Close, but no Cigar: The Things Keeping These Players From Stardom
Kobe Bryant, Dwayne Wade, and LeBron James, these are players who have established themselves as the NBA's finest and have hit their potential (or extremely close). But, there are players in the NBA that are rising stars and the only thing keeping them from becoming ABSOLUTE SUPERSTARS are little things. There are even rookies that can improve in one aspect to translate their college into an even more successful NBA game. So, lets see the little things keeping these players from superstars.
- Dwight Howard- Dwight Howard is already the most dominant player in the league. He is definitely the closest on becoming a front tier NBA player alongside LeBron, Dwayne and Kobe. Between his athleticism and pure strength he is a monster in the paint. The only person believed to be stronger is Kwame Brown, but everyone knows who the better first overall pick is. Dwight Howard is making a stamp on the NBA, but to become truly spectacular Dwight Howard needs to become better offensively. Even though Dwight Howard is the best center in the league, Brook Lopez, Al Jefferson, Andrea Bargnani, Al Horford, Amare Stoudemire and a healthy Yao Ming have all surpassed him in offensive talent. I believe that he needs to create a post game and especially a mid-range shot. The European style of play has big men shooting the mid range jumper. Examples of this are Dirk and Bargnani. Everyone knows he can do it because back in high school he played a little out on the perimeter and even shot some threes. Even though it wasn't at a deadly accurate rate, it was still a pretty good shot that looked like it would translate to the NBA. Dwight Howard could be spectacular if he developed a better offensive game.
Tyreke Evans- Evans emerged as the Kings deadliest weapon on offense and deserved the ROY award by averaging 20 pts, 5 rbs, and 5 asts. Only three other players have done that in their rookie year and its LeBron James, Oscar Robertson and Michael Jordan. So you can see he is going to be a big deal, but the one thing holding him back is defense. This may not be a little thing to tweak but he really needs to work on it. He is extremely athletic and can be a lockdown defender if he wants, but he just doesn't have the skills yet. Many teams took advantage of his weakness and point guards and shooting guards had free reign against Beno Udrih and Evans. Also, Evans was probably cut from Team USA because of his defense and his injury. Evans could be a superstar in the league some day but defense is holding him back.
Kevin Durant- Durant is probably one of the best offensive players in the game if not the best. Durant is also very close to becoming that top tier player. Durant has the exact opposite problem as Dwight. He has the skills, but not the strength. One of the reasons he was picked behind Oden was because he lacked the strength that showed during the bench press. I still believed Portland should have gone with Durant, but they have to live for their mistakes. Besides a Durant-Roy-Aldridge trio would be destroying the NBA. Kevin Durant's lack of strength really showed when he went toe to toe with Ron Artest in the first round of the playoffs. Sure, he still had a good playoffs, but you could tell that he was very frustrated about Artest's defense. Ron Artest is thought of as the strongest pound for pound player in the NBA, but Durant still got some good looks thanks to his speed and the excellent play of the fellow teammate, Russell Westbrook. If Durant can add a few more pounds he will be a deadly weapon and surpass an aging Kobe, and LeBron as the best player in the world.
Demarcus Cousins- Cousins is giant force in the paint and in some ways is kind of like Andrew Bynum. Cousins showed that he probably deserved to go second or third in this years draft through his summer league play. I believe John Wall is undoubtedly going to be the best player coming from this draft, but Cousins could also be a perennial All- Star along side his former teammate. Cousin's one big problem is his attitude. He probably would have gone second if it was not for his attitude. I still think the Nets would have taken Favors over Cousins even if Cousins lost the attitude because Brook Lopez is not the most athletic big man and Favors is a freak athlete and complements him nicely. Cousins also has a weight issue, but many successful players have like Shaq and Willis Reed. Last season we did see a little emotional problems on and off the court and this later hurt his draft stock. Along with Wall he has a ton of upside and is only 19! He could be something special alongside Evans if he can keep his attitude under control. Also, do you remember another pairing like this say 10 years ago in California with a dominant young center with an attitude and a serious shooting guard, who has gotten into a little trouble. Ring a bell?
Andrew Bynum and Greg Oden
- Greg Oden and Andrew Bynum- Bynum and Oden are going to be great players in this league if they stay healthy. Oden, when healthy, could be the second best defensive big in the league behind Howard. Bynum is probably one of the biggest bodies at center in the game and is just a monstrous defensive presence also while healthy. These two players could turn into All-Stars someday. Bynum showed sparks of brilliance in the beginning of this season. Also, he has had Kareem Abdul-Jabaar helping him and he is the greatest center in the history of the NBA. Oden when healthy puts up monster numbers. He and Aldridge complement each other and form a giant front court. If Bynum and Oden can stay healthy they can challenge Howard and Lopez as the best center in the league. Also Oden and Bynum are just 22 years old.