Every name in this list had the potential to be stars in the NBA but have yet to — or will never — reach it. The list includes players drafted high that were expected to develop into quality professionals and have failed to do so. Most of these players have showed signs of success at times but have not lived up to expectations so far in their career, whether it’s injuries that are the culprits, or perhaps a messy attitude. Some are also young players that were expected to come in and perform right away in the NBA but have not come close those expectations.
*** *** ***
20. Eric Gordon – Guard, New Orleans Pelicans
The highly recruited shooting guard made his name by winning Indiana’s Mr. Basketball as a senior in high school in 2007. In his only season with the Hoosiers, Gordon averaged more than 20 points per game and was named Big Ten Freshman of the Year and was selected seventh overall in the 2008 NBA Draft by the Los Angeles Clippers. In his first season, Gordon averaged 16 ppg and was the third leading scorer among rookies. He was named to the All-Rookie Second Team and was seen as a rising star in the NBA. The reason Gordon is on this list is because of his inability to stay healthy. Gordon has never played a full 82 games and only played 51 games from 2011 to 2013. If Gordon can stay healthy, he has the ability to be a dominant scorer in the NBA and prove his awesome 2010-11 season was no joke.
19. Tyreke Evans – Guard, New Orleans Pelicans
The phenom averaged 32 points per game in high school before joining John Calipari at Memphis. In his only season at Memphis, Evans averaged 17 ppg, along with five rebounds and three assists. The Sacramento Kings selected Evans fourth overall in the 2009 Draft and he won Rookie of the Year while throwing up almost unprecedented 20-5-5 numbers. Since that season, though, Evans productivity has decreased each season and he has not been the superstar he showed he had the potential to be his rookie season. Evans was traded to the New Orleans Pelicans this offseason and is averaging 12.8 points per game, a career-low.
18. Ricky Rubio – Point Guard, Minnesota Timberwolves
Ricky Rubio is an interesting name. He’s had some success in the NBA but was thought to be a superstar by this time in his career. As a young superstar in Spain, Rubio was known for his great defensive quickness. After signing with Minnesota and coming over to play in the NBA in 2011, Rubio has yet to play more than 57 games in a season. His inability to shoot the ball has caused his struggles scoring the ball. Rubio has the talent to succeed in the league but has been mediocre so far as a pro… at least compared to what was once expected of him.
17. Jeff Green – Forward, Boston Celtics
Jeff Green and Roy Hibbert went on a tenacious NCAA Tournament run at Georgetown in 2007 that resulted in the Hoyas’ first Final Four since 1989. Green was Big East Rookie of the Year in 2005 as a freshman and John Thompson III once said Green was the smartest player he ever coached.
Green was a 6-9 mismatch in college. He could handle the ball and slash to the basket, while threatening defenses with a good stroke from the outside. Green also led the Hoyas to a Big East Championship in ’07, scoring 21 points in the final to defeat Pittsburgh after scoring 30 the night before against Notre Dame in the semifinal.
The Seattle Supersonics thought they found a solid piece to build around in 2007 when they took Green fifth overall, and in just his second year, Green had the best season of his career, averaging 16.5 points and 6.6 rebounds a game. It was the only season Green played all 82 games.
After a couple of losing seasons in Oklahoma City, Green was traded to the Boston Celtics but was diagnosed with an aortic aneurysm that caused him to miss the 2011-2012 season and has since struggled to develop into the player people thought he could become in the NBA. Yes, Green played decently last year and has averaged 15 and five so far this season. Boston hopes Green can continue to progress into what scouts thought he would be. Green is on this list because he was expected to be a better all-around player at this point in his career, too often floating around and not asserting himself. He’s one of the few players in the NBA with such an incredible combination of size, skills, power and athleticism.