We have witnessed the rise and the ride of some of the greatest NBA stars within the past decade or so. Many of these amazing stars are still growing in the league. And then some of them… well, contrary. A lot of great professional athletes in the NBA end up falling off at some point in their career. We have seen it occur a plethora of times in all kinds of professional sports. Unfortunately, we witness it nearly every season in the professional basketball. Of course, next season will be no different as far as certain players not bringing to the table what they have in the past.
Some of the greatest basketball players of the 2015-16 season will likely face drastic decreases in stats and/or playing time. The prediction of a player’s future performance can be indicated by a few different things. These properties may include an athlete’s age, off-season transactions, stat patterns, and sometimes even preseason performances.
During this offseason, a multitude of game-quaking transactions were made. These big off-season moves were made for virtually every one of the thirty teams in the NBA. We can expect changes like these to have severe impacts on players’ comfortability, chemistry, and familiarity with the way the game is played. There is no doubt that we can expect to see some of our favorite athletes fall of during the 2016-17 season. Here is a list of 15 amazing NBA athletes that will most likely flop during the season to come.
15. Andre Iguodala
Iguodala has one of the most prominent defensive forces on the Golden State roster throughout the past few years. But aside from his defensive exertion, he also spends a fair amount of energy scoring baskets. This doesn’t fade during playoff situations. As a matter of fact, it amplifies. During his first season with the Warriors, Iguodala averaged 9 points per game through the regular season. However, once the playoffs came around, he averaged more than 13 points per game. Unfortunately, we will probably not be seeing the Andre Iguodala that we are used to seeing. We may even be seeing much of him altogether during the 2016-17 season. The addition of Kevin Durant to Golden State will certainly alter the operation of the team. And it is likely that much less action will be coming from Iguodala, as both players generally fulfill the small forward position. Andre Iguodala is currently averaging 4.3 points per game in the preseason.
14. J.J. Reddick
J.J. Reddick is the reason that the Los Angeles Clippers never have to worry about the point guard position. Anytime that Chris Paul gets hurt, or even just… tired (we get it Chris, you’re old), J.J. Reddick is there to step up. Last season, Reddick had the highest 3-point shot percent accuracy in the league, shooting from the distance at 47.5%. So far in the 2016 preseason, Reddick is scoring a pitiful average of 2 points per game with the Clips. Between having an almost nonexistent presence in the preseason, there are other reasons we will see him fall off this season. Doc Rivers continues to try to familiarize Blake Griffin with sort of controlling the team in a way that compliments Chris Paul. Blake Griffin is averaging nearly 5 assists each game and Chris Paul’s scoring average has been increasing since 2012. Because of this, the need for Reddick to be on the Los Angeles Clippers is slowly diminishing.
13. Jose Calderon
After seven and a half years of development and consistency with Toronto, Calderon was traded to the Detroit Pistons. He played almost 30 games with Detroit where he adapted quickly; increasing his average points and steals per game. He spent the following season in Dallas. While with the Mavericks, Jose Calderon would have one of the best seasons of his career. He averaged almost 5 assists per game, 11 and a half points per game, and scored a total of 925 points in the 2013-14 season. Since Calderon was on the Dallas roster, he has not scored more than 550 points in a season. He since has also not averaged more than 9 points per game in a season. Last season, he averaged just over 7 points per game. Jose Calderon is currently averaging 5 points per game in the preseason with the Los Angeles Lakers, where he recently ended up. It is clear that Calderon is not a good fit for Los Angeles, who already holds plenty of guards.
12. DeMarcus Cousins
Last year, Demarcus Cousins had the best season of his career. And fans can’t help but pay some credit to Rajon Rondo for this. While playing with Cousins and the rest of the Kings during the 2015-16 season, Rondo averaged 11.7 assists per game. It’s no doubt that these assists helped DeMarcus Cousins reach his 30-point per game average through the season. After Rondo’s 1-year contract came to an end, he signed with the Chicago Bulls, who he will be playing with next season. The loss of Rajon Rondo will affect the team as a whole, however, most noticeably in the performance of DeMarcus Cousins. In a 19-point loss against the Los Angeles Lakers, Cousins scored only 11 points. This was less than Tarik Black and Jordan Clarkson who were both more effective from the Los Angeles Bench. It is possible that trade considerations have pushed Cousins to be less motivated on the court.
11. Boris Diaw
The San Antonio Spurs was a great environment for Boris Diaw and it benefitted him greatly. Although he will be able to take some of his skills with him to Utah, he cannot take the chemistry. This past summer, Diaw was involved in a trade that landed him on a team with the Utah Jazz. Him and a future second round draft pick were given to Utah in exchange for Olivier Hanlan. The Utah Jazz currently have Boris Diaw listed as a center, a position that he has never played. Diaw spent his first two professional years playing the shooting guard position. He has since always played as a power forward. It is possible that Diaw could make a decent center under certain circumstances. However, with Utah having little no leadership roles, Diaw will likely fail to highlight his strengths. Players like Tim Duncan and Tony Parker complimented Diaw’s performance. Boris Diaw is averaging 1.5 points per game in the preseason with the Utah Jazz.
10. Carmelo Anthony
The New York Knicks have spent the offseason throwing large amounts of cash in order to get some big names. This includes Derrick Rose and Joakim Noah. To many, these signings indicate that New York is preparing themselves for the inevitable. It is becoming increasingly blatant that Carmelo Anthony has developed a less severe “Allen Iverson” attitude toward his job. During this offseason, Anthony made it verbally clear that he will be content with never winning an NBA championship. With that claim coming from the star himself, he made a pretty shameful decision of giving up on the game. Most fans and team members of Carmelo Anthony’s know that this means they cannot expect his 100 percent effort. Is it only a matter of time before Melo leaves New York for a team that offers him more money? Nonetheless, Carmelo has continued to see a decline in scoring accuracy and points per game for the past 4 years.
9. Rudy Gay
Since the beginning of Rudy Gay’s professional career in the NBA, he has been a productive asset to every team that he becomes a part of. Last year, Rudy Gay averaged 17 points per game. This isn’t bad, but it’s less than he has averaged since his rookie season, which took place a decade ago. With contracts ending and multiple signings, the chemistry of the Sacramento team has been shaken up quite a bit during the offseason. And with that being said, Rudy Gay has never looked more uncomfortable on the court. This year in his first preseason game, against the Lakers, Rudy Gay failed to score more than 8 points. You may think that’s low, but you do not even want to know how poorly he scored against the Warriors. But, let’s just say he is currently averaging only 5 and a half points per game in the preseason.
8. Kevin Love
It is becoming increasingly apparent that Kevin Love does not belong on the Cleveland Cavaliers team. Since Love joined the Cavs in the 2014-15 season, his stats took a significant plummet. And as he stays in Cleveland with the Cavalier roster, Kevin Love only performs worse and worse. Throughout Kevin Love’s career as a Minnesota Timberwolf, he averaged more than 19 points and 12 rebounds per game. During his first season with the Cavs, Love averaged 9.5 rebounds, 2 assists, and 16.5 points per game. This is 3 less rebounds, half as many assists, and almost 10 less than his season prior, spent with Minnesota. The following year proved to be even worse. During the 2015-16 season, Love scored at less than 42% accuracy from the field; a low that he has only reached once before. As long as Kevin Love remains with the Cavs, he will distance himself further and further from his potential.
7. Patrick Beverley
Patrick Beverley is easily one of the most aggressive defending players NBA to play the point guard position. His talents have done a lot for the Houston franchise the past few years, including contribution toward big playoff victories. Last season, Beverley won the 2016 NBA Skills Challenge. In the only preseason game that Patrick Beverley participated in this year, he emulated his playoff performances of last year. To make matters worse, their opposing team was from Shanghai. He only accrued 5 points and 5 assists. This is half of what Harden accomplished during the same game. For the past two games of Houston’s preseason, Beverley has sat out. They are sitting him due to soreness in his left knee. How would this influence the Houston performance, you may ask? It doesn’t! Without Beverley, the Rockets managed to sweep right over the New York Knicks and the New Orleans Pelicans with ease.
6. Mike Miller
Next year, Miller will be spending his second consecutive year with the Denver Nuggets. At many points throughout Miller’s career, it was common for him to drop consistent 3-point shots from either the starting line-up, or the bench. We all know that players don’t exact give their “all” during the preseason… but the guy has not yet scored a single point! He has played a total of less than 11 minutes, now extending into the third game of the Denver preseason. All he has to show for this fraction of time on the court is a rebound and a missed attempt of a 3-ball. Since he left the Washington Wizards in 2010, Miller’s average minutes per game have been around 16. Last season, he averaged less than 10 minutes per game. It will not be surprising if he spends an average of 5 minutes per game on the court next season.
5. Kyle Korver
Kyle Korver was traded to the Atlanta Hawks in 2012 from the Chicago Bulls. Aside from 14 games in his first season with Atlanta, Korver has started during every game in his 4 years with the franchise. However, last season was the 35-year-old’s lowest scoring season since he’s joined the Atlanta roster. Korver averaged less than 10 points each time he played. His game suffered in other categories besides scoring as well. Last season, he averaged 3 rebounds and 2 assists per game. Korver is still on Atlanta’s starting line-up only because he can be interchangeable between positions when players are hurt or tired. However, Atlanta has invested in guards and forwards that replace some of Korver’s strengths. These transactions include the signing of guard Jeff Teague and the resigning of forward Kent Bazemore. Also, signing the cancerous Dwight Howard will drastically infect the chemistry of the Atlanta Hawks. Considering these, among other similar offseason moves, it is very possible the Kyle Korver’s presence will slowly evaporate.
4. Steph Curry
Prior to the 2012-13 season, Curry never averaged more than 18.5 points per game within a season. He had also not averaged more than 6 assists or scored his field goals at more than 49 percent accuracy. Now 7 years into his professional career, Curry has helped lead his team to championships and broken records. It is apparent that Curry has not always been consistent throughout his time in the big league. But a prime example of Curry’s most prominent inconsistencies was his 2016 NBA Finals performance against the Cleveland Cavaliers. During this series, Curry spent some games getting only 11 points or 1 assist. The addition of Kevin Durant to the Golden State roster will pose a burden on the scoring ability of Curry. Durant’s presence provides opportunity for Curry to fully embrace the point guard position, however Curry will not do so. It has become clear that Curry is a scoring point guard, and Kevin Durant will likely suppress his strengths. In the preseason, Curry is averaging 11 points and 4 assists per game.
3. Brook Lopez
In 2008, when the Nets were still in New Jersey, they used their 10th overall draft pick on Brook Lopez. Since then, Lopez and done great justice for the franchise, with a career scoring average of more than 18 points per game. Between Devin Harris, Deron Williams, and Jarrett Jack, Lopez has always been privileged with decent assisting point guards. Each of these points guards has averaged at least 7 assists per game with Brook Lopez and the Nets. The new point guard for the Brooklyn Nets has never averaged more than 6 assists per game in a season. This even includes when he started a full season while sharing offensive interaction with the talents of James Harden. Jeremy Lin is now the second-highest paid player on the Nets, after Brook Lopez. This was a mistake because Jeremy Lin has become a liability to the center position before. Aside from roster changes, Brooklyn has also named Kenny Atkinson coach.
2. Trey Burke
Next season, Trey Burke will be backing up John Wall at the point guard position with the Washington Wizards. Burke was traded during the offseason from Utah, where he had been playing since the beginning of his NBA career. Trey Burke’s freshman and sophomore performances both resulted in averages of almost 13 points per game. However, during his junior season he only averaged 10 and a half points per game. Also, his assists, rebounds, and steals nearly halved from his sophomore to his junior season. Now, Burke will be spending the 2016-17 season playing from the bench of the Washington Wizards. This will be the first time in Trey Burke’s professional career that he will not regularly be a part of the starting line-up. Although this trade hardly alters the roster of the Wizards, it will impose harsh punishment on the performance of Burke as well as the Utah team.
1. Steve Adams
Steve Adams was selected in the 2013 NBA draft at the 12th overall pick by the Oklahoma City Thunder. He has spent his first 3 professional season in Oklahoma City where he’s remained consistent in scoring, blocking, and rebounding. The seven-footer will be starting as the center position for his third consecutive season. One of the most game-quaking moves in this off-season was Kevin Durant joining the Golden State Warriors. This transaction will have a tremendous effect on the entire team, but it will lay extra heavy on Steve Adams. Although Kevin Durant played small forward in Oklahoma, Adams will be left with less help in the paint. Throughout Adams’ entire professional experience, the presence of 7 foot Durant has benefited from the development and aggression in him. Without Kevin Durant, it is very possible that many facets of the Oklahoma City performance will deteriorate. Only one game played in the preseason, Adams has accrued 7 points and a rebound.
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