As we approach the All-Star break and the midway point of the NBA regular season, it’s time to take a look at the most frustrating players thus far. Whether these players were barred by injuries, pampered by new contracts, or just having an off year, there is always plenty of frustrating and disappointing players around the league. This year, there just happens to be more Hall of Famers and MVPs than usual.
10. Harrison Barnes – While H.B. is only in his second year and has found himself in a new bench role for the Golden State Warriors, he still has not produced anywhere near what the Warriors faithful expected. After a spectacular playoff run, coming into this season Barnes was thought to be the Warriors’ strength off of the bench, backing up newly acquired Andre Iguodala. This has been far from the truth. Even though a majority of Barnes’ numbers have slightly improved, he is still having little impact on a team that is desperate for some bench scoring. He has reached the 20-point mark just three times this season and his scoring average has dropped each month. Luckily for Barnes and the Warriors, he is still just 21 years old.
9. Jeff Green – The breakout year that never was. Every time I watch the Boston Celtics forward play I see a different result. Last week he scored 39 points and grabbed nine rebounds in Washington. Two days later he scored just eight points and grabbed only one rebound while hosting Brooklyn. And that about sums Jeff Green’s season up. So much talent and he’s averaging just 16 points per game while shooting a career low 42 percent.
8. Jarrett Jack/Anthony Bennett/Andrew Bynum – After having a career year in Golden State last season, Jack was thought to be a huge free-agent signing by the Cleveland Cavaliers. The combo of Kyrie Irving and Jack at point guard along with the number one overall draft pick in Anthony Bennett and the roll of the dice on Andrew Bynum was supposed to propel Cleveland to its first playoff berth since the LeBron era. But the trio of offseason additions has not produced much. Jack’s consistency and veteran leadership have been unstable to say the least, Anthony Bennett has been in and out of the D-League and scored in double figures for just the first time in his career this week, and Andrew Bynum is out of basketball. Luckily for the Cavs, the acquisition of Luol Deng may be just enough to cause amnesia throughout Cleveland.
7. Kevin Garnett – Poor K.G. It’s hard to believe that he’s averaging just three made field goals per game. Father Time wins every time, even against the baddest dudes in the game. But even though the Big Ticket’s numbers are down, you know he has still helped that Brooklyn Nets locker room change their season around. Let’s not forget that K.G., much like Paul Pierce, knows that the real season doesn’t start until the playoffs. We all saw it too many times in Boston. You just can’t count those guys out. There’s more than one reason why K.G. is only averaging 22 minutes per game.
6. Deron Williams – Part of the “NBA All-Injured Team,” Williams may finally be getting back into form. A few weeks ago it would have been easy to sit here and throw out some D-Will slander. But now that the Nets are one of the hottest teams in the league, he is kind of off the hook. He went from being the brunt of the Nets failures to part of the discussion of whether or not he should even start for this team anymore. For Jason Kidd, it’s hard to change a good thing with the resurgent Shaun Livingston and Joe Johnson in your backcourt. Plus, Williams has been effective off the bench while averaging around 30 minutes per game. But can J-Kidd continue to bench one of his star players? Tough coaching decisions like this are why the Nets hired a man with so much coaching experience … Oh, wait.
5. Dwyane Wade – D. Wade is already too old to play in back-to-backs, but not too old to be an All-Star starter … I guess. He is averaging under 20 points per game for the first time since his rookie year but is also shooting a career high from both the field (54 percent) and beyond the arc (40 percent). The 32-year-old has the knees of an octogenarian. Fortunately for him, he has LeBron James to carry the Miami Heat to the playoffs. Actually, LeBron could carry them all the way to the Eastern Conference Finals. See you there, Dwyane!
4. Kobe Bryant – Another member of the “NBA All-Injured Team” and the “Race Against Father Time Squad.” The most disappointing thing about Kobe’s injuries is the fact that we have to watch the worst Los Angeles Lakers team of my lifetime on national television every week. And even though the Lakers are tanking, whether they are trying to or not, Kobe will still return this season and win them just enough games to lose their chance at a top five pick on top of already financially handicapping them due to his ridiculous contract extension. But then again, not everyone is Kobe Bean Bryant.
3. Ricky Rubio – Unfathomable that a player who controls the ball for a majority of the game is scoring just 8.5 points per game. His 35 percent field-goal percentage doesn’t help. Rubio has been held scoreless twice this season and has scored in double figures in just 17 of his 45 games. But still, let’s not call another of the Minnesota Timberwolves a bust! It’s not nice! It’s only a matter of time before Kevin Love packs his bags and heads West, and that’s what makes Rubio so disappointing to me.
2. Josh Smith – I recently read a Deadspin article entitled, “Is Josh Smith The Worst Three-Point Shooter Of All Time?” It’s pretty tough to find enough evidence to prove otherwise. Smith signed a generous four-year, $54 million contract with the Detroit Pistons this offseason. In return Smith has shot a whopping 23 percent from beyond the arc. But what’s more impressive is the fact that he continues to confidently hoist up three-ball after three-ball as if he’s Jesus Shuttlesworth. He’s also shooting an underwhelming 41 percent from the field and 58 percent from the free-throw line. Without even getting into Brandon Jennings, the Pistons are a mess. But didn’t everyone see this coming?
1. Derrick Rose – There is nothing more to be said about the captain of the “NBA All-Injured Team” that hasn’t already been beat over our heads. I think it’s time to leave the poor guy alone. That is, until he starts talking about how he “won’t rule himself out of the playoffs” again.
Honorable Mention: The New York Knicks