A player’s worth is most accurately weighed in the playoffs. Just refer to last season’s Julius Randle debacle. Randle averaged 24 ppg, 10 rpg, and 6 apg on scorching shooting splits of 46%/41%/81%. Every metric but his FG% was a career-best. Then came the playoffs. In that first-round series vs. the Atlanta Hawks, Randle shat the bed, shooting 30%/33%/85%. That kind of dropout perfectly indicates why the playoffs are the great equalizer to separate the contenders from the pretenders. This year’s postseason was no different.
As each playoff round ended, there were a few players, some superstars, some stars, others household role-players who exposed themselves as frauds. When this happens, it puts into context the radical contracts paid out in today’s market. Role players with specialized skills but without broad skillsets get bags over $15 million per year. Then, when the pressure of the playoffs begins to chokehold those who can’t stomach the pressure, we see what teams rolled the dice on the wrong bums.
Here’s a look at the players who came into this postseason with their reputations intact and statistical cache, only to see it plummet under pressure.