May 11, 2009
We tried this with the best, and now it's (sadly) time for the rest. As stated in the "most improved" post, just sustaining your regular-season averages in the playoffs is an accomplishment in itself, and there are myriad reasons behind a postseason drop off, to say nothing of the small sample size.
With that in place, here are five who have still taken a step back, for whatever reason ...
1. Joe Johnson(notes) — Atlanta Hawks: Joe Johnson has always been overrated, but because of his contract, his minutes, and the way he's allowed to dominate the ball, his stats seem passable. Throw in injuries and a couple of real defenses, and Johnson stands revealed as the second-level helper that he should be, rather than a franchise player. 16 points on 15 shots per game, as many assists as turnovers, only 4.3 rebounds in 38 minutes of play.
2. Jason Terry(notes) — Dallas Mavericks: He's playing one fewer minute per game, and the games are slower, but that doesn't excuse a nearly five points per game drop-off, sub-40 percent shooting, and nearly as many turnovers (14) as assists (15).
3. Hedo Turkoglu(notes) — Orlando Magic: Some hot shooting in the clutch (well, save for Game 4 against Boston) doesn't mean Hedo hasn't fallen off. He has, by a ton. In as many minutes per game, Hedo is averaging three points per game fewer than his regular-season averages, with a significant dip in shooting percentage, assists and rebounds.
4. Mo Williams(notes) — Cleveland Cavaliers: The Cavs are white hot, so it isn't as if Mo is hurting the team, but his scoring has dropped by about three points per game, and his three-point shooting has fallen to 34 percent after hitting 43.6 percent in the regular season. So, if he comes back to November-to-April form, the Cavs start winning by, what, 22 a game? And Big Z (averaging just 10 and six rebounds) hasn't found his stride, either.
5. Andrew Bynum(notes) — Los Angeles Lakers: He gets a pass for his iffy knee, but that doesn't mean this weak start isn't worth pointing out. His blocks per minute averages are about the same, but that's it. Rebounding, per-minute, down. Scoring, per-minute, way, way down. The Lakers will have their hands full with the Rockets with or without Yao Ming(notes), but you almost want to shut Bynum down completely until the next round. Stick him in the pool, give that knee another week, give the kid another chance.
Also considered: The Edsel, New Coke, Billy Corgan, Timothy Dalton as James Bond, Comcast High-Speed Internet.