Even after the San Antonio Spurs resurrected team basketball last year with their dominant performance over the Miami Heat in the NBA Finals, iso-ball continues to linger in the NBA. The Spurs moved the ball like a hot potato with the ball never sticking in one player’s hands. It was the epitome of an offense that looked for shots that moved from good to great. In the San Antonio Spurs offensive system, just because a player was wide open it did not mean that it was the best shot on the floor, it was the person that was the most open that had the best shot.
This, of course, requires a bit of patience, selflessness, team play, and eyes that actually look for your teammates. However, tunnel vision is still a major problem in the NBA, despite the fact that team ball is far more affective than hero ball. There are a lot of reasons for this, sometimes it is because a player is looking to pad his stats because it is a contract season and he is looking to get paid. There is a reason why certain players do better and try harder during the year before their contract comes up. Case in point, Larry Sanders. At other times, it is because they are supposed to be the number one scoring option or the punch off the bench, and their coaches want them to chuck up the ball unconsciously. It is not Jamal Crawford’s fault that he shoots a jumper every minute he is on the floor. That is what he gets paid to do and has to do in order for his team to win. And at other times, players are ball hogs for no other fact than that they just suffer from tunnel vision.
*All stats are taken from ESPN.com and are correct as of March 23rd. 2015.
15. Enes Kanter – Oklahoma City Thunder
The Utah Jazz are considerably better on defense with the departure of Enes Kanter, but the Oklahoma City Thunder are now better on offense because of the arrival of Enes Kanter. Kanter has never been a shot blocking threat, but his offense is post-moves and mid-range jumper are undeniable. Yet, he is one of the worst passing big men in the league and is one of the biggest black holes in the paint. It is no coincidence that he is averaging less than one assist per game with an average of 0.7 assists.
14. Kevin Martin – Minnesota Timberwolves
Kevin Martin is still a lethal threat at the age of 32. He was the best scorer in the country when he was in college and is still one of the best scorers in the NBA today. This season he is averaging 20.2 points per game, but per usual, his other stats are left to be desired. This season, Martin is averaging 2.2 assists per game and he continues to be a one-dimensional player that looks to score even if he isn’t that open.
13. Andrea Bargnani – New York Knicks
The former number one pick is still only 29-years-old and he still has a lot of game left in him, but the sad reality is that his game has never really evolved during his 9-year career. Bargnani was always pegged as a jump shooting big man, but with the copious amount of big men that shoot 3-pointers today, his skillset is hardly unique. Furthermore, Bargnani’s game is still incomplete. This season he is averaging 14.4 points per game on the lowly Knicks, but he is only averaging 1.6 assists per game.
12. Kyrie Irving – Cleveland Cavaliers
On March 12th, Irving dropped 57 points on the San Antonio Spurs. His ability to score is undeniable. This season Irving is averaging 21.8 points per game, however, Irving is only averaging 5.3 assists per game. And for a point guard, that isn’t that great. Irving is a scoring point guard, which is common in today’s NBA game, however, when you have the most dynamic player on your team in the NBA in LeBron James and the best shooting big man in the game in Kevin Love, you should be averaging at least 9.0 assists per game.
11. DeMar DeRozan – Toronto Raptors
DeRozan has become a bonafide number one scoring option for the Toronto Raptors. This season he is averaging 19.3 points per game and his ability to create for himself is only getting better. His 3-point shot is still very weak, but DeRozan is slowly becoming one of the best shooting guards in the NBA. However, his inability to create for others is where his game is still lacking. DeRozan still suffers from tunnel vision and a terrible field goal percentage at 40.5%, which means that he is still forcing his shots up even when he is not open.
10. Monta Ellis – Dallas Mavericks
Monta Ellis is still one of the most under appreciated shooting guards in the NBA. Year after year, he is snubbed from the All-Star team, despite averaging 19.0 points per game this season. A part of it is his lack of defense, but another part of it is because he has a habit of always looking down, instead of looking up in order to create for his teammates more often. This season, he’s only averaging 4.2 assists per game.
9. Dion Waiters – Oklahoma City Thunder
Waiters may only be averaging 11.0 points per game, but if he didn’t have a restraining order on him for every team he played for, Waiters would easily average 20 points per game. The reason for that is because he suffers from chronic tunnel vision as much as any player in the NBA. This season he is only averaging 2.0 assists per game and his inability to create for others the way that he creates for himself makes him one of the hardest players to play alongside of. To be frank, if you pass Waiters the ball, don’t expect to get it back.
8. Avery Bradley – Boston Celtics
The combo guard is one of the better two-way players in the game. Bradley has some of the best perimeter defense in the game and he has improved his 3-point shot a great deal this past season. However, there are other parts of his game on offense that are still incomplete. This season, Bradley is only averaging 1.7 assists per game. For a player that mans the point guard position occasionally, this is an awfully low number.
7. Nick Young – Los Angeles Lakers
Nick Young was recently diagnosed with a small fracture in his left knee cap that will likely keep him out for the rest of the year, but it is not as though the Los Angeles Lakers had any playoff hopes anyway. This season he was averaging 13.4 points per game, but only 1.0 assists per game. Young has suffered from a bad case of tunnel vision his entire career. He can get his shot off any time he wants to, but his shot selection is one of the worst in the league with his three sixty layups that go over the backboard.
6. Rudy Gay – Sacramento Kings
Rudy Gay is still only 28-years-old, but his game has not developed into the type of All Star talent that he is capable of. A part of the reason for that is because Gay can score on anyone, but he can’t pass for his life. Gay has only averaged 2.3 assists for his career. His lack of creating for others in addition to his long 2-pointers make him one of the most frustrating and inefficient players in the NBA. This season, though he’s averaging 21.0 points per game, he’s still averaging a woeful 3.7 assists per game.
5. J.R. Smith – Cleveland Cavaliers
Moving to Cleveland may have been the best thing that could have ever happened to J.R. Smith. He seems a lot more focused and intentional with his basketball movements than he did in New York. Obviously, playing alongside of LeBron can do that. However, a zebra cannot change its stripes. Smith is still a chucker and continues to throw up some of the most ill-advised shots in the game today.
4. Isaiah Thomas – Boston Celtics
There is a reason why Thomas is playing for his third team in the past two years. Thomas has one of the most myopic visions in the NBA. No one doubts his ability to score. This season, Thomas is still averaging 16.3 points per game. Thomas will always be a stat stuffer. The only problem is that for every team he plays for, his teammates hate playing with him. The reason for that is because Thomas stops moving the ball every time he gets his hands on it. He’s only averaged 4.0 assists per game from the point guard position, which isn’t good enough.
3. Kobe Bryant – Los Angeles Lakers
Even with a torn Achilles Heal and a busted knee, Kobe was still able to put up 22.3 points per game this past season before he was finally shut down for the season. Of course, he was chucking up an astronomic 20.4 shots per game to get those numbers, while only making 37% of those shots. Sure, there are games where Kobe can get over 10 assists in any individual game, but he is wired to score the ball, and sometimes at the cost of not only one game, but an entire season.
2. Derrick Rose – Chicago Bulls
Derrick Rose averaged 18.4 points per game before being shut down. There is a possibility that Rose may return from his meniscus surgery during the playoffs, but you never know with Rose. This season, Rose was attempting nearly 17 shots per game, but only made 40% of his shots. Furthermore, he averaged 3.2 turnovers per game, which means that he was holding onto the ball far too much.
1. Carmelo Anthony – New York Knicks
Melo underwent knee surgery last month and will be out for the next 4-6 months, which means that he is shut down for the season. This season, he averaged 24.2 points per game, 6.6 rebounds per game, and 3.1 assists per game. Melo put up 20.2 shots per game, while making 44.4% of his shots. The Knicks have one of the weakest rosters in the league, so Melo has little choice but to shoot. But his inability to make his teammates better and his inability to lead his team to the playoffs in a very weak Atlantic Division and Eastern Conference, makes him one of the least desirable players to play alongside of.
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