It has been one month since the start of the 2017-2018 NBA season, and the season has already been extremely exciting. From Lillard and Griffin’s game winners to Masked Kyrie, the season has been entertaining, to say the least.
We’re not here to recap all the excitement but instead talk about specific players who are exceeding expectations, and those who are failing to meet their expectations. Here are six players underperforming and overperforming this season.
1) Giannis Antetokounmpo
Let’s all be honest with ourselves, we expected Giannis to improve this season and build off his performances from last season’s playoffs, but did any of us see the present coming?
The Greek Freak is averaging 30 ppg, which is second only to the Beard (James Harden). He’s getting to the fall line more often than LeBron and has a better FG% than Demarcus Cousins.
All this is great individually and all, but is Giannis translating all this into wins for the Bucks? Yes and no, in the beginning of the season the Bucks had a shaky start as they lost their first three, but Milwaukee has won their last four, which included impressive wins at San Antonio and against the Pistons.
Overall Giannis has been killing it and the Bucks should be fighting for the third spot in the East this season. Hopefully, Giannis can break the run over the usual MVP’s, Curry, LeBron, and KD. Things are exciting in Milwaukee right now and it’s all because of one Greek.
2) Kristaps Porzingis
The big Latvian has been leading the Knicks to an above .500 record at 8-7, which is a better record than the Thunder. He has been lighting up the world’s most famous arena with highlight after highlight. Madison Square Garden hasn’t been this excited since Patrick Ewing and John Starks were running the show.
Porzingis is averaging 27.8 ppg, 4th in the league, and has a higher 3p% than Steph Curry. Even the GOAT Dirk can’t help but praise the fellow European’s play, saying “He’s got an incredible touch. He can move. He can dribble. He can put it on the floor more now. He is going to be a great player in this league for a long, long time.”
With all the hype around the Thunder and the Paul George trade, little was talked about Oladipo going the opposite way. I didn’t give much thought to Oladipo joining the Pacers either. You would expect his numbers to increase slightly, but Oladipo has been the Pacers brightest player.
The former Hoosier has increased his scoring from a respectable 15.9 ppg to an outstanding 23.1 ppg. His ppg is better than Kyrie Irving and John Wall. Oladipo has taken a big step already this year and if his production continues, then he can be a superstar along with Myles Turner.
The Pacers have an exciting young team currently, and if their youngsters continue to develop then the future is bright in Indiana.
The 31-year-old veteran has been struggling this season along with the Mavs. Matthews is averaging only 11.2 points per game while shooting .359 from the field, which is second worst among shooting guards.
Matthews’ 4 years, $70m contract hasn’t been the best of business by the Mavs, as he is not displaying the same stats as he did for the Blazers. Now at 31, his stats probably won’t get any better.
Wesley has been playing a considerable amount of minutes for the Mavs as he averages 34.6 minutes per game, which is the second most on the Mavs. Hopefully, Wesley can turn around his fortunes and get back to his glory days with the Blazers.
I know Butler is playing fewer minutes and he’s not shooting as much as he did with Chicago because he isn’t the main guy, but he’s struggling significantly in Minnesota.
Last season Butler averaged 23.9 ppg, and at 28 you would think that that number would drop slightly. You would expect the number to be around 19 or 20 ppg. However, Butler is averaging 15.8 ppg.
The last time he averaged this low was the 2013-2014 season when he averaged 13.1 ppg. Almost all of Butler’s shooting stats are declining as well. Minnesota probably won’t be too worried about Butler’s early struggles as the T-wolves are third in the West, at 10-6.
3) Danilo Gallinari
The LA Clippers sit at 5-10, 13th in the West. They had a good start to the season, as they won their first four games. One player who is significantly finding his time in LA hard is Gallinari.
Danilo was averaging 18.2 ppg with Denver last season, but this season has gone downhill quickly, as he is only averaging 12.8 ppg. Similar to Butler, almost all Gallinari’s shooting stats are falling, but they are even worse compared to Butler’s decline.
Last season Gallinari’s 3p% was .389, this season it has dropped to a career-low .260. His overall fg% has gone from .447 to a measly .355. Gallinari can affect the Clippers in a lot of ways, and if he can find his old form that he displayed in Denver, then the Clips have a much higher chance of reaching the playoffs.
It’s early days in the new NBA season, as there is still time for players to come back to earth and produce at a normal output. There is also still time for players to find their rhythm and get back to playing better basketball.