The NBA season is still young but we are starting to see which players feel like themselves and which ones are definitely off their games.
There is a long way to go and all of these guys can course-correct and end up having the best season of their NBA careers, but right now these three stars are performing worse than they should be – and it’s causing alarm among their fans.
3. Luka Doncic
Coming into this NBA season, Luka Doncic was the odds-on favorite to win MVP.
The dreams of him claiming that trophy are going up in flames.
Doncic is putting up 25.6 points, eight rebounds, and eight assists a game – which are all impressive numbers.
However, when you realize those are his lowest numbers since his rookie year, you start to figure out that Doncic is having a rough season.
It’s more than just his points though, he is just not performing like an MVP – or even someone who can get his team into the postseason.
Doncic isn’t being a team player and is relying on one man: himself.
New head coach Jason Kidd is desperately trying to teach Doncic how to share the ball more and improve his assist abilities because if the team is going to make it into the playoffs, they will have to do it as a unit.
Doncic is a terrific player – one of the best in the NBA – but he needs to step up his team mindset if he wants the Mavericks to go all the way.
Right now, Dallas is 13-13 and has lost six of their last nine.
2. Julius Randle
2021’s Most Improved Player of the Year is not having fun.
New York Knicks superstar Julius Randle isn’t feeling himself right now and the entire team is suffering.
In a losing effort to the Milwaukee Bucks, Randle was two-of-nine from the field and finished with only eight points, 10 rebounds, seven assists, and a whopping seven turnovers.
This is bad news but it’s doubly bad because the Knicks rely on Randle for…well, just about everything.
It’s also troubling because Randle was so good just last season when he was giving Knicks fans a reason to believe that a championship was only a few seasons away.
Winning the Finals is a pipe dream now because Randle is having a heck of a time finding his rhythm – and he’s not alone.
Many Knicks players are having a difficult season – as is head coach Tom Thibodeau, who can’t seem to discover a lineup that works.
Evan Fournier today:
6 points, 2-8 FG, 1-7 3PT
Julius Randle today:
8 points, 2-9 FG, 1-5 3PT, 7 turnovers
The Knicks are 1-6 in their last 7 games pic.twitter.com/cz8pbjlgRv
— NBA Central (@TheNBACentral) December 12, 2021
It’s smart to make Randle the face of the team because he has been a downright phenom in the past but right now he’s struggling and the entire team is sinking.
The Knicks are currently 12-15 and 12th in the East.
1. Bradley Beal
Do you know who thinks Bradley Beal is having a bad season?
Speaking with NBC Sports Washington, the Wizards star had this to say about his season:
“In all fairness, I’ve been s***y all year. So, I’m not going to sit here and talk about two other guys who have really been helping our team out. I’ll put that on me before them. I have to be better, I have to lead better, I have to produce and lead this team like I want to.”
He’s not wrong considering he is averaging 22.5 points a game and is shooting only 25 percent from three-point range – his lowest numbers in years.
Bradley Beal this season:
22.5 PPG (lowest since 2016)
44.2 FG% (lowest since 2015)
25.3 3P% (career low)
The Wizards have lost 9 of their last 14 games. pic.twitter.com/QtpeBoYpPN
— StatMuse (@statmuse) December 12, 2021
To make matters even worse, Beal is losing the ball far too many times and has a turnover rate of 14 percent.
When the season began, the Wizards were doing quite well and some thought this could be a banner season that got them deep into the postseason but that seems like a distant, painful memory now.
The Wizards can get better and their postseason dreams can be revitalized – but only if Beal somehow shakes off whatever is bothering him and plays like he used to.