks signed backup center Marcin Gortat to a five year $34 million offer sheet after providing quality minutes during the 2008-2009 season backing up Dwight Howard. Upon signing the offer sheet, most assumed Orlando would let Gortat ride off into the sunset and become the starting center for the Dallas Mavericks. Even Orlando General manager Otis Smith was quoted as saying he would not pay anything over five million a year for anyone to backup Dwight. Apparently, he felt otherwise as he matched the offer sheet which pays Gortat a significant amount more than that at an average of $6.8 million. Gortat has responded by putting out the very same production he did last season while being paid five million dollars more. Good luck moving that contract Orlando.......
4. Ben Gordon
It was clear the Detroit Pistons were aging quickly after the 2007-2008 season and general manager Joe Dumars decided to drastically change his team's identity. Last season Dumars shipped off 2004 NBA Finals MVP Chauncey Billups for an Allen Iverson who would later be asked to leave the team and let Rasheed Wallace leave the Pistons for the 2008 NBA Champions the Boston Celtics. Free agent sharpshooter Ben Gordon was supposed to provide the Pistons with a consistent 20 points per game, and was paid accordingly to the tune of five years $55 million. Unfortunately, Gordon's shooting percentage slipped from 45.5 percent to 42.1 percent and has scored 13.7 points per game in comparison to his 20.7 point per game average with the Bulls last season. One of the main reasons for this drop is his 30 percent accuracy from behind the three point line, almost 11 percent lower than his career worst.
3. Charlie Villanueva
In addition to the Ben Gordon signing, Joe Dumars decided to move away from the formula which had made his Pistons one of the best teams of the decade. Out with the defensive big men who anchor defenses and in with the soft jump shooting power forward who is notorious for his lack of defense. Villanueva was signed to a five year $35 million offer sheet this past summer with hopes of forming a powerful one-two punch with former University of Connecticut teammate Ben Gordon. After averaging 16.2 points and 6.7 rebounds last year for the Milwaukee Bucks, Villanueva is averaging 12.2 points and 4.9 rebounds this season in Detroit, both career lows. It gets even worse. In the 15 games since the all-star break, Villanueva has found himself in head coach John Kuester's dog house and has averaged a paltry 8.1 points and 3.7 rebounds.
2. Hedo Turkoglu
The Raptors looked to build upon two straight playoff appearances during the 2008-2009 season, but ultimately fell far short managing to win a disappointing 33 games landing them the ninth overall selection in the 2009 NBA Draft. With the selection of Demar Derozan, the Raptors netted their shooting guard of the future and Hedo Turkoglu was supposed to come in and round out a promising starting lineup along with Jose Calderon, Derozan, Chris Bosh, and Andrea Bargnani. Turkoglu was signed to a five year $50 million deal and was expected to be a glue guy for Toronto much like he was with Orlando. While shooting virtually the same percentages as last season, Turkoglu is currently scoring 12.1 points per game in comparison to his 16.8 point per game average last season. The Raptors are currently struggling, having lost 10 of their 13 games after the All-Star break. With Turkoglu locked in for a lot of money and Chris Bosh potentially leaving after this season, that giant meteor might be hitting Toronto very soon, causing the Raptors to become extinct.
1. Richard Jefferson
When the Milwaukee Bucks dealt Richard Jefferson to the San Antonio Spurs in June, Jefferson was supposed to rejuvenate the San Antonio Spurs and once again place them among the elite teams out west. Unfortunately, Richard Jefferson is no longer as explosive as he once was, rendering him more a jump shooter than he'd ever been before. (There's a reason he's getting his shot blocked by defensive behemoth Kris Humphries) 17 out of the 20 ESPN analysts who participated in ESPN's annual NBA Preview chose the Spurs to win the NBA's Southwest Division. As it stands now, the Spurs are 4.5 games behind the Dallas Mavericks, one of the hottest teams in the NBA , and in danger of finishing in the bottom half of the West's playoff seeding, setting them up for a disappointing first round exit. With that being said, Jefferson has also managed to average a mere 11.9 points per game this season, his lowest since his rookie year. It gets even worse when the Spurs are on the hook for his $15 million contract next season, making him the biggest bust of the 2009-2010 NBA season.
There's something to be said when you're the number two overall pick in the draft and can't make it through your first season in the NBA without being sent down for a stint in the D-league. At least he's young and has a great NBA body. There's hope for him yet.
Wallace hasn't exactly set the world on fire in Boston this season. He was supposed to provide them with another interior presence who would be able to stretch the floor for the Celtics. Unfortunately he's shooting 28.5 percent from beyond the arc this season. Never mind that he's been terrible on defense and allergic to boxing out.
Iverson was signed in the offseason by the Memphis Grizzlies, a move that was puzzling from both ends. You have an NBA veteran undoubtedly looking to win a championship and a young team looking to grow together as a team. It only took the team three games of Iverson on the floor for both sides to figure this out and mutually part ways.