PDA

View Full Version : Not quite their former selves


dirt_dobber
02-08-2007, 09:09 AM
Not quite their former selves
By Kiki Vandeweghe
ESPN.com
http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/dailydime?page=dailydime-070208&lpos=spotlight&lid=tab3pos2

John Hollinger named his Least Improved players so far this year. Here's my thoughts on his leading picks, and why each player might be struggling.

1. Jazz forward Andrei Kirilenko -- The first thing I look for when players have down years are physical problems and injuries. Which is probably the No. 1 reason Kirilenko is not the same player he once was. Also, with the further emergence of Mehmet Okur , Carlos Boozer back in the mix along with Deron Williams becoming an All-Star caliber guard, well, Kirilenko is now the third or fourth option on offense.

Two years ago, he was the first option. Of course, all this still doesn't account for him really falling down defensively.

2. Cavaliers forward LeBron James -- He's had a toe injury, and that might have hampered him. Futhermore, LeBron is an open-court player who needs to run and is at his best with the ball in his hands. Perhaps most importantly, we need to look at his point guard (Eric Snow) and center (Zydrunas Ilgauskas) as two older players who are looking to play a halfcourt game.

LeBron's proven he can rack up individual numbers. He's going through an adjustment now. In trying to make others better, he's deferring too much.

3. Timberwolves guard Mike James -- A great scorer who probably doesn't fit in with what the Timberwolves are doing. His better years were in a more open-court, one-on-one style. He's still the same player, but now he's trying to run a team. He's at his best as a shoot-first point guard.

4. Magic guard Jameer Nelson -- The Magic are trying to focus on defense in their bid to become a next-level team. That involves playing in a system, and again, here's a shoot-first point guard trying to defer to others -- that's going to cut back his effectiveness.

5. Blazers center Joel Przybilla -- I don't think he's been healthy. It's not much more complicated than that. He's a big man who relies on physical ability more than fancy moves or shooting. So if you're hurt . . .

6. Bucks center Dan Gadzuric -- He's out now with a shoulder injury, but I don't know how healthy he was this season. One thing to consider is how Mo Williams emerged and that could have changed the Bucks' style.

7. Suns forward Boris Diaw --- With Amare Stoudemire back healthy, Steve Nash has his primary target again. So now the Suns' focus is more on the pick-and-roll -- and the ball's out of Diaw's hands. Notably, he came into the season out of shape and it appears he's just rounding into form now. He will be successful.

8. Cavs forward Larry Hughes -- Not healthy. I think that and the Cavs' style of play are two problems for him. He's much better in the open-court game because he's so athletic and so fast.

9. Spurs guard Beno Udrih -- It's confidence with him. Last year the Spurs went with the Nick Van Exel experiment, and that shook Udrih. He's still a very good player. I know the Spurs like him a lot. He's got to play on through and earn minutes again.

Flacolaco
02-08-2007, 09:39 AM
3. Timberwolves guard Mike James -- A great scorer who probably doesn't fit in with what the Timberwolves are doing. His better years were in a more open-court, one-on-one style. He's still the same player, but now he's trying to run a team. He's at his best as a shoot-first point guard.

Yeah....I think everything worked ok

Five-ofan
02-08-2007, 09:44 AM
man you know you are a flat out stud when 27-6-6 as a 22 year old gets you 2nd least improved...

snoop
02-08-2007, 11:02 PM
man you know you are a flat out stud when 27-6-6 as a 22 year old gets you 2nd least improved...

thats the truth