PER tells us that he's one of the most inefficient basketball players in the game today, even if you'd love to have him on your fantasy team. Yes, he puts up big numbers, but they're entirely context based. He led the league in minutes played last year while taking more than 20 shots per game for Golden State's prolific offense, so of course he averaged two dozen points per game. With Stephen Curry, David Lee, and Dorell Wright flanking him he should have been racking up assists left and right, but he's a volume shooter who's never averaged more than six assists per game. Comparable to Russell Westbrook, he's a shoot first, pass later point guard who piles up some impressive stats but can't be the centerpiece of a team. Now he's in Milwaukee with the plodding Bucks, and predictably his numbers have taken a hit as he struggles to get comfortable in his new digs. It will be interesting to see how he adapts to a team that stresses defense and employs a fellow chucker in point guard Brandon Jennings. They're essentially the same player, so we'll find out if they can coexist throughout the remainder of the season.
Honorable Mention: Ricky Rubio-flashy passes mask the fact that he's an atrocious shooter
SG Tyreke Evans
The third year King is more of a combo guard who can also play some small forward because of his size (six-six and 220 pounds), but the fact remains that he's an atrocious three-point shooter. He's hit less than 26 percent of his attempts from beyond the arc and is down to 21.3 percent this year. At that rate, don't even bother shooting threes unless you're so wide open that you could drop the ball, lace up your Nikes, pick the ball back up and still have a wide open look. Shooting guards need to spread the floor by sinking threes, so Evans hurts his team by being deficient in this category. Now that would be okay if he knocked down a good amount of his field goals, say 46 percent (which he did as a rookie), but he hit just 41 percent last year and rates as a subpar shooter. I feel like the 2010 Rookie of the Year is not getting the most out of his potential. This is a guy who averaged over 20 points, five boards and five dimes per game in his first season, numbers he's capable of putting up every night on a crummy team like the Kings (even with Jimmer Fredette jacking up shots and Marcus Thornton sharing the scoring load). But he hasn't been able to improve on his promising debut, doesn't do anything exceptionally well and has taken a step back in several areas. Bill Simmons once said that nobody compiles empty stats like Evans, meaning that his contributions look good in the box score but do little to help his team win. Ironicallly those well-rounded stat lines mimic those of Andre Iguodala. Evans, just 22, is still a work in progress, so he's someone to watch as he works his way back from a sprained ankle.
Honorable Mention: O.J. Mayo-A great start to his career has been diminished by back to back subpar seasons
SF Carmelo Anthony
'Melo is having a down season across the board, and his struggles/injuries have played a big part in New York's disappointing performance prior to Head Coach Mike D'Antoni's stepping down. Anthony has always been a premier scorer, but his plummeting field goal and three point percentages have caused his scoring average to dip over 20 percent, from 25.6 points per game last season to an even 20 points per game this year (but hasn't dropped more than 17 since D'Antoni's departure). He's shooting a woeful 40 percent from the floor and 29.3 percent from downtown, both below career norms, and the typically prolific free throw shooter isn't getting to the line as much, either; his 6.3 attempts per game represent a career low and are a far cry from the 8.9 attempts he averaged during his last full season in a Denver uniform. His assists are up, but almost everything else would be the worst or second-worst figure of his career. To be fair, his 33.3 minutes per game are lowest of his career and he's been banged up, but his numbers have declined two straight years now. The Knicks need him to be better than this if they want to hold on to their playoff slot. He's been up and down this year, but if he settled down over this final month while the Knicks get hot then everyone will remember why New York looked like a legit contender prior to the season.
Honorable Mention: Luol Deng-was so underrated that he's become overrated. Didn't deserve to make the All-Star squad, and his numbers aren't impressive for someone who logs nearly 40 minutes per game
|Like most New York athletes, these guys are overrated|
His statistical dropoff this year resembles the one Chris Bosh suffered last year in his underwhelming debut with the Miami Heat. But everyone knew Bosh's numbers would take a hit playing alongside superstar scorers Dwyane Wade and LeBron James; STAT should still be getting his numbers on a team with only one other major scoring threat--the aforementioned Anthony. Their games just aren't compatible with each other because both need the ball in their hands and prefer to go one-on-one in isolation. Anthony is notorious for holding the ball and slowing the offense down. Neither can pass particularly well, which is unfortunate for Stoudemire because he is lethal coming off the pick and roll or pick and pop. That's why he thrived with the elite distributor known as Steve Nash in Phoenix, but New York lacks a true point guard (sorry Jeremy Lin) that sets up his teammates, and his offense is suffering. All of his numbers are down. He's taking five fewer shots and two-and-a-half fewer free throws per game, so it's no surprise that his scoring average has plunged nearly eight points per game, from 25.3 to 17.6. His shooting percentage (.477-very mediocre for a power forward) is below 50 percent for the first time since 2003-2004, when he was a 21 year-old sophomore. The Knicks are too top-heavy and don't have enough depth to pick up the slack for him, so he needs to get it together ASAP. Tyson Chandler can't be counted on to be a frontcourt scorer; that's what the team is paying Stoudemire for. He doesn't provide much on defense, and almost all of his value is tied into what he can do on offense, so he can't afford to see his scoring average fall by roughly 30 percent.
Honorable Mention: David West-has been very disappointing in his Pacers debut, clearly benefitted from playing alongside Chris Paul in New Orleans
C Brook Lopez
He's currently sidelined with an ankle injury, and I feel bad kicking him while he's down, but here goes. For a seven footer, his rebounding numbers are absolutely abysmal. After grabbing more than eight rebounds a night during his first two seasons, he hauled in just six boards per game last year and was averaging a meager 3.6 rebounds in the five games he played this year. Now something just doesn't add up there--either he's not hitting the glass or he can't get good interior position, but when you're that tall you should be close to double digits in that department. For the love of God, his twin brother Robin Lopez barely plays and still gets 3.1 rebounds per game (unfortunately the talent chasm there is much greater than the one between Marc Gasol and Pau Gasol). Brook's rebounding numbers and scoring have gone in the opposite direction, so I think he's just putting too much energy into his offense and, as a result, is slacking on the boards. And can you blame him? People are always impressed by high scoring averages, and he's got them with 20.4 points per game last season and 17.4 for his career. But don't be fooled; they're a byproduct of playing for a terrible team and being the only true frontcourt scoring option on said team. His field goal percentage has hovered between 49 and 50 percent over the past three seasons, which doesn't compare well with other centers. His unique combination of size, rebounding ineptitude, and inflated scoring averages reminds me a lot of Andrea Bargnani sans the three-pointers. He'll be 24 on Sunday, so he's still young enough that he could improve and potentially learn a thing or two from teammate Kris Humphries. He has to reverse this troubling rebound trend, even if it costs him a few points per game.
Honorable Mention: DeAndre Jordan-athletic freak and monster shot blocker, but he's a black hole on offense. Can't hit free throws, doesn't pass well and probably won't score unless it's a put-back or alley-oop