5 NBA Players Who Will Turn Their Season Around
Five NBA Players Who Will Turn Their Season Around
It's early in the 2013-14 NBA season, which means that some teams and players are still trying to work their way into playing their best basketball. It's really no surprise that these players are struggling at this point. It's only the beginning of a long season and the level of competition in the NBA is tougher than it has been in recent years.
I have no doubts that some, but not all, of these players will be fine. As the season grows older and the players get more comfortable, we'll see the type of play we expect from these guys. It's hard to watch your favorite players go out there and play beneath their potential. Not meeting your expectations early on isn't really a big deal, but it is something to talk about.
Last year we saw players like Kevin Durant and LeBron James struggled for some time but they eventually got things together and kept it rolling for the remainder of the season. Players of that caliber are human and their flaws show just as much as the 12th man on the bench. I can't relate to what it's like to be a NBA superstar, but I'd imagine it isn't as easy as some would think.
Every year brings on new challenges. Things change and these players have to adjust. Some players adjust better than others; that's obvious. That still doesn't mean that they don't have to put the work to keep their game sharp. With a few key players struggling so far this season, I'm going to list five players who I believe will turn things around for the better. Let's begin.
5. Jrue Holiday
Whatever the case may be, Holiday is still an All-Star caliber point-guard. He's on a new team and it'll take some more time before he feels comfortable and confident. Holiday is currently averaging 13.8 points per game, after putting up a career-high 17.7 points per game last season with the 76ers. Expect Holiday to improve here shortly as the Pelicans try to prove they can be contenders in this league.
4. Tim Duncan
Everyone was sure that Tim Duncan had found the Fountain of Youth after a resurgence in the 2012-13 NBA season. Duncan finished last season averaging 17.8 points, 9.9 rebounds and 2.7 blocks per game. He even managed to shoot a career-best 81 percent from the free-throw line. I doubt we've seen the last of a productive Duncan, but it's evident he is dealing with some issues here early on.
The San Antonio Spurs really don't need Duncan to be the MVP-like player he once was because they are currently 10-1. What they do need is for him to be slightly better than he has been if they want to make it deep into playoffs. Duncan is a veteran and he'll surely get back to playing at a high level as the season rolls on.
3. Russell Westbrook
It's tough to say Russell Westbrook is struggling as he averages 21 points, five rebounds and five assists, but it's clear he isn't playing up to his potential. We're used to seeing Westbrook go out there and score 26 points while dishing out around eight assists per game. His case is a little different because he returned early from an injury that sidelined him in last years playoffs.
He has to fully recover before he can even think about performing at a higher level than he already is. The best thing is that even a not so healthy Westbrook causes nightmares for opposing teams. His will to be great keeps him pushing and he still approaches the game with that same fiery attitude as always. As he gets healthier, he'll return to form and he may be more explosive than ever.
2. J.R. Smith
Last year's Sixth Man of the Year has struggled so far for this team, and so has his New York Knicks. This one is a tough call simply because all of the drama surrounding this team at the moment. It'll be tough for J.R. Smith to find his rhythm as his team's play continues to worsen.
He will always be in Carmelo Anthony's shadow but Smith has made a name for himself as a lethal scorer off of the bench. Seeing Smith average only 13 points a night is a major shock to most of the sports world. Smith takes some highly questionable shots but he usually finds some way to get the ball in the basket. The Knicks will get better as the year progresses, and so will Smith.
1. Derrick Rose
This has really been tough to watch. Regardless of what anyone thinks, Derrick Rose is fully healthy and playing some incredibly bad basketball. He took a year off, which was supposed to be a good thing, but it seems like it may have been the biggest mistake of his career to date. Rose is apparently very rusty and still may not be mentally ready to compete at the level we're all accustomed to. He's averaging 15 points per game this season. He averaged 25 point per game in his last full season, which was in 2010-11; he also won the MVP that season.
One thing that Rose has is a the heart of a lion. I have no doubt that he will return to form before the All-Star break. The Chicago Bulls still have made things work as Rose's struggles continue. As long as they're playing good, Rose will be motivated to be the guy in Chicago. Things may get worse before they get better, but I'm not counting out the former MVP.