DimeMag

5 NBA Players Who Became Castaways

In light of seeing all of these former NBA stars getting into trouble, I’ve been thinking about a whole lot, about untapped potential (hence my repeated posts on Penny & G-Hill & ‘Mac) and about why some guys make it and others don’t. It’s more than talent. Much more.

It’s always so hard to judge someone from afar. You grow up believing most of the stories you hear, thinking “oh this dude’s a bad guy…this guy is cool, but sometimes he doesn’t care…this guy can’t play.” But eventually, you find out that most of the stuff you hear is untrue.

One thing that frustrates me to no end are the amount of people – even “basketball analysts” – who say these high-scoring numbers guys are putting up this summer aren’t impressive because they’re playing against bums. Kevin Durant isn’t going to hit up Rucker and play against bums. Brandon Jennings isn’t going to Baltimore to play bums. If the comp isn’t there, then they won’t play. Period. There are thousands of unreal players who aren’t in the NBA or never made it there for one reason or another.

It’s the same with NBA Draft flameouts. Some of them really can’t play. But others couldn’t find the right team, lost their confidence, became consumed by money or any other one of a hundred different reasons.

There are players who never pan out. Go beyond the natural choices, the guys who would’ve been all-world if not for this or that. What about all the players who never made it, never made it to a second contract when some thought they would be All-Stars? What about the guys who were talented, and showed it at times, but never put it all together? The unlucky ones. Players who didn’t make it like Shawn Respert, who battled cancer and never told anyone about it or Marcus Fizer, whose knee injuries robbed the undersized big man of the only advantage he had.There were a few players over the years who seemed like they had some game, but never found a home. But maybe they had us all fooled all along.

The question: whether they were real players or just bums?

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Courtney Alexander– At some point early in his career, MJ called him a future All-Star. He was an explosive scorer who had everything you needed for a swingman, and had a couple of huge games during his first few years when people were out because of injuries. Unfortunately, he too had problems with a major knee injury. Everyone raved about him leading up to the draft; maybe it was a case of the unknown. Alexander did go to Fresno State, and before he was drafted, I had never even seen him play. Some say it was the injuries who killed him. Others, that he was just a small-time player who couldn’t make it big.
JURY: For real or not?

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