Superstar players get the bulk of attention on the court, the big bucks, and worldwide recognition. Of course, with great power comes great responsibility. This means that top players are also under a microscope for any faults or mistakes they showcase on the court. With the availability of social media, this means the microscope is even stronger.
Looking at today's NBA, some superstars have weaknesses that cannot be ignored. While guys like LeBron James and Kevin Durant are near-perfection when they play and do not have glaring weaknesses, other guys do. Here are what these 10 superstars need to improve on to become more dominant players and silence their critics.
10. Donovan Mitchell - Efficiency
Donovan Mitchell has been tremendous this season, as the best player for the best team in the NBA. Mitchell's scoring output has been strong, averaging 26.4 PPG in a career season. Mitchell is extremely explosive, playing at his best, and will only continue to improve. But yet, Mitchell doesn't get enough recognition around the league.
That might be due to his inefficiency. Mitchell is shooting 43.8% from the field while taking 20.6 field goal attempts per game, a below-average number for a scorer of his skill. Mitchell needs to play at a more controlled pace, pick his spots, and be more efficient. Only then will he start becoming the MVP player he can become, and he might get there in due time.
9. Paul George - Become Consistent In The Playoffs
With the Indiana Pacers, Paul George was a monster in the playoffs. He went toe to toe with LeBron James and the Heat on countless occasions and developed into superstardom as a result of that. But since leaving the Pacers, "Playoff P" has been extremely underwhelming on the court. George failed to help Russell Westbrook on countless occasions with the Thunder, and last season was an embarrassment.
George completely disappeared last year against the Denver Nuggets, averaging PPG on % shooting. George had a down year which he claims was an anomaly, but it has been too many times where he hasn't performed to his capabilities in the postseason. George needs to have a bounce-back playoff run because if he doesn't, his stock will fall dramatically and there is a major risk that the duo of Leonard and George won't last much longer.
8. Ben Simmons - To Become A Better Shooter
Ben Simmons will never be a great shooter. It's just not who he is, and that is okay considering everything else he does well on the court. But Simmons cannot be the liability that he is right now and must be better. Shaquille O'Neal wasn't a shooter and neither was Wilt Chamberlain, but their raw strength and size made them superstar players as centers. Simmons plays point guard and handles the ball up and down the court, so he must be at least average with his shooting.
Simmons is only averaging 0.1 3PA per game so far in his career and is only shooting 14.7% from three. He is even putrid from the free-throw line, averaging 59.7% from the stripe. The Philadelphia 76ers are maximizing the defensive and playmaking skills of Simmons so far, but if the All-Star can develop an average shot, he will be one of the best players in the world.
7. Russell Westbrook - At Least shoot 35% From Three
Russell Westbrook is the most polarizing star in the NBA and has been for the better part of the decade. We have never seen a point guard with his athleticism before, and his triple-double skills are truly one of a kind. After all, Westbrook leads all players in NBA history in total triple-doubles. But Westbrook does have faults, like most players, and he must learn how to shoot a decent three-point shot.
Westbrook will slowly lose his athleticism as he ages, and he is at risk of losing his impact as a result. If Westbrook can shoot at least 35% from three, he has a chance to continue being one of the best players in the league. Westbrook is only shooting 31.7% from three with the Wizards and is nailing 30.5% from beyond for his career. The superstar point guard needs a jumper to be a more impactful player or else he will be on a losing team for a long time.
6. Kyrie Irving - Focus On His Basketball
Nobody knows what is going on in Kyrie Irving's head. He might be dealing with emotional and mental instabilities, which is natural for the thoughtful person as he is known to be. But Kyrie needs to focus on his basketball a bit more, especially if he wants to win his second ring with the Brooklyn Nets this season. Despite his inconsistency in showing up to work, Kyrie is still putting up 27.1 PPG when he does play.
But if Irving isn't available and on the court, Brooklyn's chances fall dramatically. What makes the team unbeatable is the trio of Kevin Durant and James Harden alongside Irving, and missing one of them diminishes their title hopes. Irving has been the player on the Nets who hasn't been focused enough, and he must zone in on his play to become a multiple-time NBA champion.
5. Zion Williamson - Consistent Mid-Range And Three-Point Jumpshot
Zion Williamson is a transcendent talent when he's on the floor. He dominates the game physically like a young Shaquille O'Neal did, except he has LeBron James-like explosiveness. Zion is a one-of-a-kind talent on the court, and it has only taken him one year to become a superstar. Zion is putting up 27.0 PPG and 7.2 RPG for the Pelicans, who have surprisingly missed the NBA playoffs this year.
Zion is only in his second year, but he needs a more consistent jump shot. He is shooting only 29.4% from three, and 69.8% from the free-throw line. Zion will be getting fouled a ton in the coming years so he must get his free throw shooting into the high 70's. Williamson is scoring all his points in the paint, but as teams lock down the interior, he needs to nail the three more often to take his game to another level.
4. Luka Doncic - Temperament
Luka Doncic admitted last week that he hasn't been very good this year. This seems ridiculous when looking at his stat line (27.9 PPG, 8.0 RPG, 8.6 APG), but he is talking in regards to his own incredible standards. Doncic has done his job on the court when he's playing well, but his temperament needs work.
Doncic is second in the NBA with 16 technical fouls this year, one behind Dwight Howard and two ahead of Russell Westbrook and Draymond Green. That is quite a company to be in because Westbrook, Howard, and Green are known culprits for jawing at referees and losing control. It isn't natural for a young star like Doncic to have this many technicals, and he needs to tone it down to become a better leader for his team.
3. Anthony Davis - Developing A Killer Mentality
Anthony Davis is so incredibly skilled, that he has a case for being the best big man in the NBA ahead of Nikola Jokic and Joel Embiid when healthy. After all, Davis was the man who helped LeBron James and the Lakers win the title last year. With guard-like skills and tremendous size, Davis is an unstoppable player.
But for some reason, Davis doesn't impose himself on games as he should. A player of his talent and skill should be the focal point every night and he should be stronger in the paint. While his injury history is questionable, many wonders why Davis doesn't put a stamp on every game and challenge LeBron James as the best player on the Lakers instead of accepting a backseat role.
2. Damian Lillard - Playmaking
Damian Lillard means everything to the Trail Blazers as the ultimate superstar point guard. Stephen Curry might be #1 in the NBA, but Lillard is right behind him. In terms of go-to scoring and an unstoppable deadeye jumper, Lillard is among the best in the league regardless of position. He is averaging 28.9 PPG and a very solid 7.5 APG.
But Lillard needs to improve his all-around game. He can go off for 50 points every night with ease, but he needs to look to pass a lot more often. Opponents clamp down on Lillard a lot of the time, and the Trail Blazers normally live and die by Lillard's scoring ability. To help Portland get to the next level, Lillard must become one of the top playmakers in the NBA and also start becoming a focal point on defense.
1. Giannis Antetokounmpo - Three-Point Shot And Free Throws
It is scary whenever Giannis Antetokounmpo hits jump shots during a game because there is nothing you can do to stop him. But that hardly happens and it's a shame. Reigning two-time MVP The Greek Freak is only 26 years old and has time to take his game to the next level, but he needs to act fast. There are superstars in the game coming for the NBA's throne such as Zion Williamson and Luka Doncic, meaning Giannis has stiff competition around the league.
Antetokounmpo is only shooting 30.3% from three this season and 68.5% from the free-throw line. These are subpar numbers for a superstar of his caliber because he should be more efficient. We have seen how teams in the playoffs build a wall in the paint to prevent Giannis from taking over, and that means Antetokounmpo's shooting gets exposed. Once Giannis develops his jump shot, it could be game over and we might see Milwaukee become NBA champions.