Longevity is something that not much NBA players can brag about, and considering how hard the schedules are and how fiercely players compete, becoming a steady starter for a team is something quite difficult to accomplish nowadays.
Obviously, all teams have star players that are way more important than others in the rotation, but even if their performances don’t hurt the team, lack of rhythm due to injuries may force coaches into trying to bring their stars slowly and steady of the bench.
Nonetheless, some players have managed to shake off that kind of stuff and start every single one of the games they’ve been involved in, obviously mostly because they were standout prospects out of the gate for teams that were pretty much struggling in the first place.
Today, we’re going to let you know about the top 7 active players that have never come off the bench in their entire careers, and that are very likely to never do so if father time goes their way and prevents them from getting hurt.
7. Andrew Wiggins – 281 games
Andrew Wiggins came with a lot of praise as the 1st overall pick not so long ago, and even though he’s yet to break out and prove that he was worthy of all of what was expected out of him, he’s been a key cornerstone for the Minnesota Timberwolves plans alongside Karl-Anthony Towns, and he’s quietly improved on a yearly basis.
So far, the Canadian guard-forward has started 281 games, leaving career averages of 20 points, 4 rebounds and 2.1 assists per game with 1 steal and 0.5 blocks in almost 45% from the floor, winning the Rookie of the Year award while trying to end the Timberwolves long playoff drought.
6. Kyrie Irving – 418 games
Kyrie Irving came as a master of the crossover and the handles right out of the gate and considering how poorly the Cleveland Cavaliers were faring at the time of his drafting, he instantly took the reins of the team on the verge of the post LeBron James era at the Q.
Due to some injuries during the early stages of his career, he’s missed several matchups, but he has still started every single one of those 418 games he’s been involved into, averaging 21.9 points, 3.3 rebounds and 5.5 assists per game to go along with 1.3 steals, already winning 1 Championship as well as the Rookie of the Year award.
5. Damian Lillard – 427 games
Damian Lillard has started all 427 games he’s been in so far for his career, posting very nice averages of 22.4 points, over 4 rebounds and just over 6 assists per game with almost 1 steal also, constantly leading the Blazers through crunch time.
Lillard came out of a very small program and the Blazers had a lot of faith in him, and so far it has truly paid off. Ever since winning the Rookie of the Year, Lillard has been one of the most underrated players in the Association, but that explosiveness he features alongside CJ McCollum make the Blazers own one of the most unstoppable backcourts in the league.
4. Blake Griffin – 491 games
Blake Griffin’s huge question mark beside his defensive softness has always been his durability, and he’s never been able to shake off some injuries that constantly keep him in the shelf, but he’s still being a huge stud every time he’s been able to suit up and lead the way for his Los Angeles Clippers.
Starting 491 games, he’s averaged 21.6 points, 9.3 rebounds (a number that has taken a major dip over the last couple of seasons) and 4.2 assists per game on 51% from the floor and 35% from three, also winning the Rookie of the Year award and making it to 5 All-Star games.
3. Kevin Durant – 734 games
Kevin Durant is already a first ballot Hall of Famer and one of the best players in the history of the game, so it comes as no surprise when we see him being a steady starter from day one when he was playing for the Sonics/Thunder franchise, providing a lot of versatility and offensive talent right away out of Texas U.
Over 734 career games, Kevin Durant has averaged 27.2 points, 7.2 boards, 3.8 dimes, 1.2 steals and 1.1 blocks per game in 48% from the floor, 38% from the three-point land and 88% from the line, being a member of the exclusive 50-40-90 club and also the winner of 1 MVP, 1 Championship, 4 Scoring titles and 1 Finals MVP.
2. Chris Paul – 851 games
The Wake Forest standout also came with a lot of praise to the NBA and didn’t miss a beat to prove he was one of the most gifted two way point guards this game has ever seen, and even though he hasn’t been able to make a successful Finals run, he’s also an indisputable Hall of Famer.
Chris Paul has started every single one of his 851 NBA games, posting career averages of 18.7 points, 4.4 boards, 9.9 helpers and 2.3 steals while shooting 47.3% from the floor and 37.2% from downtown, making it to 9 All-Stars, 9 All-Defensive squads, winning the ROY, and also leading the league in assists in 4 different seasons and steals in 6 opportunities.
1. Carmelo Anthony – 1011 games
And finally, Carmelo Anthony’s the remaining active player that has never come off the bench, although he’s very likely to embrace a lesser role during the ladder passages of his career in his determination to win an NBA Championship before retiring, as he’s already accepted the fact that he’s now the third scoring option for the Oklahoma City Thunder.
Over the course of his career, the future Hall of Famer has won 1 scoring title and made it to 10 All-Stars, as well as being the all-time leading scorer in Team USA history. Starting 1011 matchups, Melo has left averages of 24.5 points, 6.6 rebounds and 3.1 assists per game while shooting 45% from the floor and almost 35% from three-point land.