In light of debuting Time to Get Started, today we're talking expectations.
Who is your favorite "failed to live up to expectations" player?
Franklin Mieuli: Ike Diogu. In small sample sizes this guy was great, snagging offensive rebounds and playing a decidedly effective under the basket offensive game. He was only the number 9 pick out of Arizona State, not a traditional basketball powerhouse, so it's not like he was expected to set the world on fire, but his inability to figure out how to defender quicker, taller 4's killed him.
Jacob Greenberg: Larry Hughes. The Warriors traded for him in 2000, and for awhile, he was marketed as the future face of the franchise. And for good reason, too; he was a high draft pick who was thought of as AI's potential running mate in Philly, but like most potential running mates for AI, didn't work out. The Warriors seemed like a perfect place to blossom. But developing young players in Golden State is like planting flowers in concrete. Sure, Hughes put up solid numbers, had an All-Star year in Washington, and set himself apart as an elite defender for a couple of years. He was even thought of as a major free agent coup when he left the Wizards for the Cavs. But injuries, questionable attitude, and really, just a bevy of swingmen who could do what he did, better, and less injured, hastened his departure from the league.
Kenji Spielman: The Stache, Adam Morrison. (Favorite to enjoy that they are somewhat in the league, not that they were really any good at basketball and the entirety of their expectations seem to have been based upon their whiteness)
Andrew Snyder: Well after the Celtics signed Darko maybe I should change my mind, but for now I'm going to have to go with Wes Johnson. I have never seen a top 5 pick with less confidence in himself, and while I hope a change of scenery does him well... KKKAAAAHHHNNNNN!
Which player that has failed to live up to expectations do you think will make a breakthrough this year?
Franklin Mieuli: Evan Turner. He should good plenty of run at either shooting guard (Jason Richardson) or small forward (Thaddeus Young) with Andre Igoudala gone, and he has a legitimate center to protect from any defensive lapses. He may not live up to his number 2 pick draft status, but I think he'll have a good year.
Jacob Greenberg: I'm feeling good about Tyreke Evans, even if he's not with the Kings. When he won Rookie of the Year in 2010, he did so by portraying himself as a mini-LeBron, and became the first rookie since LeBron to average 20, 5 and 5. His next two seasons saw his numbers decline as he spent time at three different positions (and with two completely different coaching staffs) to the point where we're wondering if he's something of a bust. News flash: anyone who's averaging 17, 5 and 4 in a "bad year" is not a bust. This season, he's got a clearly defined role as the Kings starting small forward, and will be asked to do what he does best: score from the perimeter and get to the line. The Kings may not be great this year, but they will be improved, and Reke could be a major reason why. If they blow it up (and considering the shoestring budget Geoff Petrie's on, this is not terribly likely), Reke will find a home elsewhere.
Kenji Spielman: Push. Have to do a little more research to find someone who fulfills criteria from the last question. OK. How about O.J. Mayo? Actually decent, probably going to put up good numbers with Dallas. The "breakthrough" will be that he gets more press attention and plays with good players around him.
Andrew Snyder: Michael Beasley + SSOL = guaranteed success.
Which player that has failed to live up to expectations have you given up on ever succeeding?
Franklin Mieuli: Andrea Bargnani. How does a dude that stands 7 feet tall snag less than 6 rebounds a game and only half a block a game? Sure he takes a bunch of threes, but last year it was only 3.7 a game out of 15.6 shots. Compare that with, say, Ryan Anderson, who shot 12.4 times a game, 6.9 of them being threes, yet still managed to snag 7.7 rebounds a game playing most of the season next to the Rebound Machine that is Dwight Howard. Oh yeah, and Bargnani is terrible on defense.
Jacob Greenberg: I don't have to care about Brandan Wright anymore, and I don't. He can be amazing in limited minutes, but his body seems to fall apart if he's tasked with playing over 20 minutes per game. There's no reason the starting center spot in Dallas shouldn't be his, considering his competition is older, slower and less athletic than him. But I've largely given up on B-Wright showing me why he was worth trading the closest thing the Warriors had to a franchise player way back on Draft Day in 2007.
Kenji Spielman: Marvin Williams. Hmm. This may be too late. OK. Jimmer. Yeah. Jimmer.
Andrew Snyder: Just kidding about Beasley. I don't think he's ever going to "figure it out," simply because he's already too good, but apparently lacking the drive to get to an entirely subjective "next level." When Kevin Garnett retires, he should really start a summer camp for guys like Beas, Andray Blatche, Brandan Wright etc and break them down, build them up, and turn it into the Hard Knocks of the NBA offseason. A man can dream, right?
When a player finally "gets it", what happens?
Franklin Mieuli: No clue. If we knew the answer to this question, we would probably know why they don't get it, and be able to correct the problem.
Jacob Greenberg: I really think it's based on professional fit. Many of us can remember getting our first "grown up job" and having many behaviors that most thought to be "immature" fade into the background as we tried to convince our employers and colleagues that we were a worthy investment. I think a player "gets it" when they feel supported in their jobs, and can rely on their career to not only provide money, but also a safe space to get away from personal issues that can be distracting.
Kenji Spielman: Nine times out of ten a player "gets it" by having better teammates and more touches. Case in point: LaMarcus Aldridge. His per minute/per possession stats haven't changed that much from his early years, but now he is considered amazing. Don't get me wrong, his game is great to watch, but how much of that was related to getting easy lobs from Andre Miller and lots more touches because Roy was out?
Andrew Snyder: Confidence. Swag. Getting buckets. For me, I watched Avery Bradley "get it" for the Celtics and figure out exactly the role he needed to fill on the team, and proceed to execute it perfectly until shoulder injuries knocked him out just in time to not shut down Dwyane Wade in the ECF. I'd define getting it that way - figuring out how to consistently fill a role and excel in it.