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The 10 Most Disappointing Players Of The 2021-2022 Season So Far

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The 10 Most Disappointing Players Of The 2021-2022 Season So Far

Before the season began, most would not have expected the Chicago Bulls or Toronto Raptors to be in the playoff mix. Teams like the Utah Jazz and Philadelphia 76ers were expected to be at the top given their reign from last year. However, with all the buzz around the Brooklyn Nets and Los Angeles Lakers, we expected to see both teams compete for a top seed in the conference.

It appears that some players like Russell Westbrook are adjusting to their new environment, while others are adjusting to new head coaches. We will likely see most of those minor issues take care of themselves. However, there are some major issues with some teams and their personnel that are a glaring red flag.

You can chalk some of these issues up to just being a slow start. Sometimes, some players need a moment to get out of the gate and find their rhythm. With that said, these players are starting much slower than usual. Is it a concern? Should teams panic? These 10 players have been very disappointing to start the season so far.


Honorable-Mention


Joel Embiid

Credit: Getty Images

Credit: Getty Images

Stats: 21.4 PPG, 9.4 RPG, 4.0 APG, 0.9 SPG, 1.4 BPG, 43.5 FG%, 39.4 3PT% (9 Games)

Embiid is in a similar situation. While Embiid was the runner-up in the MVP voting last year, the 76ers featured another All-Star player on the team in Ben Simmons, who has not played this year. Simmons was not a great offensive option, but he did the little things that took the pressure off Embiid and we are seeing it now.

Embiid is averaging eight fewer points, shooting 10% worse than last year from the field, and his three-point shooting took a five percent cut too. His rebounding numbers are down by two, while his assists (4.0) are his lone saving grace because he has to pass the ball more without Simmons creating. Embiid is having a good season, but we expected to see him compete for another MVP.


10. Kevin Porter Jr.

kevin porter jr

Stats: 12.4 PPG, 4.3 RPG, 5.0 APG, 1.4 SPG, 0.3 BPG, 36.9 FG%, 29.6 3PT% (9 Games)

Porter scored 50 points in a game last year. There were signs of him being one of the fresh faces of the Houston Rockets moving forward, especially when he averaged 16.6 points and 6.3 assists in 26 games. For now, it appears that the Rockets might just have a backup point guard on their hands starting. Porter is shooting the worst numbers in his career with his playing time increased. That also includes shooting less than 30% from the three-point range.

The Rockets are going to have a long rebuild on their hands, but the team thought Porter would be a piece the team would build around. Porter could be a part of the team down the road, but we shouldn’t expect him to be a starter on a contending team unless this changes.


9. Joe Harris

Joe Harris

Stats: 11.3 PPG, 4.3 RPG, 1.1 APG, 0.4 SPG, 0.2 BPG, 40.8 FG%, 40.6 3PT% (10 Games)

You don’t have to watch the Nets play to guess that Joe Harris looks stressed. Harris was one of the most efficient three-point shooters last year, but he has a huge drop-off compared to last year’s numbers. Harris is shooting 10% worse from the field, as well as 7.5% from three-point range. Harris thrived when he was found open, but Irving was a contributor in that factor.

Harris is also averaging his worst points total since 2017-2018. With Irving out, you expected him to help with the load on offense. Instead, he is not thriving under the pressure. Harris is a great spot-up shooter, but when you are limited to just that, you are going to struggle when the team needs more.


8. Nikola Vucevic

Nikola Vucevic

Stats: 13.4 PPG, 10.8 RPG, 4.2 APG, 1.2 SPG, 0.8 BPG, 38.0 FG%, 25.6 3PT% (9 Games)

If the Chicago Bulls want to make a deep run, they will need the full big three to contribute. Right now, DeMar DeRozan looks like an All-NBA candidate, as well as Zach LaVine. Lonzo Ball is a great fit in town and has distributed well to these players. The guy that needs to complete the puzzle is Vucevic.

After shooting 38% from outside, Vucevic is shooting 28% from three. From the field, that number dropped from 47.1% to 38.0%. There are times that he looks out of sync or clogs up the spacing. The coaching staff will need to fix this if they want to be a team that competes for a top spot in the conference, which is what they are currently doing right now. The one bright spot for Vucevic is that his 4.2 assists are at the top for big men.


7. Duncan Robinson

NBA Rumors- Duncan Robinson Could Sign Contract Worth $20 Million Per Year In  2021 Free Agency

Stats: 9.8 PPG, 4.0 RPG, 1.1 APG, 0.4 SPG, 0.2 BPG, 34.9 FG%, 32.5 3PT% (9 Games)

When the Heat re-signed Duncan Robinson, they were expecting to bring back an outside shooter that hits over 40% from three-point range at an efficient rate. Right now, Robinson looks lost. He is shooting just 34.9% from the field and 32.5% from the three-point range. His 10.6 points are his lowest since his rookie year when he played 15 games. The Heat is giving Robinson a lot of money. This will look like a terrible contract if this continues.

Robinson was consistent the last two years, which is why he was given $100 million. Right now, this looks like a bad investment, but he has time to get into a groove. If he doesn’t, the temperature is going to not be the only thing that is hot down in Miami.


6. De’Aaron Fox

De'Aaron Fox Denies That His Father Had A Role For Not Drafting Luka Doncic In 2018: "He’s not apart of my team. He doesn’t work for me."

Credit: Getty Images

Stats: 18.2 PPG, 4.1 RPG, 6.8 APG, 1.4 SPG, 0.2 BPG, 39.2 FG%, 17.8 3PT% (9 Games)

Remember when De’Aaron Fox never made an All-Star game and then the Kings gave him a max contract anyways? Business decisions like this explain why the Kings haven’t made the playoffs since 2006. The franchise is a laughable joke that doesn’t know how to be successful. The facts back this up with the early play of Fox.

Last year, Fox had a great season with 25.2 points and 7.2 assists. Right now, Fox is averaging 18.2 points and 6.8 assists. While these are respectable starting point guard stats, Fox is getting paid like a superstar. His shooting is eight percent worse than last year. He has never been a great three-point shooter, averaging 32.2% last year. We give Ben Simmons a hard time for lackluster shooting, but Fox is shooting just 17.8% from outside. That’s terrible.


5. Kristaps Porzingis

Credit: USATSI

Credit: USATSI

Stats: 14.8 PPG, 6.2 RPG, 1.0 APG, 1.0 SPG, 1.8 BPG, 35.7 FG%, 20.0 3PG% (4 Games)

Porzingis is going to have a new nickname one of these days where he is referred to as “what if?” When the Mavericks traded for him, the team thought they had a future Hall of Fame duo in Luka Doncic and Porzingis. Instead, they have a future MVP and an overpaid big. The contract for Porzingis looks like a massive failure. His health has been an issue in the past and it is an issue now as he has played just four games.

In those three games, Porzingis is averaging 14.8 points, 6.2 rebounds, shooting 35.7% from the field, and 20.0% from three-point range. Porzingis was nicknamed The Unicorn because he was a seven-footer that could shoot from outside. Now, he can’t shoot, can’t stay healthy, and reportedly doesn't have a good relationship with Doncic. What were you thinking Dallas?


4. James Harden

James Harden Reacts To Fan Getting A 'Black Jesus' Tattoo That Looks Just Like Him

Stats: 18.7 PPG, 7.7 RPG, 8.9 APG, 1.0 SPG, 0.9 BPG, 40.1 FG%, 39.7 3PT% (10 Games)

In a way, we have to cut Harden some slack. He was moved to the point guard position when he came over to the Nets via trade last year. The team is playing without Kyrie Irving, who was supposed to make a big three and lead the team to the NBA Finals. With that said, Harden is playing alongside Kevin Durant, a potential MVP candidate, and looks like he is not even close to his former All-Star despite being healthy.

Harden is averaging 18.7 points, which is his lowest amount for a season since 2011-2012. We have seen Harden lead teams before, but we have never seen a horrid shooting season like this before. Through nine games, Harden is in danger of shooting below 40% for the first time in his career. His three-point shooting is nearly over 40% for the first time in his career, but we will see if he can sustain it. If Irving comes back, we might see the old version of Harden, who won’t be so pressed to lead his team to success.


3. Russell Westbrook

Russell Westbrook

Stats: 19.0 PPG, 8.5 RPG, 7.9 APG, 1.3 SPG, 0.1 BPG, 41.8 FG%, 26.8 3PT% (10 Games)

When the Lakers acquired Westbrook, they thought he was the third superstar to create a big three in Los Angeles. While it may be early, Westbrook has looked like a bad fit as the Lakers have stumbled out to a 5-5 record. Westbrook’s numbers are down last year but are respectable at 19.0 points, 8.5 rebounds, and 7.9 assists. The team didn’t need Westbrook to average a triple-double, but they also didn’t need him to lead the league in turnovers with 4.9 per game.

Out of all qualifying point guards, Westbrook is ranked No. 30 in player efficiency ranking. Granted, the team has dealt with injuries to LeBron James this year, but even when he is healthy, the team looks out of sorts. There were concerns about how LeBron and Westbrook would share the ball. If the team doesn’t figure it out soon, the team’s current No. 10 seed will start to disgruntle fans and their voices will be a lot louder than now.


2. Michael Porter Jr.

Michael Porter Jr.

Stats: 9.9 PPG, 6.6 RPG, 1.9 APG, 1.1 SPG, 0.2 BPG, 35.9 FG%, 20.8 3PT% (9 Games)

Last year, rumors swirled around Porter that he could be included in a trade package to land a player like Kevin Love or Bradley Beal. Instead, the Nuggets held on to their young superstar and he averaged 19.0 points, 7.3 rebounds, shot 54.2% from the field, and 44.5% from three-point range. Jamal Murray got hurt before the playoffs and was going to be on the shelf going into the start of this year. It was time for Porter to prove he was worth $100 million.

The Nuggets jumped the gun and paid Porter. Now, he looks like a backup power forward. Porter is averaging 9.9 points, 6.6 rebounds, shooting 35.9% from the field, and 20.8% from three-point range. Again, it’s early and he is a young prospect only playing his third season in the league. However, there was a lot of hype around Porter, so much that the team shut down potential trades to land superstars. He has to live up to expectations if he is going to be paid like a big-time NBA player.


1. Damian Lillard

Damian Lillard

Stats: 18.5 PPG, 3.8 RPG, 8.5 APG, 0.8 SPG, 0.1 BPG, 35.1 FG%, 24.7 3PT% (10 Games)

When the Trail Blazers fired Terry Stotts, the first rumor in the mill was that Lillard wanted to be traded. Then you heard about the team’s interest in Boston and Philadelphia. Lillard shut down the rumors, but you had to believe he had some sort of emotional feeling about how the team is treating his prime years. It appears to show that Lillard has something on his mind because we have never seen Lillard play this poorly.

We use poor as a loose term. Averaging 18.5 points and 8.5 assists is something a starting point guard would do in the league. However, we aren’t talking about any starting point guard. We are talking about an All-NBA First Team selection who led the league in clutch points last year. Lillard is shooting 35.1% from the field and 24.7% from the three-point range. The man that has no range appears to need to move closer to the basket. Point blank, Lillard has never shot this bad and it’s a huge surprise. 

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