1. Deandre Ayton
It may seem unfair to place Ayton at the top of this list, but like it or not he is judged as a player on a different level to that of Shamet or Landale. He has in the past anchored the Suns defensively all the way to the NBA Finals, and the Trail Blazers clearly saw an individual in need of a change of scenery to get back to their best.
Instead Ayton has been quite meh overall, although at 3-10 the Trail Blazers as a whole have been messy and disjointed so far this season. Any ideas they had of Ayton being the player to lead a young and scrappy group have so far been misguided though, and he hasn’t even looked like a player capable of putting up big numbers on a bad team. He is having fun though.
A good example of this in the past would have been center Nikola Vucevic of the Orlando Magic. He played on some terrible teams, but routinely put up 20/10 and was named an All-Star twice while with that organization. That sort of trajectory shouldn’t have been off the table for Ayton, who is still somehow only 25-years-old.
Instead he is giving the Trail Blazers 12.2 points per game, way down on the 18 of only a season ago. His rebounding has gone up some from 10 to 11 per game, but his effective field goal percentage of 56.7 percent is the second lowest mark of his career too. In a cruel twist of fate, Ayton’s defensive numbers in general are better than last season.
In other words, he is becoming for the Trail Blazers exactly what the Suns needed him to be. Offensively it is another story though, and the rating of 103.3 the team has when he is out there is miles worse than the 113.2 of a season ago. It is hard to separate the struggling Trail Blazers and Ayton’s own inability to kick on, but on a rebuilding team, he should be producing a lot more.