Not all players on a 15-man roster are destined to be equal contributors, let alone wonderful revelations. Whatever the reason may be, some fail to live up to expectation. Injury, inconsistency or poorly constructed predictions in the first place can be reasons for disappointment — it’s just a fact of life in the NBA.
Name one Pelican who will significantly disappoint and why.
Jason: Buddy Hield
Buddy Hield will have a disappointing rookie season. Sorry. People are expecting too much from Hield — including myself. "Buddy Hield most reminds me of a 20-year-old Ray Allen," wrote ESPN.com's David Thorpe... Okay, let's slow down with the comparisons to HOFers. People are expecting Hield to come in and make a massive difference in the Pelicans' offense, but that's probably not gonna happen immediately.
Do I think Hield will be a bust, hell no! But do I see him coming out averaging 20 points a game shooting 40% from 3, also no. (Fingers crossed he does, though.) He will have an average rookie season, probably 13-15 points a game shooting sub 35% from deep and that's fine. Let him be a rookie and develop into a star instead of expecting it from day one.
Kevin: Quincy Pondexter
After seeing Quincy Pondexter in person on media day, it really made my heart ache. There seems to be some reasonable doubt that he may not be able to return to the court. Fletcher Mackel compared Q-Pon's situation to Brandon Roy, and Dell Demps did not immediately shoot down the notion. Pondexter looked so frustrated describing his long journey back that you have to wonder if he can ever play again.
Also, considering that outside of the 2015 post-All-Star break playoff run, Pondexter hadn't been an impact player throughout his career. We may be putting too much hope on a guy that flashed the skills to be a tremendous role player and creating huge pressure for him to perform while also trying to get physically re-acclimated to the game. I really want Pondexter to flourish because he deserves it and the Pelicans need Q-Pon on the roster, but I worry that he’ll never return to the form that made him an integral part of the most recent postseason run.
David: Solomon Hill
Solomon Hill is an easy candidate here just because at his price point fans will expect production on the stat sheet and not "little things" that are far more difficult to quantify. Hill might not average double figures, will likely suffer through a cold stretch or two that will lead to many "Hill is so overpaid" pieces from one notable local paper.
Oleh: Solomon Hill
Points scored: Everyone loves them but too many still use it as a barometer of a player’s overall value to a team. In Hill’s three seasons with the Pacers, he never averaged over 11.0 points per game per 36 minutes. Through 4 preseason games with the Pelicans, he’s at 11.5 points per game per 36 minutes.
Now, if the Pelicans struggle to improve by leaps and bounds on the defensive end, I expect many to further stare angrily in Hill’s direction. He was brought to New Orleans for his ability to defend as much as anything else, yet many will conveniently forget the concept that defense is a team-orientated endeavor. I’m not saying Hill will disappoint, but I expect many to fully underappreciate his contributions.
Fernando: Quincy Pondexter
Quincy pondexter is an easy choice. While fans all hope he comes back and performs at pre-injury levels, there can be no denying the obstacles ahead. He’s been away from competitive NBA basketball for over 16 months and remains without a timetable for return. Even if he does re-appear at some point in 2016-17, how likely is it he’ll be able to step right in and rain threes at a high rate and be able to run at full speed for 20+ minutes on a nightly basis?
Travis: Alexis Ajinca
I find myself playing with Ajinca a lot on the NBA 2K games, including 2K17, but I feel like he had his career years the previous two seasons and am now expecting a downturn due to over-exposure. I’m expecting Omer Asik to get booted from the starting lineup after 20 games or so, and all interior work will be left to Ajinca. His advanced stats have never been too great, but the last two years are probably going to be his career peaks. Here’s the real problem, though: if Asik stinks and Ajinca sucks, who’s left?