Stop me if you have heard this analysis before about a player coming out of college around draft time: “This guy could really be special if he puts it all together.” As fans, there is nothing worse than when your team drafts a player with the infamous “if he puts it all together” tag. This is just a setup for years worth of pulling your hair out on numerous occasions. The disappointment involved in watching guys with limitless talent waste it away because of maturity issues, and general lack of effort is downright depressing. These are the types of players that have us complaining about athletes making so much money. In short, it’s just frustrating to watch.
Maybe it’s because I am a hoops freak, but it seems like basketball more than any other sport is filled with the IHPIAT players (that’s an acronym for “if he puts it all together”; I hope you’re keeping up here.) Because of this, I have decided to make the All-Frustrating team, compiled of the most frustrating player to watch at each position, along with a sixth man for good measure:
Sixth Man: Andray Blatche, Washington Wizards
Oh, good ‘ol Andray. I will give Mr. Blatche this, there is never a dull moment when he is involved. I thought about putting Blatche’s former teammate Javale McGee here, but at least he has shown SOME promise after being traded to Denver. Blatche probably has more talent than McGee, and an ever bigger mouth. He is not afraid to complain about the touches he is getting… one game into the season. I can’t blame Blatche though, I would demand the ball more too if I were a 38% shooter this season. It’s not like John Wall is the best player on my team or anything. Without putting words in Deron Williams’ mouth, I am going to say he MAY have been referencing Blatche when he said that Wall isn’t “playing with the smartest guys”
Small Forward: Terrence Williams, Sacramento Kings(for now)
Unfortunately, I know the tale of Terrence Williams far too well as a Net fan. Sadly, this may be the only team Williams ever makes again. I remember trying to convince people Terrence would one day have a LeBron-esque stat-line. There was truly no reason why he couldn’t statistically be LeBron-like. He can do everything on the basketball court that you would need to accomplish a packed stat line. He’s athletic enough to block shots, long enough to get some steals and be a good defender, has great passing ability, can get to the rim and put the ball in the hole. There’s just one problem; Williams probably has the maturity of an infant, except infants are more coach-able. There is something to be said when a GM like Daryl Morey, who probably values assets more than his immediate family, gives up a first rounder to get you, and cuts you the next season. The fact that someone with Williams’ arsenal of basketball skills has a 7.5PPG, 2.5APG, and 3.6RPG career averages is the epitome of unacceptable. Not exactly LeBron-esque, Terrence.
Power Forward: Josh Smith, Atlanta Hawks
Do you know what Josh Smith needs to do? He needs to listen to our Kings Talk podcasts (yes, I am aware how shameless that plug is, but this is my article, and I will do what I want. Get over it.) If he listened to Andy Flint and I, he would know that he should never shoot a three-point shot again in his life. Not in practice, not before practice, not in shoot-around, not even playing with his kids in the backyard. I am thoroughly convinced that Josh Smith’s agent convinced him to start shooting three’s just so he can use that as a bargaining tool. (“Look, he even shoots threes!”) If it was him Josh, fire him without notice. In fact, just text him like a girl breaks up with a guy she has no respect for. Whoever told you to start shooting threes deserves that type of treatment, because they may just end up ruining a promising career. You are a beast in the post and on the boards, stick to what got you here. Trust me when I say, it wasn’t that horrific rainbow three delivery, it was the way you clean up the glass and drive to the rim. If you don’t trust me, trust your 26% three-point shooting percentage this year. It is probably more qualified than me anyway.
Shooting Guard: Nick Young, Los Angeles Clippers
If there was ever a mystery as to why the Wizards were so bad this year, just use this list as a reference. Nick Young comes from the Carmelo Anthony school of thought: “if my shot isn’t falling, I will just keep shooting, no one will care! Except maybe the coach, but I’m sure he will get over it eventually!” However, Carmelo Anthony can get away with that because well… he’s Carmelo Anthony. Nick Young doesn’t get paid $100 million dollars (thank goodness, otherwise I would personally demand another lockout), and hopefully he can embrace his role with the Clippers as a ROLE player. If he doesn’t, I am sure Chris Paul will have no problem reminding him of exactly what role Young plays for the team. The first sign of maturity for Young may be when he changes his twitter handle from @NickSwagyPYoung to something normal like… I don’t know, just spit-balling here, @NickYoung11. You know, something that I WOULDN’T expect from a fifteen year-old.
Point Guard: Rajon Rondo, Boston Celtics
Rajon Rondo is by far the best player on this list, but that just makes it all the more frustrating. Hear me out, my frustration with Rondo is this: Name me three legitimate reasons why Rondo shouldn’t be one of the five best players in the league. The slight flaws that Rondo has in his game can all be worked on, and he’s been in the league long enough where his lousy shooting should be vastly improved by now. Anybody will tell you that the easiest thing to improve about a player is his shooting. That can be practiced, Rondo’s other talents aren’t something you coach, he just has it. His eye for the ball is impeccable, and he can get to the rim probably better than anybody not named LeBron James. However, he shoots a career 61% from the free throw line, which when you think about how often he gets fouled going to rim, it’s alarming how many points he’s leaving on the floor. He shoots 24% from three. In fact, if you break down his shooting, it makes you want to rip your hair out. Rondo shot 58.9% at the rim this year, which basically says what I had previously mentioned. Everywhere else, there is not one place on the floor he shoots over 40%. The closest is 39% from 16-23 feet. Imagine if he was just DECENT from the field and defenders had to respect his jump-shot. He would be unstoppable. He would be one of the best five players in the game, at least. Yet, it seems as if he will be working on his music career this off-season instead of his jump-shot. I give up.
Center: Andrew Bynum, Los Angeles Lakers
I saved Bynum for last because he has a compilation of the same issues that all the guys above have, plus he’s an season-ending injury waiting to happen. Let’s go down the list. Maturity of an infant? Check. Irresponsibly shooting three’s? Check. Complaining about playing time? Check. Okay, so much to my disappointment, Bynum doesn’t have a rap album in the works, but he did delete his twitter account a few months back. I am sure he had a stupid handle, because it would kill my theory here if he didn’t. You get the point, this guy is a mess. This is the first year that he’s actually produced enough that you would put up with all of his nonsense. However, just imagine if he didn’t talk. How great would Bynum be if he refused to talk to anybody but his teammates? I think he would have Kareem potential, and I am only half-kidding. It still boggles my mind that the guy wants to shoot threes, I feel like it’s a dream, and that he’s really just toying with us, but then he does it on the court, and I just get depressed. We follow many Laker fans on our twitter *cough @RealSportsKings cough*, and if you think I don’t like when Bynum shoots three’s, then…you should start following more Lakers fans on twitter. Hopefully this year is a blip in terms of Bynum’s maturity, and a trend in terms of his health, but the realist in me believes neither of those to be true. You should have dealt Bynum for Dwight when you had the chance, LA.