Show & Prove: 10 NBA Players Who Have To Show Us Something This Season
LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh aren’t the only NBA players who have to show that all the work they did this offseason (both on and off the court) paid off. Sure, they’ll have the spotlight on them all season and they’ll be expected to take the Miami Heat to the NBA Finals. But there are 29 other teams who will be fighting for a spot in the NBA Finals, too.
Before you disregard all of the other teams in contention, we’d like to point out 10 other NBA players who need to show and prove before the 2010-2011 NBA season is over. The season tips off next week, fellas. It’s time to step it up.
1. Portland Trail Blazers center Greg Oden
Show us that…You’re not a bust. Since going No. 1 in the 2007 NBA Draft, you’ve done nothing to justify the Blazers using their pick on you. Meanwhile, the No. 2 pick Kevin Durant has nearly transformed himself into the best player in the league. You don’t have to dominate this season (though, that would certainly be nice!) but you do have to do everything in your power to become the face of this franchise.
2. Oklahoma City Thunder guard/forward Kevin Durant
Show us that…You really are the best player in the NBA now. You’ve got a lot of pressure on you this year, huh? Everybody is saying you’re shoe-in for the MVP this year now that LBJ’s taken himself out of the running by running to Miami. But now comes the tough part: actually winning it! Show us that all the hype is real and that you’re really ready to take over and be the face of not only your franchise but the entire NBA.
3. Atlanta Hawks guard/forward Joe Johnson
Show us that…You’re worth every penny of your new 6-year, $119 million contract. You disappeared in the playoffs last season. Guys with contracts over $100 mill don’t do that. While everyone continues to question what the hell Atlanta was thinking paying you that much, show them wrong. (And, yo, can we borrow a dollar? Ha!)
4. New Orleans Hornets guard Chris Paul
Show us that…You’re not going to complain about being on the Hornets all season long. You signed a contract to play there. Now it’s time to live up to it. Hey, maybe you’ll even surprise some people (and yourself?) and make a deep run into the playoffs. Who knows?
5. Denver Nuggets guard/forward Carmelo Anthony
Show us that…You’re a true professional. We know you want to be traded by the Nuggets, but in order for them to make that move, they need to get max value for you. If they don’t do it, hey, it’s only one more season and then you can sign anyyyywhere you want. Suck it up and play ball.
6. Chicago Bulls guard Derrick Rose
Show us that…You really can be a league MVP. You asked why it couldn’t be you this season. Well, go out there and back it up.
7. Dallas Mavericks forward Dirk Nowitzki
Show us that…You can lead the Mavericks back to the NBA Finals. It hasn’t looked good for the last one, two, three…Wait a second, when is the last time the Mavs were actually good? Like, really good? We’re not sure anymore. Show us again, Dirk.
8. San Antonio Spurs forward Tim Duncan
Show us that…You’re really in the best shape of your life. That’s what your coach told the press a couple weeks ago. Too bad he can’t get out there and run for you. You’ve got to show us that the Spurs aren’t a year or two away from a complete rebuild of the team you’ve held down for so many years now.
9. Orlando Magic center Dwight Howard
Show us that…You’re not going to lay down and let the Heat walk to the NBA Finals. You said you had enough of the Heat the minute LeBron announced he was going there. Well, send them a message on the court. Loud and clear.
10. Boston Celtics center Shaquille O’Neal
Show us that…You can still play. On the Celtics, you shouldn’t have to log as many minutes as you would have to log on other teams. You also won’t face many double teams. Show us that you can still be a dominate big man. Otherwise, you might not get another chance to show us.