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Dallas Mavericks: CHRIS KAMAN
The oft-injured center was ecstatic to be joining friend Dirk Nowitzki for the 2012-2013 season. What he didn’t know was that Dirk would be out for as long as he was and that minutes would be hard to come by in Rick Carlisle‘s system. Kaman saw a career-worst 20.7 minutes per game despite per-36 minute averages of 18.3 points, 9.8 rebounds and 1.3 blocks. It begs to question why Carlisle didn’t use him more. Kaman’s confidence was shaken as a result. His contract expires this summer and it’s hard to envision a scenario in which Kaman returns to Dallas — despite his friendship with Dirk. (Dishonorable mention: Darren Collison)
Denver Nuggets: ANTHONY RANDOLPH
No matter the city or team, Randolph is never going to live up to the talent in his body and push for consistent time on the floor. Denver is not short on tall dudes so Randolph was going to have a hard time cracking the rotation regardless this season. But at 6-11, Randolph is an athletic big that should be doing more than just providing insurance for the Nuggets. Just imagine if he and JaVale McGee ever put things together. Then again. it takes a pretty farfetched imagination to see such a thing come to fruition. (Dishonorable Mention: Timofey Mozgov)
Golden State Warriors: ANDRIS BIEDRINS
Seriously what happened to this guy? Mark Jackson doesn’t want him on the floor, even with Andrew Bogut only playing in 32 games this season. The door was wide open for Biedrins to produce before Festus Ezeli and Draymond Green leapfrogged him in the rotation. Golden State even elected to go small at times with David Lee at center instead of deploying Biedrins. He finished with just 9.3 minutes of action per game with paltry averages of 0.5 points and 2.9 rebounds. He has a player option worth $9 million next year and almost has to return to Golden State for more “pine time” or risk getting much less on the open market. (Dishonorable Mention: Richard Jefferson)
Houston Rockets: THOMAS ROBINSON
Nobody is more surprised about the lack of impact Robinson has had this season than himself. After a game on March 8, Robinson told the media he hadn’t caught a rhythm all year and made note that he hasn’t gotten the same opportunities other rookies had. Once Robinson was traded from Sacramento to Houston, he was immediately put in a better situation from a management and team standpoint. Unfortunately it didn’t do much for his playing time, which ironically dropped from almost 16 minutes per game with the Kings to 13 with the Rockets. His draft position typically warrants more preferential treatment with minutes but neither organization has felt the need to give in to that thinking. (Dishonorable Mention: Royce White)
L.A. Clippers: LAMAR ODOM
Returning back to L.A. was supposed to be the cure for Odom and the abysmal season he endured last year. He joined a vaunted Clippers bench where his versatility could be used to propel them to new heights. The Clippers have indeed reached new heights, but Odom has had very little to do with their success. He reported to training camp overweight and in turn never got on track this season. He is somehow averaging less minutes (19.7) and points (four) while shooting lower percentages from both the three and free throw line than last year. How is that even possible for a guy this talented? Odom has submarined his career over these last two seasons but perhaps he will improve in the playoffs.
L.A. Lakers: DWIGHT HOWARD
He is still the best center in basketball and this season in L.A. was an adjustment, but expectations are high and he didn’t quite meet them. Yes, Howard played through injury and yes Kobe Bryant is a different type of leader than he is used to. But 20 and 12 are numbers Howard should put up in his sleep. Not that 17.1 points and 12.4 rebounds is something to sneeze at, but if Andrew Bynum was able to get 20 and 12 with Kobe, than Howard should have too. (That’s word to Shaq!) Howard could really make his mark on the season with Kobe out for the playoffs which would endear him to the Lakers faithful and somewhat clean up his mess of a season. (Dishonorable mention: Antawn Jamison)
Memphis Grizzlies: TONY WROTEN
The rookie guard is still very raw but he could have made an impact this season with Memphis thin at backup point guard. Jerryd Bayless was brought in to spell both guard spots and started slow himself which should have allowed Wroten to push for minutes. Instead, the Grizzlies brought Wroten along at a snail’s pace, allowing him to appear in just 35 games this season with a short leash of just 7.8 minutes per contest. It appears he hasn’t earned the trust of the coaching staff or management — Memphis signed veteran guard Keyon Dooling in early April, which clearly pushes Wroten further down on the depth chart.
Minnesota Timberwolves: DERRICK WILLIAMS
Ironically enough, Williams did go on a noteworthy tear at one point this season. Still, the total body of work warrants disappointment, considering the amount of injuries the Timberwolves suffered (allowing for Williams’ lukewarm success). Averages of 12 points and 5.5 rebounds aren’t awful but he should have been able to do more, especially from a rebounding standpoint, with the opportunity that was gift-wrapped to him due to injuries. He is likely to slide back into obscurity once the team is healthy again next season. An offseason trade could very well be in the making, as would a chance to finally live up to his billing as a No. 2 overall pick.