NBA Power Rankings: Ron Artest and the Top 10 Underachieving Players of 2010-11
There have been plenty of reasons for excitement in the NBA 2010-2011 season.
Unfortunately, there has also been plenty of reasons for disappointment.
The production of some established players has slipped. In the NBA, players are not expected to replicate the same numbers and productivity from year to year, but they are expected to keep some kind of consistency.
There are many reasons why a player might underachieve in a specific season--injury, trades, suspensions,the emergence of new and old teammates--but those described in this list have experienced little or none of the effects of the aforementioned situations.
They've just been plain disappointing beyond justification.
Enjoy reading, and do not forget to voice your opinion in the comments section below.
10. Brandon Roy
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Blazer’s fans please hold your anger as you read this slide.
The opening slide does in fact indicate that performance drop-offs due to injuries would not significantly affect a player’s rank in this list. The problem with Roy is that he has kept playing and forcing his body, which has negatively affected his team.
Even playing through an injury, Roy still logged over 35 minutes per game. In those minutes he shot less than 40 percent from the field and scored just over 16.5 points per game, down from about 22 last season. Also, he constantly failed to stay in front on his man on defense, causing Portland to allow easy scores.
What's worse, while he pushed his body's health limits, he limited the production of Wesley Matthews, who blossomed after Roy called it quits for the season. What is most disappointing about this dilemma is that Roy ended up opting for surgery on both knees anyway.
Since then, Portland has gone 14-9 after a 12-14 start with Roy.
9. Mo Williams
Mo Williams has missed time due to injury, but even when healthy, he has not performed at the level that was expected. Williams came to Cleveland averaging over 17 points per game and shooting a very efficient 48 percent from the field. With LeBron leaving town, the team needed Williams to go back to his all-star form.
It did not happen.
Williams is averaging a shade over 13.5 points per game with an atrocious 38.7 field goal percentage. His turnovers are up and his statistics are down across the board. Only his assist total has seen a boost, but it still feels as he still needs to pass more and stop racking up more missed shots.
Cleveland was expected to be bad, but not this bad. The team has lost 20 games in a row and the play of Williams has been a big reason why. Differently from other players in this list, it is a little too late for redemption for the former all-star.
8. Rashard Lewis
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One could say Rashard Lewis has not had a disappointing season, just another season following his steep production decline.
That just isn’t true.
As a 31-year-old shooter, there is no reason why Lewis should have left his prime years behind so quickly.
The reason Lewis makes this list is the promise the Magic showed in the off-season. Lewis was returning to his “natural” small forward position, one in which he thrived in while he played for the Sonics. Nobody expected Lewis to play even worse than he did last year.
But he did, and he got shipped.
Playing for the Wizards, Lewis has actually been slightly better, averaging under 14 points per game and seven rebounds. Even that is disappointing considering the team lacks major talent at both forward spots.
7. Josh Childress
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Then return of Josh Childress to the NBA from a few successful years oversees was highly anticipated. He left the league in 2008 after a few solid seasons in Atlanta. Many considered his departure a loss of talent to the NBA and even worried general managers across the nation about significant talent choosing to play overseas.
When Childress announced he was returning, many NBA fans could only expect the same or better production from the swing man. That was not the case once he put on a Phoenix Suns uniform. Childress has fallen out of Phoenix’s rotation at times during the season and is only producing slightly over five points per game.
6. Brendan Haywood
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Brendan Haywood was signed by the Dallas Mavericks after the big man came into town last season and provided much needed physical presence down low. Apparently, his eight points and rebounds were enough to get him a guaranteed five-year deal from the Mavericks and the starting center position.
Then Tyson Chandler come along.
Chandler is better than Haywood in almost every statistical category. After a few games into the season, it was only common sense for coach Carlisle to replace Haywood with Chandler in the starting lineup.
Since then, Haywood has been a complete disappointment.
The fact that he is playing only 17 minutes per game is not only because of Chandler’s emergence, but his own lack of productivity. Haywood has not played with the defensive passion he was known for, and his performance at the free throw line has been the close to the worst in the league.
5. Trevor Ariza
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Trevor Ariza’s short tenure with the Houston Rockets after a big contract deal was very short of impressive. As the main guy in Houston, Ariza failed to become a leader and a productive player. Being the focus of the defense rather than a role player, like he was in Los Angeles, resulted in offensive inefficiency.
When shipped to New Orleans, many experts thought Trevor would have the chance to emerge as a solid player next to Chris Paul. So far, he has fared even worse than in Houston. His field goal percentage is still awful at under 40 percent, and he is only scoring 11 points per game.
New Orleans has been up and down this year, but they have caught fire after enduring a string of games where they played average basketball.
Trevor Ariza is not the reason why.
4. Corey Maggette
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Corey Maggette’s decline in production is hard to explain.
He was efficient scoring the basketball in Los Angeles when playing mainly half court sets. He also thrived in Golden State playing in an up-tempo style system.
In Milwaukee, he is unable to do either.
Maggette’s numbers are down across the board, including a significant dip in scoring, down from almost 20 per game, to 12.8. His efficiency offensively has also been below average. His field goal percentage is down to 44 percent from over 51.5.
Maggette has the chance to redeem himself in the second half of the season.
Actually, the entire Milwaukee Bucks team has the chance to redeem themselves.
3. Anthony Randolph
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Where to start with Anthony Randolph?
Watching the forward play only makes fans think of what this kid could do given more playing time. In Golden state, Randolph showed how good we could become. When traded to New York, everyone thought he would flourish and become the next Amare Stoudemire.
Now he struggles to even crack the rotation.
The only reason Randolph is not first on this list is because he has not played enough (or at all) to show he is a disappointment as far as his basketball abilities go. But even without that, the fact that he cannot crack a minute on a team in need of big men speaks for itself.
2. O.J. Mayo
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Through the years, several people have investigated the effect of the so called “rookie wall”. Is there such thing as a sophomore wall?
The performance of O.J. Mayo suggests such a thing.
After following his spectacular rookie campaign with another solid season his sophomore year, O.J. Mayo has taken a nose dive towards irrelevancy in his junior season. Scoring, his best attribute, has dipped terribly from 18 points per game, to barely above 12. His field goal percentage has also taken a hit, going down to 40 percent.
The result of Mayo’s struggles has taken him from a secure starting role in Memphis to not even a sixth man some nights. To top that, he has been mentioned in several trade talks.
This is disappointing to say the least.
1. Ron Artest
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This should not be a surprise to anyone that follows the NBA--or reads article titles.
So far this season, Artest is having the worst year of his career. While he is still playing good defense, his inefficiency offensively both in shot making and decision making has him playing only 27 minutes per game.
Artest’s time in Los Angeles has not been what fans expected, not even last year when he helped the team win a championship. Other than game seven of the finals, Artest was a liability on the offensive end more than a catalyst defensively.
The struggles continued this year and got even worse.
Early in the year, reports were released uncovering apparent communication issues between Artest and head coach Phil Jackson. Although issues appeared to be solved at the time, they really were not.
Recent rumors have taken another spin on things. Artest’s name has been circling the Internet in trade rumors. If Artest is indeed traded by the defending champions, it would only be the cherry on top of an already disappointing season.