3 Players that NEED to be Better in the 2022 Playoffs

There have been a lot of great performers in the 2022 NBA Playoffs, but there are some guys who either could be playing better or NEED to be playing better. Today, we’re looking at three of them:

Jayson Tatum

Credit to Morry Gash of AP Images for Picture

It may come as a surprise that Tatum is on this list, but Tatum has been in a little bit of a slump lately. While he does show up in the game’s biggest moments, in Game Three Tatum was invincible. In 41 minutes of action, Tatum only produced 10 points, 1 rebound, 3 assists, 1 steal, and 4 blocks on 21.1% shooting from the field and no threes. Yet, Boston only lost Game Three by two points. The loss being that close shows just how good Tatum’s supporting cast is around him; but Tatum is the leader of his team. Right now, he’s averaging 22.8 points, 5.8 rebounds, and 5.5 assists on 38.3% shooting from the field. The Milwaukee Bucks and Giannis Antetokounmpo are the reigning champs and a formidable foe; if the Celtics want to advance to the Eastern Conference Finals, Tatum needs to take his game to a whole other level. Tatum has not played badly in this series, but he does need to step it up even further.

Chris Paul

Credit to Jerome Miran of USA Today Sports for Picture

When Devin Booker was injured against the New Orleans Pelicans in the first round, Paul took over the series while sending Brandon Ingram, CJ McCollum, and Jonas Valančiūnas home. During the six-game series, Paul averaged 22.3 points and 11.3 assists while shooting 57% from the field. However, in the second-round series against the Mavericks, Paul has been in a bit of a slump. He was fine in Phoenix, but Paul averaged 5 fouls per game in Games Three and Four (both played in Dallas), and has committed 17 total fouls in the series. His averages for the series have decreased to 14.2 points, 5.0 rebounds, and 6.4 assists while looking like his age. I don’t doubt Phoenix will win in the 2nd round, but Paul needs to play better if the Suns want to make the NBA Finals for a second straight season.

James Harden

Credit to Mark Blinch of Getty Images for Picture

I’m really starting to get worried about James Harden. During the first three games Harden played for the Philadelphia 76ers, he looked like his old self, Joel Embiid looked so much happier, and Daryl Morrey appeared to be a genius. Unfortunately, come playoff time, Harden has shown why his nickname is “Small Game James.” The Miami Heat are a relentless team on defense, with Jimmy Butler, Bam Adebayo, P.J. Tucker, Kyle Lowry, and Victor Oladipo. In this series, Harden’s been averaging 19.6 points, 6.8 rebounds, and 6.6 assists. In Game Four, he dropped 31 points, which was great. But what came after the game worried me.

Almost every social media platform or news network had a headline along the lines of, “Vintage Harden Drops 31,” or “James Harden Looks Like Himself Again.” You know that as soon as a good performance by an NBA All-Star is called “vintage” that the player is well out of his prime.

This is from the NBA App

Even worse, it appears as though Philly is set to offer Harden a contract in the offseason that will not only be the largest in NBA history, but more money in four years then Harden’s made in the rest of his career combined. We could be seeing a 36-year old Harden making $60 million. Compared to that, John Wall and Russell Westbrook might as well be on veteran minimum deals.

Harden’s 32 years old, and his best days are behind him. If he continues to play like this, then I don’t think he deserves a max contract. Pay the man the way he’s playing as of right now. Plus, he’s going to get worse as he gets older, unlike players such as LeBron James and Ray Allen. We’ve seen how Harden’s hamstrings are, and how much he enjoys a good party.

I’m rooting for Harden, but I’m expecting the 76ers to be eliminated by the time most people read this.


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One thought on “3 Players that NEED to be Better in the 2022 Playoffs

  1. You raise some excellent points here that go far beyond playoff performance. I have the perfect solution to improve players performance and motivation or lack thereof. Thinking outside the box, I think the NBA needs to restructure their entire salary structure for NBA players. BTW, the same could be said for the NFL. Back to the NBA, each player should be given a base salary of one million dollars. Incentives could be paid based on the average points scored per game, rebounds, steals, 3 pointers, deductions based on fouls, etc. You get the picture. This would clearly motivate players while significantly reducing owner expenses, which hopefully would enable an average family of 4 to attend games without mortgaging their homes. If players strongly object to this new structure, then let them go play in China, Korea, or some other country. They just need to be careful they don’t say negative things about the host countries governments, or they could land in jail, or worse. Just my thoughts.


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