Posted by briesen on 18th June 2012
The NBA Playoffs often serve as a stage for players to earn big contracts. Summer free agents like Roy Hibbert and Brandon Bass have surely earned themselves nice contracts from their post season play. But not everyone benefits from team advancing in the playoffs.
Serge Ibaka and James Harden are two players who looked destined to get huge contracts when their current ones run out in 2014. There’s even been recent buzz lately about Harden possibly getting a max contract somewhere, but if the season were to end today, that would be hard to imagine. Their play in the NBA Finals has been sub par to say the least. Now you don’t want to overreact to just 3 games, because after all they’re just 3 of 84 games the Thunder have played this year. They’re also playing one of the most versatile defensive teams in the league in the Heat. But it’s still worth noting. Harden’s had an especially tough time averaging just 11.6 ppg on 41% shooting. He’s struggled defensively getting benched in favor of Thabo Sefolosha for much of Game 1 (the only game the Thunder have won…).
However, in my opinion, it’s Ibaka whose been the bigger disappointment. He’s averaged just 7.0 points and 5.0 rebounds. What’s been so disappointing though is his paint protection. Ibaka has led the league the last two years in blocked shots, but has been completely infective stopping the Heat from getting to the rim. He has 7 blocks in 3 games, which isn’t bad stat wise, but considering the Heat have made just 38 shots outside of the paint, as oppose to 65 in the paint, Ibaka should have a lot more then 7. Luckily, neither is a free agent this summer, but both may be remembered this season more for what they didn’t do then for what they did.