NBA Playoffs 2011: Pau Gasol and 5 Disappointing Players This Postseason
The 2011 NBA playoffs have been one of the most exciting postseasons in recent memory, but even in some diamonds, there are flaws.
We came into this postseason with some high hopes for players and teams, only to be let down and scratching our heads, wondering what happened to inspire such mediocre and downright awful performances on the biggest stages in basketball.
Inside, we'll be talking about five players that have frustrated and disappointed us the most in this postseason. From the biggest contenders, to the teams that are already out of the dance, we'll cover them all.
As always, if you have any thoughts, make sure to leave them in the comments along with your pick for the biggest disappointment in your eyes.
No. 5: Russell Westbrook
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Some may think Russell Westbrook should be higher on this list, but we should have seen this coming.
Westbrook has always been a shoot-first point guard, and even though people want to see the Oklahoma City Thunder allow Kevin Durant to assume the role as the top dog and closer, they have to realize that the young player can't change his role over night.
The reality is that while Westbrook has cost the Thunder some wins in big moments, he has also won them games like last nights triple-overtime thriller against the Memphis Grizzlies. Without Westbrook, the Thunder don't win that game and Oklahoma City needs him to be a tone-setter.
While he has made some mind-numbingly frustrating plays this postseason, the reality is that the good ones outweigh the moments that have made us question his long-term future in Oklahoma City. We haven't seen the end of that Westbrook, but there's so much room for improvement there that it's impossible to put him higher on this list.
No. 4: Kevin Garnett
On the surface, Kevin Garnett has had a great postseason.
He's right on his season average of 14.9 points per-game and he's averaging two more rebounds than he did in the regular season. However, when Garnett has had to come up big, he's been rather small.
Garnett has scored less than 10 points twice in the Miami series, including a miserable 1-10 performance after an amazing Game 3. The reality is that in this series, Garnett had to be a tone-setter against a weaker Heat frontcourt. Aside from Saturday's unreal display, he's been rather mediocre.
The Celtics needed more from Garnett in this series and they didn't get it and in part, that's why Boston will likely be headed home sooner rather than later. Sadly, Garnett's best days are behind him and he's not going to be able to put up the type of numbers we saw during the prime of his career.
It doesn't make it any less frustrating though.
No. 3: The Orlando Magic Supporting Cast
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I know it's cheating, but they were so bad, I couldn't choose one above the others.
When you have an MVP candidate in Dwight Howard drawing attention in the middle, you expect more from the supporting cast.
Sadly, the Orlando Magic didn't get that from the rest of the team as they went out in a disappointing first-round exit at the hands of the Atlanta Hawks. The Magic pulled the trigger on a deal that shook up the foundation of the team and it didn't pay off.
Guys like Jason Richardson and Hedo Turkoglu did a total no-show for most of the season and it carried into the playoffs, where a lot of people expected them to make it to the second round to face the Chicago Bulls.
This was the end of an era in Orlando, and as long as this unit is together, the Magic will get nothing out of this roster, and it's going to only create more disappointment and push Howard closer to a new destination after this year.
No. 2: Carlos Boozer
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When Carlos Boozer came to Chicago, he was supposed to be part of the group that helped lead the Bulls back to prominence.
The Bulls got the top seed in the Eastern Conference, but since then, Boozer hasn't bothered to show up in these playoffs. Boozer is averaging around 10 points a game, down from almost 18 in the regular season.
Furthermore, his shooting percentage is down to roughly 42 percent, an awful figure that has to improve if the Bulls are going to make it to the NBA Finals. Some of it relies on Derrick Rose creating good shots for his teammates, but Boozer simply has to execute when given the chance.
So far, we haven't gotten that. If he turns it around, the Bulls will be the favorite in the Eastern Conference.
No. 1: Pau Gasol
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You knew Pau Gasol had to top this list.
This is a player that came to Los Angeles and helped lead the Lakers to three NBA Finals and two championships. However, in this postseason, Gasol came up very small and the pressure turned up on him as his struggles worsened.
Gasol shot 42 percent from the floor, down from nearly 53 percent in the regular season and only averaged a mere 7.8 rebounds per game. That is inexcusable for a player that's supposed to take over games alongside Kobe Bryant in the Lakers' offense.
He never stepped up and now people are questioning his future in Los Angeles, which is absurd.
Gasol had a terribly disappointing postseason, but the reality is that he's a key part of what the Lakers are trying to build into the future, even if he failed to show up for the biggest games of the year.