NBA Players Who Are Destined To Decline Next Season


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Complex Original

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Now that LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony have (finally) picked where they are going to play next year, all eyes have turned to Vegas, where the NBA's loaded 2014 rookie class is getting their first taste of NBA action. But it's never too early to pay attention to the games that really matter. 

The NBA will look very different next season, as more and more fading stars face Father Time. Whether it's Kobe Bryant battling his Achilles injury, or Paul Pierce playing for the Wizards, future Hall of Fame players will be entering some of their final seasons. Additionally, guys like Lance Stephenson and Trevor Ariza now have different roles on different teams, after taking new contracts and more money. 

As the NBA's summer break approaches, it's never to early to speculate on which fading stars and overpaid free agents could face tough times next season. Here are some of the NBA Players who are Destined to Decline Next Season. 

Trevor Ariza

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Dion Waiters

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Arron Afflalo

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Deron Williams

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2013-2014 Stats: 14.3 PPG 6.1 APG 2.6 RPG 
Current Team: Brooklyn Nets

Deron Williams should get one of these full body casts at this point in his career. Plus, anytime you're being compared to a character from Grown Ups (a movie with 90 percent negative reviews) you know it's bad.

The Nets' "star" point guard underwent surgery in May on BOTH ankles after playing a grueling 64 games last season. This comes after years of injury-plagued seasons in which Williams has seemingly had every type of ankle procedure available to humans, as well as random knee and wrist injuries.

Deron only averaged 14 points per game last season and didn't have an ounce of athleticism throughout the Nets' up-and-down year. Now, with Jason Kidd, Shaun Livingston and Paul Pierce all fleeing the sinking ship, Williams is practically alone on offense and he'll have no choice but to play more minutes. His legs may detach from his body by the All-Star break.

Joe Johnson

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Manu Ginobili

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Jodie Meeks

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Dwyane Wade

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2013-2014 Stats: 19.0 PPG 4.7 APG 4.5 RPG
Current Team: Miami Heat

What can we say about Dwyane Wade's knee that hasn't yet been said about Afghanistan? It looks bombed out and depleted. Seriously, look at this thing:

One of these knees is not like the other. Shit ain't right.

Now look at D. Wade's stats from last year: Flash nearly averaged 19/5/5 last season. Yes, he missed 28 games, but those are still VERY solid numbers. Very solid numbers that won't be duplicated by a man with a matchstick for a left knee. Will he find additional motivation in response to LeBron's departure and once again being "The Guy" (sorry Bosh) in Miami? Sure. But motivation doesn't make people any younger and it sure as hell doesn't grow new cartilage.

Dwyane has been one of the best shooting guards the League has ever seen, but as the old saying goes: Father Time is undefeated.

Gordon Hayward

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2013-2014 Stats: 16.2 PPG 5.2 APG 5.1 RPG
Current Team: Utah Jazz

Gordon Hayward received a max offer sheet of four years, $63 million from the Charlotte Hornets earlier this month, and the Utah Jazz matched it. This isn't something that happened in 2K. Two NBA teams actually gathered their staffs around after days of contemplating and decided to give him max money.

He averaged 16 points, five rebounds and five assists in his best season ever last year. Utah was the worst team in the Western Conference, and one would think they'd have learned that you can't win with Gordon Hayward as your best player. BUT NO.

This absurd contract will create unreasonable expectations for a guy trapped on a team that is in an infinite rebuild. Having Dante Exum will help, but there's no way Hayward can be worthy of that contract next season. At least now he can afford a decent haircut.

Taj Gibson

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Kobe Bryant

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Paul Pierce

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Isaiah Thomas

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Vince Carter

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2013-2014 Stats: 11.9 PPG 2.6 APG 3.5 RPG
Current Team: Memphis Grizzlies

At 37, Carter is running out of time to get that elusive ring. So why, in his 17th season, did Carter agree to a three-year deal with the MEMPHIS GRIZZLIES? Vince should have been on the first flight to Cleveland after LeBron's announcement, and it's not hard to envision Carter handcuffing himself to Quicken Loans Arena until he left with a contract to suit up for the title favorites this year. Carter used his time in Dallas to reinvent himself, becoming an ace three-point shooter. He nearly shot 40 percent from three last year and he definitely has some gas left in the tank.

Yet he's going to wither away on a Grizzlies team that's gone through ridiculous turmoil this summer and has little chance of contending in the loaded Western Conference. Vince, what do you have to say about your chances of winning a title in Memphis? 

Swaggy P

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2013-2014 Stats: 17.9 PPG 1.5 APG 2.6 RPG
Current Team: Los Angeles Lakers

From celebrating a missed three to hitting a spinning 360 reverse layup  Nick Young was pretty much the only reason to watch the Lakers last year. While the Year of Swaggy may have peaked when he drunkenly commented on Iggy Azalea's ass outside of an L.A. club (or was it when he almost allegedly popped a pill a  with Brandon Jennings in July?) this year things are going to be very different in Lakerland. Kobe's back, which means Young won't be the primary option for the Lakers offensively. Young won't be able to jack up 14 shots per game as he did last year, and he'll face the wrath of Kobe for every off-balance, step-back jumper he foolishly attempts. Plus Young already got his four-year, $21.5 million contract from the Lakers, so expect a J.R. Smith like drop-off in production now that Swaggy got his millions. At least we'll always have this GIF.

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