Saturday , Oct , 20 , 2007 Oly Sandor

Five Western Conference Players On The Hot Seat: Dirk Nowitzki, Tracy McGrady, Baron Davis, Lamar Odom, & Carmelo Anthony

A great film is A Bronx Tale. Legendary actor Robert De Niro plays a nine-to-five bus driver, who warns his son that nothing is sadder than wasted talent. The NBA is no different. It’s heartbreaking for fans to watch their hometown hero fall short of expectations. Heartbreak and sympathy quickly turn to frustration with fans putting that player on the hot seat to deliver …

A great film is A Bronx Tale. Legendary actor Robert De Niro plays a nine-to-five bus driver, who warns his son that nothing is sadder than wasted talent. The NBA is no different. It’s heartbreaking for fans to watch their hometown hero fall short of expectations. Heartbreak and sympathy quickly turn to frustration with fans putting that player on the hot seat to deliver.

Yesterday, we posted on CNNSI’s list of Eastern Conference players, who must raise their play this season. Today, it’s the left coast or Western Conference. Same deal as yesterday. We’ll review CNNSI’s list and then drop five more under-the-gun players. As always, get at us in the comment box below with your thoughts.

CNNSI’s list of Western Conference players who must perform:

  • 1) Devin Harris, Dallas Mavericks.
  • 2) Kenyon Martin, Denver Nuggets.
  • 3) Monta Ellis, Golden State Warriors.
  • 4) Bonzi Wells, Houston Rockets.
  • 5) Chris Kaman, Los Angeles Clippers.
  • 6) Andrew Bynum, Los Angeles Lakers.
  • 7) Darko Milicic, Memphis Grizzlies.
  • 8) Al Jefferson, Minnesota Timberwolves.
  • 9) Peja Stojakovic, New Orleans Hornets.
  • 10) Shawn Marion, Phoenix Suns.
  • 11) LaMarcus Aldridge, Portland Trail Blazers.
  • 12) Mike Bibby, Sacramento Kings.
  • 13) Tony Parker, San Antonio Spurs.
  • 14) Kevin Durant, Seattle Super Sonics.
  • 15) Andrei Kirilenko, Utah Jazz.

My Quick Take: Below are our picks.

1) Dirk Nowitzki, .
Why He’s On The Spot: Has there ever been more pressure on an MVP? Nowitzki, as Dallas‘ leader, is on the hook for the Mavericks’ choke job in last year’s playoffs. The club’s 2006-07 regular season record and the German’s individual accolades mean nothing. There’s one way Nowitzki can redeem himself: win an NBA Title this year.

2) Tracy McGrady, .
Why He’s On The Spot: T-Mac’s tears at the end of last year were tough to watch. But here’s the thing: legit superstars take their team past the first round of the playoffs. While McGrady brings it, his teams fall short in the post-season. With a beefed up supporting cast and new coach, the ultra-gifted swing has to take his Rockets to the next level.

3) Baron Davis, .
Why He’s On The Spot: Davis, when healthy, is an elite player. At times, the stocky point  guard can hang with the world’s best table setters: Chauncey Billups, Jason Kidd, and Steve Nash. Well, B-Diddy better bring his A-game for the entire 2007-08 season. The Warriors are expected to make the playoffs and Davis wants to exercise his early opt-out clause and become an unrestricted free agent in June. The stakes are high.

4) Lamar Odom, .  
Why He’s On The Spot: Nine years in and hoop fans are still waiting on Lamar Odom to put it all together. The lanky left-hander has loads of skill, but always falls short of expectations. This season, the Lakers need Odom to shake off his shoulder troubles and deliver on that vast potential.

5) Carmelo Anthony, .
Why He’s On the Spot: One step forward, one step back with Anthony. That’s been the story of ‘Melo’s NBA career. After serving a fifteen game suspension for sucker-punching Mardy Collins, Anthony clicked with Allen Iverson and took a giant step forward last year. Who knows what happens this season?

Which NBA player is under the most pressure to deliver? Get at us in the comment box below with your thoughts

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