Kristaps Porzingis is a borderline All-Star in his second season in the league. And his 2016-17 campaign has been a disappointment.
That might sound outrageous to Knickerbocker fans who will come at you with torches and pitchforks if you say anything negative about the Unicorn, but there are legit reasons why we feel comfortable saying that KP's season so far hasn't exactly been what we expected when it tipped off back in October. We thought Porzingis was primed to take that next step, to vaunt himself into the discussion as the best 21-year-old in the league, cement his status as the Knicks' best player, and become the focal point on the offense. That hasn't been the case, and it's part of the reason why the Knicks, forever a dumpster fire, are a bitterly disappointing 10 games under .500 before Wednesday's meeting with the Thunder.
But Porzingis isn't the only notable player on his roster and in the city he plays to put up a disappointing season so far. There are eight other individuals we targeted and singled out for their subpar seasons. Some of them might be obvious; others might get entire fan bases heated. But we're cool with this list even if you're not.
10. Kris Dunn
9. Nikola Vucevic
2016-17 Stats: 13.9 PPG, 10.0 RPG, 1.0 BPG
What We Expected: A hell of a lot more production than this
Let’s get it out of the way right upfront: The Orlando Magic are not terrible just because of Nikola Vucevic. But he’s not helping either. Two seasons ago, the seven-footer was a borderline All-Star, averaging 19.3 points and 10.9 rebounds. And while his rebounding numbers haven’t dropped much—10.0 per game this season—his scoring is down to 13.9 points per game, and he’s shooting under 50 percent from the floor for the first time since his rookie season. The Magic dealt Victor Oladipo to the Thunder for Serge Ibaka in the hopes he could put them over the top. Thanks in part to Vuc’s regression, they’re at the bottom. —Russ Bengtson
8. Chandler Parsons
7. Emmanuel Mudiay
6. Rajon Rondo
2016-17 Stats: 6.5 PPG, 6.5 APG, 5.2 RPG
What We Expected: Truthfully, this
Since being traded away from the Boston Celtics in 2014, Rajon Rondo was banished from the Dallas Mavericks before the season even ended, then wore out his welcome in Sacramento in a single year. This did not deter the Chicago Bulls braintrust of John Paxson and Gar Forman, who gave the four-time All-Star—most recently in 2013—a multi-year deal this summer to replace Derrick Rose as the Bulls’ starting point guard. Terrible idea. Not only has Rondo continued to be an ineffective scorer and lousy shooter (37 percent from the floor, 30 percent from three), he’s also continued to be a locker room tire fire, getting himself suspended for conduct detrimental to the team. This will not end well. —Russ Bengtson
5. Jahlil Okafor
2016-17 Stats: 11.6 PPG, 4.8 RPG, 1.0 BPG
What We Expected: To actually play defense and not be a complete afterthought
It isn't a good thing for a second-year, top-three pick to be involved in trade rumors. In fact, it's quite bad. That's the situation Jahlil Okafor finds himself in on the Sixers. Things just haven't worked out for either side, and both are probably to blame. Okafor isn't a good fit next to Joel Embiid. The young big is definitely talented on offense, but his defensive effort leaves you wanting more. It has gotten to the point where the Sixers are holding him out of games even when Embiid doesn't play. A change of scenery is best for everyone. —Zach Frydenlund