The 2011-12 season has just concluded and among the players that shined such as Kyrie Irving, Ricky Rubio, Klay Thompson and Kawhi Leonard, there’s three players who were also seen as potential starters and key pieces to a contending team in the long run.
MarShon Brooks, Kenneth Faried and Derrick Williams all had their rookie-year success. Faried was seen as a high-energy big man that beamed with potential, Derrick Williams showed promise as a stretch 4 and MarShon Brooks’ scoring abilities led many to believe he can be a deadly shooter with some more experience under his belt. Fast forward to the 2013-14 season and these players are quickly headed in the opposite direction.
Man, has Marshon Brooks taken a fall. With the New Jersey Nets in his rookie year, he averaged 12.6 points per game and seemed to have a solid future with some experience under his belt. The move to Brooklyn the following season saw his minutes cut by more than half, from 29.4 to 12.5.
He was then included in the package that brought Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce to Brooklyn. In this early season with the Boston Celtics, he’s only gotten off the bench for one game and seven minutes. The Celtics must enjoy that he’s on an expiring contract this season and can flip him in a deal that can get them more assets for their rebuilding process. At the worst, he’s off their books come summer time. While Boston may not be the place to do it, Brooks still needs to show capabilities of shooting at an efficient rate so he can continue his NBA career.
It appears the new style of Denver Nuggets basketball under Brian Shaw isn’t working to Faried’s advantage. Last year under George Karl, he averaged 11.5 points, 9.2 rebounds and one block, compared to this year’s 7.6 points, 7.6 rebounds and 0.4 blocks per game.
Not only has he shown some regression, but he’s already in conversation of being on the trading block, particularly for Iman Shumpert from the New York Knicks. Teams have grown to defend Faried, who is undersized at 6’8″. New York really needs a post presence, though, and Denver really needs a guard, so perhaps a new destination is best for Faried.
From No. 2 overall pick by the Minnesota Timberwolves to not even 20 minutes per game this season, Derrick Williams finds himself deeper in the doghouse as his career continues under Rick Adelman. Averages of 5.8 points and 2.4 rebounds in 18.4 minutes don’t cut it for a player who was supposed to be a building block to get the Wolves back in the playoff hunt.
The issue with Williams is that it’s clear across the league that he’s declined, which makes it difficult for Minnesota to find any trading partners for him. Intended to be a stretch 4, his best shooting year from outside the arc was last season at 33.2 percent, which doesn’t really make him qualified as a threat. He’s still guaranteed under contract through the 2014-15 season, so unless he makes great strides this year or next, the Wolves will have to hope his expiring contract in the future will make him intriguing enough for a team to take him.