The NBA is set to restart on the 30th of July in Orlando under a bubble environment. What was turning out to be an exhilarating season was marred due to the unfortunate break. However, the stars are set to return to action soon, and the fans and pundits will hope to see the NBA pick up right from where it left us reeling for more.
We have seen some exceptional plays and performances from teams and players alike, and have seen some amazing rise in the quality of some players. However, on the opposite end of the spectrum are players from whom big things were expected, but have been nothing short of a disappointment. They have not performed to their potential, and some have been a reason why their teams have been underwhelming. With the season returning in a few weeks, these players will no doubt look to redeem themselves for the remainder of the season, helping their teams perform well.
Here are the 5 NBA Players that will be out to prove themselves
#5 Kyle Kuzma
The Lakers' strong showing in the NBA season so far has been largely due to the fearsome duo of King Lebron James and Anthony Davis. Even the Lakers' supporting cast has chipped in when needed. However, Kyle Kuzma has been massively underwhelming for the entirety of the season.
From someone was was expected to be an amazing third complement to the big two, his performances have led to criticism from many in the NBA. Kyle Kuzma went from averaging 19 and 6 on 46% shooting last year to 13 and 4 on 43% shooting this year. Poor short selection and insisting on driving with the ball has costed him a lot this season. Even when he's been bright, he has been largely inconsistent.
To be fair, playing alongside the King and being expected to get to the finals will definitely have a lot of pressure. However, Kuzma would hope to thrive under the spotlight and make a claim to be a worthy member of the Lakers' as they work their way to the NBA championship.
#4 Al Horford
Al Horford is one of the most experienced veterans in the NBA. When the 34 year old signed for the Sixers, they were expected to be one of the best teams in the east. However, they sit sixth in the conference standings, and Horford has been one of the reasons why Philly have disappointed. The hefty 100 million price tag means the pressure on him is even more to perform. It certainly was always going to be hard for him to fit in a team that has poor shooters on the roster, and his performances have only given more credibility to that fact.
While many expected Horford to turn the 76ers into NBA title contenders, a lot of them predicted that the move made little sense when they have Embid. When the NBA resumes on July 30th, Al Horford will be determined to prove all his critics wrong in the rest of the season and playoffs.
#3 Gary Harris
The Denver Nuggets are one of the strongest teams in the league, and will definitely try to win the NBA championship this season. However, one of their most disappointing players has been Gary Harris.
There is no going around this- Gary Harris is an exceptional NBA talent. A couple of seasons ago, he fit like a glove into the young Nuggets core, along with the likes of Nikola Jokic and Jamal Murray. However, it all came to a halt with an unfortunate injury last season.
With Harris having been reported to be fully fit at the start of this NBA season, Nuggets were expected to be one of the title contenders. They still are, but Gary has been massively underwhelming. With 10.5 points, 2.9 rebounds, and 2.1 assists per game, Gary's season has been nothing short of a disappointment. This Nuggets side is NBA championship material, and Gary Harris can make them even better going forward if he rediscovers his 2017 form.
With strong rumours around the NBA about Denver Nuggets considering a trade for Gary Harris, he will be on a mission to cement his place in a team that might be very well be competing for the title in the future.
#2 Mike Conley
When Mike Conley signed for the Jazz, it was regarded as one of the best offseason moves. This move has since then turned out to be a massive misfire, and Utah Jazz have been very dissapointing in the NBA this season. Even though Mike has not been the only reason for the Jazz's mediocre season, he certainly has been one of them.
Mike Conley, who put up career best stats last season, has averaged a mere career-low of 13.8 points, 3.2 rebounds, and 4.3 assists per game this time around. However, Mike recently starting looking bright before the break, and the Jazz will hope the veteran finds his form once again to help Utah's run towards a conference title.
The 32 year old is a player with special quality. If he reaches the heights he once used to perform at, the positive predictions about the quality of the trade would be held true.
Even with Conley's poor form, the Jazz currenlty sit in a comfortable fourth sport, and Conley will look to take advantage of the break to rediscover his form and peak physical fitness.
#1 Joel Embid
This may come as a surprise inclusion to some, but that's only because Joel Embid is that good a player. Absolutely unstoppable when he's playing his game, Joel is arguably the best centre currently in the entire NBA. However, with that talent, Joel is also a victim of his own standards.
Even though Joel Embid has always had injury problems, this season they have started to take a toll on him. He has missed crucial games in the NBA season so far, and the partnership with Ben Simmons is simply not working. That, is also due to Simmons' inability to shoot. However, Joel's insistence on playing outside the paint on more than a few occasions has costed the Sixers dearly. They currently sit sixth on the table, far from what they are capable of.
A monster in the paint, if the Sixers manage to make Joel and Simmons link up in unison, they maybe serious NBA Title contenders. The All stars game is a perfect example of how devastating Embid can be. And if he manages to do that when the season resumes, Philly are going to one huge threat to the NBA title bids of other teams.