Blogtable: A Struggling Star

Each week, we’ll ask our stable of scribes to weigh in on the three most important NBA topics of the day — and then give you a chance to step on the scale, too, in the comments below.


Week 14: Has it clicked for the Lakers? | A healthy star who’s struggling | Clips without CP3


Give me a healthy player who has not met your high standards so far?

Steve Aschburner: Rudy Gay has heard his name bandied about enough already via the trade rumors, so I’m going with Indiana’s Roy Hibbert. The big fella remains vital to the Pacers’ defense, but this is his fifth season and he was supposed to continue his onward-and-upward trajectory offensively and overall. His shooting is down (41.4 percent vs. 48.1 through last season) and 9.8 ppg and 8.2 rebounds just doesn’t cut it. Each summer, Hibbert gets a lot of attention for his intense workouts — one year tutored by Bill Walton, the next embracing an MMA regimen. It all needs to translate better to what really counts.

Fran BlineburyErsan Ilyasova has not lived up to his payday. Kawhi Leonard has not stepped up to the next level. But it’s still Deron Williams who has yet to fulfill the expectations the Nets want and need. Though he has kicked his game up in recent weeks under P.J. Carlesimo, his horrid shooting and an assist average that is his lowest since his rookie season were major factors in getting Avery Johnson fired. After complaining his way out of Utah, Williams has not shown the the maturity to be handed the keys to a playoff-contending offense and, for all intents and purposes, the Nets franchise. That’s evidenced by his being left off the Eastern Conference All-Star team when a spot on the roster practically had his named engraved on it in October.

Jeff CaplanPau Gasol‘s the easy answer here or even the continuing underachieving ways of Michael Beasley. But, I’m going to go with a guy that I thought would have a pretty good year in Dallas and that’s center Chris Kaman. He signed a one-year, $8 million deal to play next to Dirk Nowitzki — they were teammates on the German National team in the 2008 Olympics — and although his stats aren’t terrible (12.4 ppg, 6.2 rpg), he’s averaging just 23.7 mpg (fewer than only his rookie season) and has been in and out of coach Rick Carlisle‘s doghouse. Most recently Kaman was removed from the starting lineup in favor of little-used rookie center Bernard James. In a season in which Kaman, seemingly perpetually injured, missed just his third game of the season on Tuesday after sustaining a concussion during Monday’s practice, he’s finding it hard to stay on the floor due to production. Defense has been at the root of the issue for Carlisle. Kaman’s been a sieve and next to Nowitzki it doesn’t make for a sturdy combination.

Jeff Green, by Brian Babineau/NBAE via Getty Images

Jeff Green, by Brian Babineau/NBAE via Getty Images

Scott Howard-CooperDeron Williams. He has been much better the last few weeks, but after two underachieving months. D-Will has not shot the ball well most of the season, an obvious problem. His assists were way down for a while as well. But the biggest problem is that he hasn’t looked like a star point guard who wants the responsibility of being a franchise player. Williams has too often played like someone who didn’t want the burden of expectations.

John Schuhmann: When Jeff Green defends LeBron James as well as he did on Sunday, it just makes me wonder why he can’t make an impact like that every night. Green has all the tools — length, athleticism, a decent shooting stroke — to be a very good player on both ends of the floor. He’s shown flashes of being the player the Celtics need him to be, both offensively and defensively. And the opportunity is certainly there for him to be one of the most important bench players in the league. But there hasn’t been any consistency from game to game, quarter to quarter, or possession to possession, whether he’s playing in OKC or Boston. Maybe I’m overestimating his potential or maybe he just doesn’t have the drive to maximize it.

Sekou SmithAndre Iguodala in Denver. And he might just be a victim of my own overblown expectation of what he would do with the Nuggets. After an All-Star season and a gold medal-winning summer at the Olympics, the news of Iguodala going to the Denver in that Dwight Howard mega-deal had me thinking he’d show up there and continue his All-Star-caliber play. But he joined a team with catalysts (Ty Lawson and Danilo Gallinari) already in place. Iguodala isn’t playing poorly by any stretch. The Nuggets are rolling, too, with him playing his role. Still, he hasn’t had nearly the impact I (and plenty of other people who picked the Nuggets in the preseason as the No. 2 team in the Western Conference) expected him to have on this team.

29 Comments

  1. Dave G. says:

    Deron hasn’t been great, but Avery J. got himself fired with an unimaginative iso-style offense, a stubborness not to adjust, and horrible in-game rotations (i.e. giving big minutes to Jerry Stackhouse).

  2. babilicious says:

    Iguodala’s stats r down this year clearly cuz of the team way of playing..carl is clever guy,he knows that when the play off will come adre will be the leader so he rotates him more now so to keep the enthusiasm in a good grade..the same thing happened with memphis and mark gasol 2 years ago..he s a key player no doupt..steve nash play is hypotonic this year maybe he really got old,and i think he and dirk r the stars that have nt shown their real talent yet this year..i dont say anything for deron cuz his behavior this year was too bad to criticise..if he wants nets play good and his way he should be a coach and get the f out of the team..

  3. Gillsy says:

    Jeff Green I don’t agree is having that bad a year. You have to remember he had last yaer off and will take some tome. the worst part is when he starts to show some game, Doc subs him out. Terry looks old. Iggy is the type of player who does lots of small things that don’t come up on stats sheets and the Nuggets are really starting to motor. I do agree Roy Hibbert for his pay cheque is a disapontment.

  4. rafa says:

    lebron james doesn’t met my expectations and they are great.

  5. me says:

    JT
    Jeff Green
    don’t care bout the rest, however I will say that Beasley has underperformed
    Additional: Kemba walker and John wall, I expect more from these two

  6. My List says:

    Roy Hibbert
    Michael Beasley
    Jeff Green
    Jason Terry
    Jeremy Lin

    They all need to take it up a notch.

    Celtics need a better system for Green. He’s not James Posey, and Jason Terry looks like he’s ready to retire.

    Roy Hibbert is pure garbage to me. He’s the only 7 footer that cant seal his man to post up, and he’s flat footed.

    Jeremy Lin has struggled, but he’ll be okay after this year

    Michael Beasley needs to get to the free throw line and stop shooting all those damned jumpers. ( Play like James Harden)

  7. BlackTim says:

    I must say that i agree with all the comments that Iggy is def not a bust and that deron def is. Nuggets have won 17 of their last 21 games and a lot of that is them gelling as a team as players like Iggy find their role. Look at their tough schedule at the beginning of the year and you’ll see why their not in 2nd place in the west. IF they can keep playing the way they are they will be top 3 for sure (a home friendly schedule for the rest of the season sure will help them achieve that).

  8. Megan says:

    Igoudalla is perfect for Denver and I hope he dosn’t get tradded to a different team!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :)

  9. Line Araz says:

    if denver is number 2 team, number 1 is the lakers? hahhahahha

  10. amit says:

    I like the way the cavs youngsters are playing so I would have to go with Patrick Patterson on this one

  11. SaYO says:

    HECK NO, ANDRE IS A OVERRATED PLAYER MAN, WHAT DOES HE DO THAT THAT MAKES HIM BETTER THAN THE AVERAGE?? HE HAS A NICE OVERALL GAME THATS ALLLL, NOT GOOD NOT GREAT, JUST NICE.. HES SHOOTING FAILY POOR AS WELL IF YOU LOOK AT HIS STATS AND WATCH HIS GAMES, WAS NICE WHEN HE WAS PUTTING UP 18-19 P/GAME BUT NOW, HES JUST AN OVERRATED PLAYER

  12. Chacodamus says:

    Kind of a Catch-22 type of question… there are a lot of the underachieving star players who are “injured”- or at least that is what they are leading people to believe. It’s easy to say “my back hurts” when you’re losing games..I’m looking at you DWIGHT!!!

  13. Chacodamus says:

    Kind of a Catch-22 type of question… a lot of the underachieving star players who are “injured”.. or at least that is what they are leading people to believe. It’s easy to say “my back hurts” when you’re losing games..I’m looking at you DWIGHT!!!

  14. kevin nicholls INDIANAPOLIS says:

    These players are not superstars players and last time i checked there teams are in the playoff hunt, Hibbert is just playing his game in the pacers system he has other players who he can lean on that are making plays, dont always excpect players to transform there game every season hes playing good, and if you take him off the team then you would really see his worth, the pacers would not be were there at with out him.

    • dattebayo says:

      Maybe you need to check that Gold Swagger again, it seems to be clouding your judgment. Nobody is saying that Hibbert doesn’t have any value for the Pacers, but he is their highest paid player and he doesn’t produce enough for an 8 figure salary. 41% from the field is pathetic for a starting center in the NBA, let alone someone who is 7-2. Paul George gets almost as many rebounds and that dude plays 8 more minutes.

      Do you really think Indiana will make noise in the playoffs, unless Hibbert ups his game? Points, FG%, freethrows, rebounds…

  15. eazyyy says:

    iggy a let down? disappointment? haa i watch nuggs games all the time cause im from denver. iggy has flirted with triple doubles all season. if he wanted to score 20 to 25 a night then he’s gotta make free throws. haa dont forget he is coming to a new system and new coach that depend on all its players like a team in a deep roster. haa people need to get their INFO better!

  16. op says:

    Iguodala and old Dre Miller are the reason why the Nuggets are playing with such confidence….Their veteran leadership(Miller), impact to perfection at both ends(Iggy) and unquestionable unselfishness and ability to lead the franchise i think will really help Denver to make some noise till the end of the regular season and at least be a top 4 western team going to the postseason…

  17. Joe Cervone says:

    Working his way into the Nuggets system with patience is just another attribute of his intelligent approach to the game. Andre himself says that he feels he’s improving at finding his strengths within the team concept, and his daily improvement in contributions (he was named played of the game against the Pacers Monday night) illustrates his ability to be versatile. He’s really only “struggling” from the free throw line. Remember: his historical strengths are as a facilitator and defensive weapon. Now he’s becoming an inside offensive threat and honing his mid-to-long range jumper. He’s incredibly intelligent, well spoken and dedicated to the team concept. He’ll do very well here in Denver.

  18. Kamote says:

    Deron – still a top 5 PG? Rose would’ve ranked higher even if he isnt playing. Jarret Jack is more impressive.

    Terry – I know he’s older. But filling in the Ray Allen void, he ain’t even close. I’m for the C’s, and I really hope he’d step up now that they lost Rondo.

    Howard – through all the drama last year, and you are now in LAL (where most players dream to be in). you ARE THE BEST CENTER in the league, act like one.

    Love – you ain’t playing, and you’re having problems with Minny management. This just ain’t your year.

    Lowry – Calderon has been starting for more than a month since you are healthy. I thought they plan to trade him?

    Lin – everyone knows you’re overpaid because of the market you bring to Houston. But still, be the #2 guy behind Harden.

    Gordon – After all the wait, Vasquez has been NO’s man.

    Beasley – always teasing bro. don’t be like Darko.

    Amare – now where’s that Dream Shake you want to show everyone?

    Collison – Fish has to retire for you to claim your starting spot.
    :)

  19. dattebayo says:

    Struggling Stars, huh? That ought to be Hibbert, Williams, Johnson and Gay. All these guys have enough talent to be perennial Allstars, they get paid exquisitely and yet they all struggle to put the ball in the basket. Hibbert actually needs 9.9 shot attempts to score 9.8 points on 41% from the field, Gay is shooting 40% and Williams and Johnson are not much better at 41% and 42% from the field.
    Blinebury is a joke, calling Kawhi Leonard underachieving. SMH

  20. Kamote says:

    Deron – still a top 5 PG? Rose would’ve ranked higher even if he isnt playing. Jarret Jack is more impressive.

    Terry – I know he’s older. But filling in the Ray Allen void, he ain’t even close. I’m for the C’s, and I really hope he’d step up now that they lost Rondo.

    Howard – through all the drama last year, and you are now in LAL (where most players dream to be in). you ARE THE BEST CENTER in the league, act like one.

    Love – you ain’t playing, and you’re having problems with Minny management. This just ain’t your year.

    Lowry – Calderon has been starting for more than a month since you are healthy. I thought they plan to trade him?

    Lin – everyone knows you’re overpaid because of the market you bring to Houston. But still, be the #2 guy behind Harden.

    Gordon – After all the wait, Vasquez has been NO’s man.

    Beasley – always teasing bro. don’t be like Darko.

    Amare – now where’s that Dream Shake you want to show everyone?

    Collison – Fish has to retire for you to claim your starting spot.

  21. Kings#4 says:

    I have never been to impressed with Deron Williams, and he is really having a bad year, he isn’t worth what he is getting paid and he is not in the top tier PG’s in the league this year. I believe leaving him out of the All Star Game was the right decision.

  22. steppx says:

    The question is UNDERACHIEVING. Iguodala is not doing that. To compare him or Leonard…guys who are having good years and doing what is asked of them with busts like hibbert or deron is utterly unfair (and pretty stupid actually). Deron is the correct answer. Got a second coach run, complains, finds one excuse after another, and still under performs. Hibbert has been bad but illysova has improved once skiles left. He’s actually been very good. Pau is just aging, he isnt what he was. But he’s not really failing this year. You cant fault him for the Jim Buss fiasco that is El Lay.

  23. steppx says:

    the question was UNDERACHIEVING……yes? Iguodala is not really doing that. He’s playing within the system. I think its utterly idiotic to list him next to deron and kamen and total busts like Hibbert. Its not the same level at all. And i would argue about Leonard, too. Jesus, you guys want “stars” and diss the players who fill the role asked of them, and do it well. O
    I would make an argument that carmelo remains too selfish and of such low hoop IQ that he perpetually underachieves. But honestly, Deron is the correct answer here. Got a second coach run, complained, created drama and still cant shoot. Now its because my wrist hurts. The guy’s immaturity is so profound that at this point if the nets were smart they would trade him.

    • Kings#4 says:

      Yes, Iguodala has been doing exactly as he should, he can step up if other offensive players go down and he has been great defensively, he is not a stat stuffer, he does so many things that don’t show up in the box score, and to call him a bust is just wrong.

    • Kamote says:

      losing Afflalo for Iguodala. AI has still been the better player. It has been seen before in Philly that he really isn’t that “take-over-games” type. What he brings is versatility. and he’s been doing well in Denver, just doing his thing while bringing out the best in both Lawson and Gallinari.

    • slider821 says:

      I agree with this. The question boils down to who is being paid more than they are producing for their team? Leonard is paid nothing and producing great for a sophmore. Iggy plays his role perfectly, Denver didn’t want another AI or Melo type from him. Maybe ya’ll forgot but Green hadn’t played for a whole year and was new to the Celtics organization, he needs time to find his way.

      So who are the busts?

      Deron obviously, since he has been overpaid and underperformed ever since Utah. Add the complaining and childish coach blaming to that and you’ve got a definite bust.

      Ilysova as well, but mostly becuase he got a payday far greater than he’s worth.

      Hibbert; how do you get a huge payday and your production goes down when your scoring role, need, and touches goes up (with Granger out)?

      Beasly has been a bust since being drafted. No one should expect him to be anything but, at this point.

      How about number 10 pick overall, proclaimed spot up shooter having a record setting worst season? Austin Rivers at 33% from the field.

    • me says:

      Iggy shouldn’t be here, I’ll take Iggy over Jeff Green , maybe Denver would ike to trade?