The beginning of every NBA season brings a broad swath of expectations for both individual players and collective teams. Those expectations carry quite a bit of weight, and to an extent can matter much more than objective success. If you’re exceeding expectations, you’re doing great. If you’re not quite getting there, you might be the target of endless Twitter roasting, and sometimes even more severe consequences.
These expectations are why the Cavs, despite being 31-22 and No. 3 in the East, were in a state of disarray and panic before basically doing a full-on rebuild in two hours at the deadline. But the Sixers, who are just hanging on to the eighth and final playoff spot in the conference at .500, are one of the feel-good stories of this NBA season.
Other expectations are salary driven. Someone making several millions dollars a year is to be counted on as a star, and anything short of that puts a major albatross around your name. The NBA has created a ton of these albatross situations with all of the ridiculous contracts being thrown around to random players that nobody has ever heard of. Like, why is Bismack Biyombo the highest-paid player on the Magic? He doesn’t even start!
This season, there have been plenty of disappointments to go around — both from the start of the season and from salaries. From sidelined superstars, to rookie disappointments, to players who can’t seem to grow, to big-contract busts, the NBA is filled with players who have consistently missed the mark all year. To be fair, every NBA season brings us several examples of this — usually with the Knicks. Some teams have had several players come up short of expectations, which has inevitably affected their final records.
With that said, let’s take a look at some of the biggest disappointments in the Association this year.
19. Markelle Fultz
18. Gordon Hayward
17. Kawhi Leonard
16. Carmelo Anthony
15. Eric Bledsoe
2017-18 stats: 17.0 PPG, 3.6 RPG, 4.3 APG, 2.1 SPG
What we expected: Not tweeting himself off a team
And in just one tweet, Bledsoe was out of Phoenix. He may be playing fairly well with the Bucks, but the Suns have to be disappointed that one of their few good players tweeted his way off the team. While he denied that this tweet was about his situation with the Suns, its correlation with the firing of head coach Earl Watson didn’t make his denials look particularly convincing.