These NBA players were labeled as lazy for some reason. While some were victims of media narratives, some never really reached full potential because they lacked discipline or the willingness to put in the extra work.
Andray Blatche was drafted into the NBA in 2005 as a 19-year-old. He played for the Washington Wizards for seven seasons and registered a career-high in points in the 2010-11 season, averaging 16.8 points per game. Blatche was a stretch big who could also run the floor. If he had the discipline to be in shape every season, he could be one of the all-time greats.
Instead of always looking to attack the basket, Andray would be content hoisting 3-point shots. He had all the resources in the world to improve but chose not to. On the other hand, his skills attracted the Philippine national team to acquire his services as its naturalized player. Bigs who can run the floor and shoot from the outside will always have a place in international basketball. However, he wasn’t as effective as part of the Gilas team because he was always out of shape.
Labeling Dwight Howard a lazy player might be a work of the media, but he could have been so much more had he been more serious about getting better. D12 was blessed with all the attributes a big man in the NBA is required to succeed: height, jumping abilities, strong defensive presence, and great rebounding. However, his poor free-throw shooting hurt his teams in some crucial games and might have cost the Orlando Magic a championship or two.
Howard was often seen making fun of teammates or having a happy-go-lucky attitude. Kobe Bryant calling him soft didn’t help either. Experts believe Dwight could have been an all-time great if he had been more disciplined in improving his weaknesses.
Andrea Bargnani was the typical European player: a big who could shoot. However, he offered little to nothing outside his shooting skills. Andrea once averaged 17.2 points and 38.5% from the rainbow territory. Like others on this list, his inability to expand his game hurt his image and career.
Michael Beasley averaged 26 points and 12 rebounds per game in college, prompting the Miami Heat to select him 2nd overall in the 2008 draft. In terms of offensive arsenal, Beasley had it all. He had post-up moves, perimeter jumpers, and 3-point shots. However, the lifestyle in Miami got to him. Lacking the desire to always attack the basket and settle for pull-ups doomed his career.
James Harden plays lazy defense. As seen on countless videos, he’s not just making any effort stopping fastbreaks or defending opponents. As a result, teams have been targeting him on the defensive end.
Harden’s logic could be that he’s doing everything from rebounding to creating plays for his teammates on top of scoring, so he might be reserving his energy on those areas. The Beard’s fans claim he won the MVP and almost averaged a triple-double in a season, so he’s not a lazy player. But if being lazy is different from not making an effort at all, then we’re not sure about that.
Why some players aren’t as driven as others
Are there really lazy NBA players? Why do some of them don’t exert as much effort as others? The question is that not all players are born the same.
Michael Jordan, LeBron James, and Kobe Bryant are considered GOATs for a reason: they didn’t stop improving. It’s no fun, but it’s what drives them to succeed and be consistent in what they do. Some players already possess biological gifts to dominate the NBA, but without the proper mindset and drive, all of those would just become a waste.
One thing is for sure: a player is different when it’s a contract year. So expect them to go all out to secure a deal in the coming season, lazy player or not.