NBA 2010-11: Five Rookies Who Could Be More Trouble Than They're Worth
Being an NBA rookie has its ups and downs.
As a player, your game is evaluated, projected, criticized, and torn apart.
As a person, your life is a constant background check. You are constantly being watched, scrutinized, and fact checked for any improper contact with people.
And then you are drafted.
Suddenly you have gone from a college kid trying to make it to the big stage, to a millionaire attempting to fit into a new city.
Some rookies will have high expectations: franchise savior or the missing piece to a championship run.
Others will be projects, patiently waiting for their opportunity to show teammates what they have to offer.
Regardless of which category the rookie fits in, it seems there are always a few players that may end up bringing some sort of "baggage" to the table.
That baggage may be past personal issues, troubles with the law, or flaws in their game that they just won't accept.
Sometimes these problems make certain rookies more trouble than they are worth to NBA teams.
If the player provides too much of a distraction to the rest of the team, or ends up not performing, a team could get fed up with the player.
To make matters worse, if that player was a lottery pick, their problems could end up becoming more than just a depth chart issue.
Having a lottery pick with problems could set a team back for years in development while other rookie options flourish in the NBA.
With that said, I have created a list of five rookies that could end up being troublesome for their teams.
They may not be the "problem child" type, but current situations may end up putting them in that category.
As always...sit back, relax, and don't forget to throw in a few players of your own in the comment section!
5. Xavier Henry, Memphis Grizzlies
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When the Memphis Grizzlies drafted Xavier Henry out of Kansas, they were expecting to get a scorer.
Instead they got a headache.
Henry has yet to sign a contract, which means he hasn't had the opportunity to work out with his teammates, learn the playbook, and take the first steps to contribute to the Grizzlies organization.
This is not good for a team that took him with the No. 12 pick in the 2010 NBA Draft.
Henry has not shown a history of issues like this, so it could be a simple contract dispute.
However, with O.J. Mayo taking on more of the point guard duties, and Mike Conley's name being shopped around the NBA, the Grizzlies could really use their scoring swingman in camp.
Henry brings a unique scoring skill set, which includes a deep range jump shot and an ability to get to the basket.
This is something that could be beneficial playing alongside either Mayo or Conley, which could open up more scoring opportunities for Rudy Gay, Zach Randolph, and Marc Gasol.
If this contract dispute carries on any longer, the Grizzlies could be kicking themselves for not taking a different player who could be contributing already.
4. Greg Monroe, Detroit Pistons
With the No. 7 pick in the 2010 NBA Draft, the Detroit Pistons selected their power forward of the future.
After striking out in free agency last season by giving huge money to the under-performing Charlie Villanueva, the Pistons decided it was was time to draft a real threat down low.
Instead of drafting Ed Davis from North Carolina, they grabbed the 6'11" Monroe, who is more finesse than the stout inside presence that the Pistons needed down low.
Monroe has already been criticizes for not being a very good rebounder or defender, and has been said to have mediocre athleticism. These are not things that should be said about the guy who is supposed to man the power forward or center position for a franchise over the next 10 years.
The Pistons have created a problem by drafting Monroe and adding him to their stable of power forwards and centers.
Villanueva is a scoring power forward who doesn't play defense and seems lost at times.
Chris Wilcox is an NBA journeyman who has yet to live up to his No. 8 overall draft pick status of 2002.
Then there's Jason Maxiell, Ben Wallace, and last year's second round pick Jonas Jerebko who also manned the Pistons' power forward and center positions.
Not only is Monroe supposed to be the future of the organization, but he is supposed to weave his way through a group of guys who are underachievers, over the hill, and overpaid.
Sounds like a headache if you ask me.
3. Eric Bledsoe, Los Angeles Clippers
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Sometimes it's good to come into the league with a chip on your shoulder.
And other times it's a bad thing.
It seems that Eric Bledsoe came into the NBA with the bad chip.
Many people wondered why Bledsoe left Kentucky early, when he could have been the Wildcats' starting point guard next season.
Shortly after he left, there were negative reports coming out of Kentucky about his academic/improper contact history.
Those issues aside, Bledsoe has a bigger problem ahead of him in the NBA.
During his summer league games Bledsoe showed flashes of being ready for the NBA, and then he followed it up with more and more turnovers.
This could be more trouble for the cursed Clippers than they wish to deal with.
As their roster currently stands, Bledsoe is the backup to Baron Davis.
Davis isn't the healthiest person in NBA history, which means that the Clippers are one play away from Bledsoe's point guard deficiencies running their team.
And we are talking about the Clippers here...anything that can happen, will happen to their team.
One scout even said that Eric Bledsoe "needs point guard lessons."
That's not something good when you are next in line to be the starting point guard for an NBA team.
If I'm the Clippers, I sign a veteran point guard, and fast!
2. DeMarcus Cousins, Sacramento Kings
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Depending on your view of the draft, the Kings either got a steal at No. 5, or a headache waiting to happen.
DeMarcus Cousins has the skills to find himself among the NBA elite one day.
At 6'11" and 270 pounds, Cousins has the body to defend against any power forward and center in the NBA.
His skill set gives the Kings with a legitimate scoring threat in the paint.
However, Cousins has been marked with red flags since the day he started playing basketball for the University of Kentucky.
Some people question his conditioning; others question his commitment.
There is no doubting his abilities as a basketball player, but being only 20 years of age and not being committed to the game is bad for the Sacramento Kings.
They acquired Samuel Dalembert from Philadelphia in order to "bridge the gap" for Cousins at center, but Dalembert won't last long.
This means the Kings are expecting big things from Cousins, and I'm not sure if he can deliver in the way the organization needs.
They took a step in the right direction with the play of rookies Tyreke Evans and Omri Casspi last season, and have a solid starting power forward in Carl Landry.
Those are three pieces that an organization can build around, but Cousins could be the piece that puts them in the playoff race.
I'm not saying they are a playoff team next season, but they could be in the future.
That's a lot of riding on the No. 5 pick in this year's draft, and if Cousins cannot live up to those expectations, the Kings could be set back for a long time.
1. Lance Stephenson, Indiana Pacers
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Before the draft, Lance Stephenson was being compared to Ron Artest.
Who knew that all of those positive comparisons to Artest's intensity, his defensive abilities, and his all-around game would eventually bring out the negatives as well.
The Pacers thought they were getting a steal in the second round with Stephenson.
He has the ability to play point and shooting guard, is young with a lot of upside, and he was a first round rated prospect.
And now the Pacers are seeing why he fell to them in round two.
Once expected to be a contributor to the 2010-2011 Pacers squad, Stephenson has seemingly fallen from grace with the team.
He has been arrested for domestic assault already, and the team has him secluded in a separate practice facility.
To tell you the type of problem this guy is to the Pacers, they won't even allow the other players to practice at that facility. The only contact Stephenson has is with assistant coaches.
In business terms Stephenson was a low risk, high reward draft pick.
His game has such a high ceiling that the Pacers were willing to take a chance on his negative qualities in order to perhaps find the steal of the draft.
However, it seems the only thing they have found is a player that may not even make the team come training camp time.
Stephenson was being touted as someone who could take the starting point guard spot away from T.J. Ford (before the Darren Collison trade), and a player who could challenge Brandon Rush for minutes at shooting guard.
Now he seems to be on the fast track to another team, the D-League, or Europe.
Funny how quickly things can change.