In the spirit of Dwight Howard’s anemic performance against the Memphis Grizzlies, I got started thinking about some of the NBA players who have not quite met lofty expectations this season. These players aren’t necessarily in a slump, perhaps just a slow start, but they have definitely not (yet) proven their weight in terms of playing time, cash, or that hefty contract extension.
In contrast to the Top Ten Resurgent Players (so far) who were mentioned two posts ago, here are the Top Ten Disappointments (so far) of 2012-2013.
10. Isaiah Thomas (SAC) – (9.3ppg, 2.1apg, 1.3rpg)
After an unexpectedly strong showing last season, the guard out of the University of Washington was expected to breakout somewhat and close in on the numbers put up by his more illustrious namesake, but he has so far been a classic case of the “sophomore slump.” All his numbers are down from last season, with the dubious exception of turnovers. Yikes.
9. Klay Thompson (GSW) – 14.3ppg, 3.7rpg, 2.3apg, 34.1 3pt%, 36.3 FG%
His scoring, rebounding, and assists have actually gone up so far, but that’s easily explained by his minutes jumping from 24 per game last season to his current 34 minutes per outing. His per minute production, however, has dipped significantly, and so has his shooting. He shot better than 44% from the field and 41% from three last season, but, as is shown above, he’s currently converting at a much lower rate.
8. Roy Hibbert (IND) – 9.6ppg, 8.7rpg, 1.5bpg, 37.9 FG%, 54.5 FT%
Hibbert has scored in double-figures in Indiana’s last three games (including a triple-double to boot!), but I’m still not convinced he’s put his slow start behind him. He’s still shooting terribly from the floor and the line. He’s still NOT rebounding as well as someone his size should. The plain and simple fact is he’s just not fulfilling his potential. Far from it.
7. Carlos Boozer (CHI) – 13.3ppg, 8.9rpg, 43.9 FG%
I’ll give props to the former Blue Devil big man for rebounding a bit better than Hibbert, who’s 5 inches taller, but I’m sure Tom Thibodeau isn’t happy about Boozer’s field goal shooting. Considering Derrick Rose still isn’t around to take his 18 shots per game, Boozer should really be a bit more involved in the offense.
6. Manu Ginobili (SAS) – 9.9ppg, 4.0rpg, 2.4apg, 38.8 FG%, 29.7 3pt%
Manu’s scoring has steadily dipped after scoring 17.4ppg in the 2010-2011 season. Now that might be attributed to the fact that he’s nearing 36 years of age, but nobody can also discount the growth of Kawhi Leonard and Danny Green. Both Leonard and Green are playing significantly more minutes that Manu, which means the Argentinian sensation is entering the twilight of his storied career.
5. Ersan Ilyasova (MIL) – 6.3ppg, 4.7rpg, 31.3 FG%, 25.0 3pt%
It’s very strange that Ilyasova has been putting up some of his worst numbers after signing a pretty hefty extension with the Bucks. This after recording career-high stats last season, too! He’s norming about 6 points and 4 rebounds less than last year, not to mention shooting at career-low rates. And, worst of all, I have him in most of my Fantasy NBA teams! Boo that!!!
4. Gerald Wallace (BRK) – 7.3ppg, 4.0rpg, 3.0apg, 2.5 tpg
Wallace has never put up stats this awful since leaving Sacramento in 2004. The perennial triple-double threat and pinnacle of two-way basketball is now just a 30-year old shadow of his old self. Those numbers, of course, will continue to stay at really mediocre levels with the relatively efficient play of Andray Blatche and Joe Johnson.
3. Ty Lawson (DEN) – 12.8ppg, 7.5apg, 2.0spg, 38.9 FG%, 28.1 3pt%
I remember seeing Lawson’s name being floated around for All-Star considerations early in 2012, but I doubt he’ll continue to be involved in that conversation with his current numbers. His assists and steals are career-highs, but his scoring, rebounding, field goal shooting, and three-point accuracy are all significantly down from last season.
2. Dwight Howard (LAL) – 18.2ppg, 10.9rpg, 2.8bpg, 3.4 tpg, 49.3 FT%
99.9% of big men around the world would be considered AWESOME if they put up 18 points and 11 rebounds per game, but Howard is not part of that 99.9%. He’s the ultimate big man exception. He’s the guy who normed 21 points and 14 rebounds for the Magic last season. Yes, now he’s not the only All-Star level big guy on the team, but he’s still the best center in the planet. The thing is, he’s just not playing like he is. And those 3.4 turnovers per game coupled with his trademark barf-worthy free throw shooting? Please.
1. Josh Smith (ATL) – 15.0ppg, 7.6rpg, 3.6apg, 3.5 tpg, 42.0 FG%, 20.0 3pt%
With Joe Johnson no longer around, it should have been easy to see Smith’s numbers climb sky high, but, strangely enough, that has yet to happen. With Kyle Korver and Lou Williams hogging the shots JJ used to have, Smith’s numbers should have at least stayed the same, right? Wrong. The numbers are down, and not just his scoring, too. Weirdly enough, his rebounding and assists are down and his turnovers are up. What gives, Josh Smith?
Game Recaps (courtesy of the Sports Network):
Atlanta 101, Charlotte 91
Al Horford poured in a game-high 26 points and ripped down 13 rebounds as the Atlanta Hawks knocked off the Charlotte Bobcats, 101-91, on Friday at Time Warner Cable Arena. Horford added three blocks on the defensive end, while Kyle Korver dropped four 3-pointers en route to 16 points and six boards for the Hawks, who have won four in a row. Jeff Teague contributed 13 points and Josh Smith added 10 in the victory. Ramon Sessions scored a team-high 22 points, while Kemba Walker and Jeff Taylor added 16 points apiece for the Bobcats, who had won five of six coming in.
Orlando 108, Cleveland 104
J.J. Redick went 8-of-8 from the foul line down the stretch to lift the Orlando Magic over the Cleveland Cavaliers, 108-104. Redick ended with 18 points and six assists off the bench for the Magic, who have won 10 in a row against Cleveland. Jameer Nelson and Arron Afflalo each made four 3-pointers for 22 and 19 points, respectively. Glen Davis added 16 points and eight rebounds for Orlando, which has won two straight games for the second time this season. Dion Waiters made four 3-pointers en route to 25 points for the Cavaliers, who have lost six straight on the road. Anderson Varejao tallied 19 points and 17 boards.
Boston 108, Oklahoma City 100
Paul Pierce scored 27 points and Jeff Green added 17 against his former team, as the Boston Celtics downed the Oklahoma City Thunder, 108-100, at TD Garden. Kevin Garnett chipped in 18 points and nine boards, while Jason Terry netted 16 points, including a game-clinching 3- pointer down the stretch. Rajon Rondo kept his double-digit assist streak going with 16 helpers to go with eight boards and six points in the victory. Kevin Durant led Oklahoma City with 29 points, but missed a potential tying 3- pointer with 1:14 remaining. Russell Westbrook filled the stat sheet with 26 points, eight assists and seven boards in the loss.
Brooklyn 86, LA Clippers 76
Brook Lopez scored 26 points and sparked a strong late run that lifted the Brooklyn Nets to an 86-76 win over the Los Angeles Clippers at the Barclays Center. Lopez made two key baskets as part of a 12-2 spurt over the game's final four minutes as the Nets ended a two-game slide that followed a string of five consecutive victories. Joe Johnson knocked down a back-breaking 3-pointer during the deciding stretch and finished with 19 points on 8-of-12 shooting. The Clippers shot just 35.7 percent during a 13-point fourth quarter and turned the ball over 20 times overall in suffering a second consecutive defeat after winning six in a row. Blake Griffin and Chris Paul each had 14 points in the setback. Paul added nine assists, while DeAndre Jordan posted 12 points and 13 rebounds for Los Angeles.
Detroit 91, Toronto 90
Brandon Knight penetrated the lane to score the game-winning layup, lifting the Detroit Pistons to a 91-90 victory over the Toronto Raptors at the Palace of Auburn Hills. Knight, who finished with 16 points, scored his final basket with the Pistons trailing by one. He used a Greg Monroe pick to split the defense and score the go-ahead layup with just over seven seconds remaining. For the second game in a row, the Raptors lost a one-point contest in devastating fashion. Kyle Lowry scored 19 points, but miss-fired on the Raptors' final two possessions, the second bouncing off the back-rim and over the backboard to seal the win for the Pistons. Andrea Bargnani poured in a game-high 34 points on 13-of-20 shooting for Toronto, which has dropped eight of its last 10 games.
Houston 131, New York 103
Jeremy Lin dominated the headlines coming into Friday's game between Houston and New York, but Chandler Parsons stole the spotlight with a career-high 31 points on 13-of-17 shooting. Parsons added five rebounds, four assists, four steals and a block in the Rockets' 131-103 victory over the Knicks. Lin ended with 13 points, seven rebounds and one steal against his former team. James Harden added 33 points and went 16-of-16 from the foul line for the Rockets, who have won six in a row against the Knicks. Carmelo Anthony made seven 3-pointers en route to 37 points for New York, which has lost two straight for the first time this season. Raymond Felton donated 17 points and eight assists.
San Antonio 104, Indiana 97
Tony Parker put home a season-high 33 points and handed out 10 assists as the San Antonio Spurs continued their recent dominance over the Indiana Pacers with a 104-97 victory on Friday at Bankers