Underwhelming Beginnings and Early Slumps
Posted by Erik on November 16, 2008
Sorry guys. I know it has been awhile. I’m having a crap of a time trying to juggle blogging and work and home life lately.
It’s really frustrating. I miss blogging… a lot. Hopefully this week will give me some openings to get some extra blog time.
Anyway, I’ve had this one on queue for some time because I wanted enough games to pass in order to accurately claim that these players’ starts are truly underwhelming. As each game rolled on, however, some guys flirted with being on this list while others left it. This isn’t a “Buy Low” kind of list per se. Well it can be if you feel the stars are properly aligned for these guys to bounce back and strong. It’s simply a list of some players that I had expected to play at a certain level but are not quite living up to my expectations. Here we go…
The MATRIX Unplugged
Shawn Marion (Heat) – I suppose it’s finally official; the Matrix is no longer the stud who used to drop numbers all over the stat sheet at an efficient clip that he used to be. Ironically, his health reliability has also taken a hit as well. Based on the 7 games he’s played in, Shawn he has managed to show that he does have some “D” left in him but his boards, points, treys, and gawd-awful FG% have taken hits. His feild goal percentage is a full 8.5 points down, while his FT% is 10.2 points down from the Phoenix Marion we once knew, loved, and drafted early in the first round. He just doesn’t get the same open looks he used to get when Nash was feeding him the ball on the break. It may take some time for him to learn how to work well with Dwyane Wade, but regardless of when and how he jels with the rest of the Miami Heat; he will still end up closer to a 2nd rounder’s value as opposed to a Top 10 pick.
Parallel Peaks and Valleys
Speaking of the team and teammates Shawn Marion left behind, Steve Nash and Amare Stoudemire (Suns) aren’t really making the kind of fantasy noise people were expecting them to make out of the gate.
Steve Nash has had a sluggish start so far, putting together a string of sub par games as of late. In the 9 games he’s played to date, Steve’s managed to drop his points (down 4.6 PPG), FG (down 5%), assists (down 3.7). and treys (down 0.8). Is his slump caused by the loss of former coach Mike D’Antoni? Is it his age (34)? Is it a combination of both? Is it global warming? Is it going to get better? For God’s sakes, man! Wake up, Steve!
Amare Stoudemire did start out strong and even got a Monster of a game under his belt. He’s not exactly part of the list. Recently, however, Amare’s been missing the effectiveness and efficiency of his PG’s game and assists. He’s had a string of 3 poor games. Here’s his line for the last 3 games, 13.7 PPG at a horrible 40.4 FG%; 6.7 RPG and 3.7 TOs/G. Let’s hope this is just a slump and that he isn’t truly dependent on Steve Nash’s quality performances.
Adjustments in Philly
The Philadelphia 76ers are in a flux as they are trying to get used to an inside post presence in Elton Brand. Its entire starting 5 (Elton Brand, Samuel Dalembert, Andre Miller, Andre Iguodala, Thadeus Young) has shown some good games here and there, but the big picture is still about their inconsistency.
Elton Brand needs to find his place in the offense. The team needs to work with his inside game. He’s a force in the paint, but he and the rest of the 76ers need to get better acclimated with each other. EB’s rebounds are good but his scoring and shooting percentages leave a bit more to be desired.
Samuel Dalembert is probably used to being the only rebounding and shot blocking man in the paint for some time in Philly. He will need to learn to coordinate his defensive efforts with Elton and get his ball swats on help defense. His boards are down by 1.3 while his blocks are down by almost 1 a game.
Andre Iguodala, once the main man in the team has found himself to be the third and sometimes fourth scoring option for the team. His fantasy value has suffered the most during the team’s adjustment period. His FG%, points and steals are all way down from last year’s production.
Walking in Memphis
Rudy Gay (Grizzlies) was a guy I expected much from considering his great year last season. I thought he would take on the role of superstar to carry the Grizzlies through a fast paced offense as it tries to grab a few “W’s”. Instead of the team going with their run and gun offense, there are times that they seem like their walking in a mall. It appears that this bunch of youngsters lack a sense of urgency in their game. While it is true, he is the main man; the opponents know this too and while his scoring is respectable, his FG% and turnovers are keeping him from being considered an elite multi-cat contributor. Rookies, O.J. Mayo and Marc Gasol, have come out strong and are providing some help to Rudy. The better these guys get, the more efficient Rudy can become.
Not So Swingin’ Swingmen or Don’t Wanna Be Like Mike
Mike Miller (Timberwolves) did not make as big a splash as I thought he would in Minnesota. His points and number of treys are below what I expected. I think this is more about him getting used to Al Jefferson’s play style. He’s passing the ball quite well. He just needs to integrate his offense a bit better with the rest of his new teammates’.
Mike Dunleavy (Pacers) and his knee tendonitis was a last minute shocker for most people, myself included. He hasn’t played a single game yet and there’s no clear timetable for his return. Surgery on his knee is still an option that’s on the table. If that happens, he could miss a lot more time than what would be considered palatable for a player drafted in his position.