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On this list, you will find some of the biggest names in the NBA. These guys are the best of the best, the premier players in the league. They all have something that proves their greatness, ranging from All-Star appearances to MVP awards, and most will likely end up in the NBA Hall of Fame once their careers are over. Despite their resumes, however, these are also the players that may be prone to a down year this season.
This list may get me in trouble. Okay, this list will definitely get me in trouble with quite a few people, but the signs are there. Age, injuries, attitudes, there are many factors that could contribute to these players that have become staples of the NBA having a down year. Without further adieu, here are the five biggest names that could suffer a letdown this season.
5. Josh Smith, Detroit Pistons: Why is Josh Smith considered a star again? Yes, the big man can play some great defense Yes, his skill set suggests that he should be a very formidable offensive player. But his Achilles heel, and the very reason why he is one of the most overrated players in the game today, is his terrible jump shot that he is in love with.
If the Pistons had plans to try and fix his poor shot selection, he would not be on this list. But that doesn’t seem to be in the works, as talented big men Greg Monroe and Andre Drummond will both be handling the duties on the inside, seemingly setting Josh Smith free to shoot bricks to his heart’s content. Bad jump shot, bad fit, gonna be a bad time in Detroit.
4. Carmelo Anthony, New York Knicks:
Despite the 2013 season having yet to even kick off, Carmelo Anthony already seems focused on his impending free agency in 2014. Anthony has stated during a recent press conference that he will be testing free agency, seemingly setting up his exit from the team he spent years trying to get traded to.
With JR Smith being suspended and Amare Stoudemire still battling injuries that sidelined him most of last year, Anthony’s mind may wander further and further from this season with the Knicks, and on to his next contract and city. That is not a good thing for a team that expected a ring when they made the blockbuster trade for ‘Melo in 2011.
3. Paul Pierce/Kevin Garnett, Brooklyn Nets: When the Brooklyn Nets completed a blockbuster trade that netted them Boston Celtics legends Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce, many called the starting five of Pierce, Garnett, Deron Williams, Brook Lopez, and Joe Johnson the most talented starting five ever. While that may be true on paper, getting these personalities to coexist on the court is a completely different animal.
Joe Johnson has been living off of his name for some time now, and Pierce and Garnett are on their last legs as starting caliber players. The main issue here will be getting these guys to coexist, which will be incredibly difficult considering the combined 35 All-Star appearances between the starting lineup and a rookie head coach who would be more suited to be Deron Williams back up in Jason Kidd. The Nets gave up the farm for Pierce and Garnett, and I just don’t see them having the kind of impact that was expected when the Nets gave up everything to get them.
2. Dwight Howard, Houston Rockets: Nobody is denying that Dwight Howard is an elite player. Nobody is denying that he is the best center in the game and any NBA team would love to have a player of his skill on their roster. But on that note, nobody can deny that Dwight Howard is a ticking time bomb at this point in his NBA career.
The troubled center has feuded with coaches, owners, and teammates throughout the past few years, and has strong-armed his way out of two teams in two years due solely to the fact that he did not get his way. That is not the kind of guy you want to build your team around, and unfortunately the Rockets seem to be set on doing just that.
Houston may very well succeed with Dwight Howard this season, but if history is any indicator of things, Howard will eventually find something or someone he doesn’t like and it will all go downhill from there.
1. Kobe Bryant, Los Angeles Lakers: This pick scares me. Every time I have counted Kobe out, he has come back with a vengeance. He is the closest thing mankind has ever seen to indestructible, and the fact that he will play early on this season months after suffering that Achilles’ Heel tear is outstanding. But almost nothing is on his side this time, and I have to believe that the Lakers as a championship contender led by Kobe Bryant are done.
Even if the injury didn’t happen, this Lakers team is one that is devoid of talent. You have Kobe Bryant, Pau Gasol who may be on his way out the door when the trade deadline rolls around, Steve Nash’s corpse who is set to retire after this season, and after that you have… Wesley Johnson? Chris Kaman? Nick Young? Like I said, devoid of talent.
I c0uld be wrong about this whole thing. Kobe Bryant may in fact come back better than ever and lead this rag tag group of misfits to the playoffs and have a memorable year. What is more likely to happen though is we begin to see the end of the Kobe Bryant era, as Kobe struggles to come back from injury and struggles even more to carry this hapless squad on his shoulders.
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