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  1. 2007.03.31 [Si.com] 켈리 다이어 - 가장 실망스러운 선수들

It's very nearly April, all the excuses have been tallied, the injuries taken into consideration, and the chances for retribution offered. And, as the 2006-07 season nears an end, we're still disappointed in the play of the 10 talents listed below. No lost causes here, just a grouping of players who have ample opportunity to bounce back, but still should have come a little closer to the sorts of expectations we placed on them last fall.

(All statistics through March 28.)

NBA's Most Disappointing Players
Rank   Player
1 Diaw's subdued 2006-07 run seems to typify all that's wrong with the players on this list. Flush with a nice contract extension, Diaw came into camp out of shape and has battled injuries all season, indifference for parts of it. All this while struggling to fit in with a team that has (willingly, we're sure) had to adjust to the addition of Amare Stoudemire's 33 minutes, 21 points, and 10 rebounds per game. The most worrisome trait of Diaw's season is his obvious regression to the meek, wannabe point guard we saw for two seasons in Atlanta. The Suns aren't really hurting for easy buckets, but Diaw should be demanding that the ball run through his big mitts more often when Steve Nash isn't running things -- as his shot attempts, assists, points and rebounds per minute are all down significantly from last season.
2 Basketball, more than any other professional team sport, allows players in contract years a chance to significantly alter their financial outlook. Usually this isn't a perk for the team that currently employs the contract-year athlete. But for the New Jersey Nets, who were 22nd in offensive efficiency last season, a revved-up and gunning Vince Carter could do nothing but help the bottom lines for both franchise and player alike. Instead, VC has floated, showing signs of inspired play, but usually preferring to let the game come to him (especially in the fourth quarter, sadly), and let the game stay far, far away from him on defense.
3 Overall, Darko has played better this season than in 2005-06. He's outplayed the guy to whom he was needlessly losing minutes earlier in the year (Tony Battie), and he's still only 21. But these facts don't go far toward explaining away what should have been a breakout year for the Magic forward. Per 40 minutes, Milicic is averaging 13.4 points, 9.1 rebounds, and 2.9 blocks -- solid numbers -- but a step back from the 14.6 points, 7.8 rebounds, and 3.9 blocks per 40 he gave the Magic for 30 games last season. Throw in the often listless play, and the idea that the 20-year-old Darko is currently outplaying the 21-year-old version, and you've got yourself a disappointing season.
4 We half-expected Larry Bird and Donnie Walsh to take a blowtorch to the Indiana Pacers last summer. Or, at least try to, anyway -- because trading some of those contracts would have been pretty tough. Instead, they kept nearly everyone, even adding a player (Al Harrington) who spent the first six years of his eight-year career in Indianapolis. And, after passing on Marcus Williams in the first round of last June's Draft, it became obvious that the Pacers' braintrust still thought of the 29-year-old Tinsley as the team's point guard of the future. Tinsley has repaid that support with sub-40 percent shooting, a pitiful (and aggressive, at 2.8 3-pointers per game) outside touch, bad defense -- and, worse, two incidents at local pubs that left observers wondering if Tinsley isn't really the best influence on young shooting guard Marquis Daniels, who tagged along on both nights out.
5 It's pretty obvious what's happened to AK47: he's playing more minutes at small forward, 50 percent of Utah's entire minute allotment at the position, in fact, and he's not that great on the wing. Or, more specifically, he's not as great on the wing when Carlos Boozer is at power forward. With Boozer scoring and rebounding down low, the Jazz are winning, but Kirilenko is struggling through a tough season. Kirilenko isn't seeing the ball as much, and when he does he's actually turning the ball over more (in 16 percent of the possessions he uses, as opposed to 14 percent last season) despite being less involved in the Jazz offense. His three-point shooting (31 percent career entering 2006-07, 19 percent this season) has fallen off the proverbial cliff, his rebounding is down (fewer rebounds to get with Boozer around), and he's well on his way to establishing a career-low in blocks per minute. Could all these back and knee injuries have finally caught up to the relatively young (turned 26 in February) Kirilenko?

NBA's Most Disappointing Players
Rank   Player
6 We hoped May would have learned his lesson after a tough rookie season, one that saw him show up to camp out of shape, suffer the requisite achy knees, and play in just 23 games. Now, when he can stay on the floor this season, May has been playing at a per-minute level that suggests a future All-Star appearance (12 points, 6.7 rebounds, two assists in only 24 minutes per game, at age 22). But he can't stay on the floor for long because of those bad knees, and he's still out of shape. As it stands, May has played five times over the last two months, 35 games overall in his second season, so maybe this year will serve as the wake-up call. Sometimes it takes a couple of rings to wake the big guys up.
7 Also in a contract year, Bibby busted out of the gate shooting a woeful 36 percent in the month of November. No problem, it seemed, because Bibby had started 2005-06 shooting poorly after spending more time in the weight room than on the basketball court over the offseason, and he'd righted the ship by mid-December. This year? It took him a little longer -- Bibby only recently pushed his shooting percentage past the 40-percent barrier, bad news for a player who was hitting 45 percent of his career looks entering 2006-07. And the fact that Bibby kept chucking through the slumps even while the misses piled up -- instead of finding more looks for the sweet-shooting Kevin Martin -- probably cost the Kings a few wins, and another trip to the postseason.
8 Davis' averages of 16.6 points, 4.8 assists and four rebounds in 37.6 minutes per game aren't bad, they're pretty solid in fact. But the T'wolves guard is offering about the same per-minute production at age 27 that he was giving teams in his early 20s. Davis is supposed to be entering his prime, playing for a team that runs plenty of plays for him, so shouldn't we see some sort of statistical spike at some point? Davis is still skirting by on the same raw talent he showcased mere weeks after joining the NBA in 1999, though he should approach the 20 points per game barrier in 2007-08, a contract year.
9 Claxton's knees have been killing him all season, his first as a Hawk, taking the lift off an already shaky jump shot and robbing him of the potential for the sort of pell-mell drives that allowed him to flourish in years past and grab a four-year, $25-million dollar deal from Atlanta. Claxton has been among the worst rotation players in the game since the season's outset. He's shot 32.7 percent from the floor, and is probably going to sit out for the rest of the season after a March that saw him score two points in nearly 35 minutes of court time.
10 We carped endlessly about Milwaukee's insistence on handing Jamaal Magloire 30 minutes a game last season. How it made no sense for someone like Mags to see the ball so much when he struggled to score and remained turnover prone, especially while rookie center Bogut was stuck playing out of position at power forward. The offseason hits, Magloire is traded for (essentially) three road alternate jerseys and a roll of ankle tape, and this is how Andrew takes to the pivot: 12.3 points, 8.8 rebounds, 2.9 assists, and half a block a game. Not bad -- he's still only 22 -- but he seems way too content to let Milwaukee's cast of guards chuck 17.4 3-pointers a game, while Bogut has to subsist off put-backs and broken plays. Even worse, and this is no exaggeration -- Andrew makes Zach Randolph look like Bo Outlaw defensively. He might be the worst help defender in the NBA.

On the cusp:
Stromile Swift, Nazr Mohammed, Larry Hughes
Posted by Third Eye

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