1. Welcome! Please take a few seconds to create your free account to post threads, make some friends, remove a few ads while surfing and much more. ClutchFans has been bringing fans together to talk Houston Sports since 1996. Join us!

  2. Watching NBA Action
    Come join Clutch as we're watching NBA playoff action live, including SGA and the Thunder taking on the New Orleans Pelicans

    LIVE: NBA Playoffs!
    Dismiss Notice

Players Who You Think SHOULD Be Better

Discussion in 'NBA Dish' started by dharocks, Jun 5, 2011.

  1. dharocks

    dharocks Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Jun 24, 2003
    Messages:
    9,032
    Likes Received:
    1,969
    I was reading through some of Bill Simmons' old articles, and I found a great one in which he had an e-mail exchange with Malcolm Gladwell (a writer for the New Yorker and a great author). You can read the entire two-part article here (Part I) and here (Part II), but there was one topic that really stood out for me:

    Here's my question: which players in the NBA, through their own doing (be it laziness, apathy, poor coaching or simply not having the stones to fully apply themselves), are considerably worse than you think they should be? We'll narrow the options to players who are still conceivably capable of taking their game to the next level (let's leave T-Mac out of the discussion, kids).

    So who do you guys think are the anti-Chuck Hayes's of the NBA? The underachievers? Across the talent spectrum, whether a guy who was good but should have been great (think Derrick Coleman), to someone who was a complete scrub (Chris Washburn).

    Here are five guys who came to mind for me:

    Anthony Randolph, Minnesota I know some people here are in love with him, but he's a scrub. And that designation sounds harsh, as he shown some flashes and has at times made a positive impact when he's been given minutes. But there's a reason he doesn't get consistent burn, he just doesn't seem willing to accept a role that suits his current level of ability. Randolph seems have some stubborn determination to be the next Lamar Odom, when he's probably best suited as a Jared Jeffries (with talent) type of guy. He's young, but I just don't see star potential there. I do think that if he accepts a role as a super-role player he could turn into a very good player, a Kirilenko/Marcus Camby hybrid.

    Terrence Williams, Houston I'll say this, he's got potential, and loads of it. TWill certainly has his defenders here, and this is what I'll say for him: He can pass, he can break down defenders and he's a good open court player. He has a midrange game and I think with work he can be a reliable long-range gunner. To be honest, he has many of the same tools as a young Andre Iguodala. However, the half-court decision making is a major issue. Part of that may just be an unfamiliarity with the offense, it's possible he's just a better fit in a more structured system (i.e., Pitino's flex). Maybe he's just a moron.

    Either way, it doesn't sound like McHale's messing with our offense, so TWill MUST figure out the Princeton offense (and play like he's fighting for a job). If he doesn't, Morey's best move would be to cut losses and send Williams to Utah for whatever you can get. I think he'd work better in their system, and they need a wing.

    That said, I do think there's a decent chance that TWill's going to be our starting 3 next year, or first man off the bench.

    Michael Beasley, Minnesota Got lots to say about Beasley and in fairness to him, he's a lot closer to good than average; if he shows even moderate improvement next year, he'll be Jamison-lite. I know people dog him for his work ethic, but I don't really think Beasley's lazy, per se. It's not as if he pulls a Boris Diaw and shows up 20 lbs overweight every year. Bease should be a better defender and rebounder, which is to an extent a product of effort, but he plays with Kevin Love on a good rebounding team. I do think his lack of focus on defense is unacceptable, especially given that he got plenty of one-on-one work with Spoelstra. Still, he's young and on a lousy team, so I'll give him a pass there.

    That said, the tools are there for him to be so much better than Antawn Jamison. The guy's 6'9" and ambidextrous, with coordination, athleticism, a great first step, decent handles, and an incredible ability to finish at the rim*. He's also got a nifty arsenal of baseline and post moves (comparable to Carl Landry), and has a variety of ball and step fakes. He really should be a more athletic James Worthy. His major issue is his jumper. Not its quality; he's got a decent midrange game and legitimate three-point range. But his reliance on it is maddening, a player with his skillset has no business shooting that many baseline and elbow jumpers.

    Still, of all the guys on this list, I think at his age he has the best chance of realizing his potential, as well as the highest ceiling.

    *Just to emphasize this point, Beasley's eFG% on shots close to the basket: 0.650. For the comparison's sake, Dwight Howard's was 0.637. Stoudemire? 0.633. In addition, he was assisted on a lower percentage of those shots than either of the other two.

    Brook Lopez, New Jersey To make up for the essay I wrote about Beasely, I'll be concise with my comments on Lopez: For the second year in a row, the Nets were markedly worse defensively with Lopez on the floor. He rebounded like Andrea Bargnani. And honestly, I don't even know what his deal is. I can only conclude that it's an effort/toughness issue. Next year's going to be big for him.

    Nene, Denver Nene annoys me. I just don't get why he hasn't made the leap to star. If Nuggets4 drops by, I'd love to get his input. I really thought it might happen when 'Melo got traded, but you watch him play, and he just hasn't improved in a long time. If Nuggets4 drops by, I'd love to get his input.

    Nene's not bad by any stretch; good defender, great finisher, quick hands and feet. Passable jumper, and he's a slick passer. He just doesn't seem to want to be anything more than a really good role-player. Don't even get me started on some of the fouls he commits. He's Tyson Chandler-esque in that regard. But for some reason, probably just naivete, I still think he could break out with a 20/9 season.

    NOTABLE OMISSIONS:
    Hasheem Thabeet (big east fan, never thought he would be very good)
    Kwame Brown (he is what he is)
    Russell Westbrook (took too much heat this postseason, he'll be fine. He and Durant just need to play off each other more)
    J.R. Smith (don't think he'll figure it out)
    Marvin Williams (haven't followed him closely enough)
    Darko Milicic (no clue what to make of him)

    (As an aside, I don't think players owe it to anyone but themselves to be the best that they can be. If a guy's content to hang around the NBA off pure talent, make a few millions and never fully realize his potential, that's disappointing as a fan, but it's his right. Plenty of people here dick around on the BBS at work when they could be better employees, and I can't judge them. Sure, millions of people would love the opportunity to be an NBA player, but there are also millions living in abject poverty who'd love the opportunity to work some crappy entry-level office job.)
     
    1 person likes this.
  2. Outlier

    Outlier Member

    Joined:
    Mar 25, 2006
    Messages:
    8,519
    Likes Received:
    1,341
    Josh Smith
    Tyrus Thomas
    CJ Miles
    Any big man from the Wizards
     
    1 person likes this.
  3. RedRedemption

    RedRedemption Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Jul 21, 2009
    Messages:
    32,470
    Likes Received:
    7,648
    Terrence Williams for sure. If he had some work ethic, he could easily turn out to be a great sixth man or a starter for that matter.
     
  4. Shroopy2

    Shroopy2 Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Feb 16, 2003
    Messages:
    15,915
    Likes Received:
    1,598
    Big men get the "should be better" label more than guards and swingmen. Because they're seen as big slow laid back oafs (most of them do have that tendency). And obviously there's the whole "IF I had HIS SIZE/If THAT were ME with THAT size" thing. The Skee-Lo effect, the belief that the small hardworking upstart guy can maximize his potential if were "a little bit taller".


    One who coulda been even scarier better: SHAQ.
     
  5. pmac

    pmac Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Oct 10, 2007
    Messages:
    7,934
    Likes Received:
    2,503
    any poor defender that isn't a well below average athlete

    ...and I mean Brad Miller slow, most others can at least be average on D
     
  6. A_3PO

    A_3PO Member

    Joined:
    Apr 29, 2006
    Messages:
    42,405
    Likes Received:
    5,803
    Russell Westbrook? Seriously? Do you realize his improvement has been meteoric in 3 seasons and that he was 2nd team All-NBA this year (again, in just his 3rd season)? How much better should he be?
     
  7. dharocks

    dharocks Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Jun 24, 2003
    Messages:
    9,032
    Likes Received:
    1,969
    Not sure how to respond... Is this meant to be ironic?
     
  8. javal_lon

    javal_lon Member

    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2010
    Messages:
    10,972
    Likes Received:
    8,760
    He aint lyin though... The guy is playin the hardest position to learn...He was drafted as a shooting guard with point guard abilities....He's still learning and excelling beyond expectations
     
  9. RocketMadness

    RocketMadness Member

    Joined:
    Nov 9, 2009
    Messages:
    1,752
    Likes Received:
    47
    Tyreke Evans.
     
  10. roslolian

    roslolian Member

    Joined:
    Oct 30, 2008
    Messages:
    24,443
    Likes Received:
    14,726
    Well I think this depends on what you mean by "should be better". The way I see it there are several mental problems these players have that hinder their production:

    1) Poor work ethic (ie laziness). Eddy Curry is the poster child for this, he could've been a legit franchise player if only he crashed the boards and defended. He was so lazy on court he developed a reputation for having more turnovers than rebs, blocks and steals. Other guys on this list is Shaq (could have been GOAT) and Demarcus Cousins (fought with Sac trainers last year over his conditioning, was the fattest kid ever measured in combine). In some cases the player just doesn't want to play b-ball, and only went pro because he was tall and the money is good. Case in point would be Hasheem Thabeet.

    2) Selfishness-if big men were prone to laziness, guards are prone to becoming ballhogs. Number 1 on my list is the "bonehead trifecta" of AI, Stephon Marbury and Francis, followed by Corey Maggette and Tyreke Evans. I suppose you can put Russell Westbrook on this list too, for some reason he stopped playing team ball in the playoffs and started iso-ing his team to losses.

    3) "Soft" Mentality-these guys could be good players, but refuse to absorb contact. Carlos Boozer, Rudy Gay, Bargnani and Yi Jianlian come to mind. I suppose not playing D also fits here.


    The player right now with the highest upside IMHO is Rudy Gay and Cousins. They're both clearly players who are young and have franchise potential. Not sure if they could overcome their mental problems and be truly great though, aas being a softee and a ****** seems ingrained in their very character.
     
  11. dharocks

    dharocks Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Jun 24, 2003
    Messages:
    9,032
    Likes Received:
    1,969
    That's why I omitted him from the list. I'm a fan. He took a lot of, IMO, unwarranted criticism during the playoffs for shooting too much.
     
  12. A_3PO

    A_3PO Member

    Joined:
    Apr 29, 2006
    Messages:
    42,405
    Likes Received:
    5,803
    Why is Westbrook even mentioned in the thread? You have him listed in a group of underachievers with Hasheem Thabeet, Kwame Brown, J.R. Smith, Marvin Williams and
    Darko Milicic. That doesn't make any sense. He should be listed with Derrick Rose, CP3 and Deron Williams.
     
  13. AFS

    AFS Member

    Joined:
    Dec 1, 2010
    Messages:
    3,776
    Likes Received:
    407
    Baron Davis
     
  14. JayGoogle

    JayGoogle Member

    Joined:
    Nov 3, 2007
    Messages:
    50,207
    Likes Received:
    40,917
    Yeah Baron could have been great.

    How about Rasheed Wallace? He did accomplish a lot in his career but he could have been so much more. He really had no weaknesses as a PF/C. He could step out and shoot, even beyonf 3 point range. Rebound. He could post up offensively and play great post defense, block shots.

    Hasheem is another one, the dude is 7-3 and can barely get minutes. If he can't get minutes next year on a team that desperately needs size.

    Lamar Odom is another guy who has a tremendous skillset but is now basically a roleplayer.
     
  15. KingStevo10

    KingStevo10 Member

    Joined:
    Jun 27, 2009
    Messages:
    3,400
    Likes Received:
    147
    T-Mac?

    Besides from injuries, he was a lazy b*stard :(
     
  16. batkins

    batkins Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Oct 9, 2006
    Messages:
    3,039
    Likes Received:
    1,488
    Emeka Okafor
    Jerryd Bayless
    Hakim Warrick
    Greg Oden
    Von Wafer
     
  17. Mr. Clutch

    Mr. Clutch Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Nov 8, 2002
    Messages:
    46,550
    Likes Received:
    6,131
    Jordan Hill
     
    1 person likes this.
  18. Carl Herrera

    Carl Herrera Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Feb 16, 2007
    Messages:
    45,153
    Likes Received:
    21,570
  19. plutoblue11

    plutoblue11 Member

    Joined:
    Dec 13, 2006
    Messages:
    10,526
    Likes Received:
    1,009
    Andrea Bargnani: He'd easily be all-star, if he could play a ounce more of defense.

    Amar'e Stoudemire
    : Look above, replace all-star with top 5 player or best power forward without question.

    Rudy Gay: Keyword - Unselfishness

    Andrew Bynum: Probably needs to be on a lesser team or a team without Kobe Bryant.

    Brandon Jennings: Shot selections (becoming more willing passer) and defense.

    Retired Players (Who Should've Been Better, excluding players plagued with injuries; retired early; or died prematurely):
    -----------------------------------------------------------------
    Derrick Coleman: For the reasons that have been mentioned before.

    Isiah Rider: Poor attitude KILLED his career.

    Shawn Kemp: Decadence ... he got out of shape; got too women (pregnant); lost his focus; and wasn't even a starting quality player anymore, even though he wasn't terribly old.

    Tom Chambers: He is sort of one of those forgotten All-Stars from talent heavy 80s, probably because he didn't play on premier teams, but Supersonics and Suns were fairly good teams. Chambers was a mediocre defender and could get selfish at times with the ball, he could get wild with his shot selection. One of the best forwards of the 80s, easily.

    Rasheed Wallace: Probably had the game and potential to be easily one of the greatest power forwards ever, though he seemed content in his spot, which isn't necessarily bad on some of the talent-laden teams he played on, like the Pistons and Blazers.
     
  20. PeppermintCandy

    Joined:
    Oct 25, 2009
    Messages:
    4,170
    Likes Received:
    1,606
    Thanks for the link.

    Off topic but Gladwell makes some interesting points about coaching, which IMO relates to the Rockets and the McHale situation. It's a bit long but worth a read.

     

Share This Page

  • About ClutchFans

    Since 1996, ClutchFans has been loud and proud covering the Houston Rockets, helping set an industry standard for team fan sites. The forums have been a home for Houston sports fans as well as basketball fanatics around the globe.

  • Support ClutchFans!

    If you find that ClutchFans is a valuable resource for you, please consider becoming a Supporting Member. Supporting Members can upload photos and attachments directly to their posts, customize their user title and more. Gold Supporters see zero ads!


    Upgrade Now