We always tend to overreact when we talk about some prospects due to their outstanding physique and skills and how they will translate to the NBA, constantly comparing them with former and current NBA glories and creating a lot of hype around them.
Sadly, most of the time those youngsters wind up disappointing us, as they don’t reach their expected or projected potential and become average players, role players or even huge flops that don’t have a place in the Association.
So, now that we’re heading towards the end of the regular season and the playoffs are just around the corner, and so is the upcoming NBA Draft, let’s take a look at the top 10 NBA players that should’ve been better than they were.
10. Michael Olowokandi
“The Kandi Man” was a complete beast during his time at the University of the Pacific, averaging 22.2 points, 11.2 boards and 3 swats per game through his college career. With that kind of numbers, the Nigerian 7 footer was an undisputable 1st pick in the 1998 NBA Draft in one of the most loaded drafts in history.
Nevertheless, the former Clipper only managed to average 8.9 points and 7.9 boards as a rookie, and he never took his game to another level, being one of the biggest flops in NBA history, as he was selected ahead of some guys like Dirk Nowitzki, Rashard Lewis, Paul Pierce and Vince Carter.
9. Steve Francis
Maybe you’d be surprised to see a former NBA standout as great as Steve Francis on this list, considering the 3-time All-Star averaged 18.1 points, 5.6 rebounds and 6 helpers through his 9-year career as a member of the Houston Rockets, the Orlando Magic and the New York Knicks.
However, constant injuries prevented the ball-hogging point guard from being a durable player in the Association, and even despite his great talent, the former Rookie of the Year never achieved his true potential.
8. Baron Davis
Davis was one of the best point guards in the league during his 13-year career as a member of the Hornets, Warriors, Clippers, Cavs and Knicks, being an outstanding passer with great basketball IQ and amazing defensive skills.
His lifetime averages of 16.1 points, 3.8 rebounds. 7.8 assists and 1.8 steals per game don’t resemble how much influence he had on both ends of the floor, and if wasn’t for his injuries, he’d probably still be a key piece on a championship team. Sadly, he’s not, although he’s trying to make a comeback to the NBA as a part of the Delaware 87ers, the Philadelphia 76ers D-League affiliate.
7. Corey Maggette
The former Small Forward was one of the most active players when it came to charity off of the court, constantly helping kids through the league’s programs and even his own initiatives.
Through 13 years as a member of the Magic, Warriors, Bucks, Bobcats and Pistons, he was pretty average, although he had his best years in the league as a member of the Clippers, averaging 22.2 points, 6 boards and 3.4 helpers per 36 mins, showing glances of a greatness that never came after that, completely vanishing with as the years went on.
6. Christian Laettner
Lattner’s biggest achievement was stealing Shaq’s spot in the Dream Team’s roster, winning the gold medal alongside Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson, Larry Bird and company. The former Blue Devil was the 3rd pick of the 1992 NBA draft, selected by the Minnesota Timberwolves, entrusting their pick in a guy that looked like he was going be a major beast in the pro's considering how dominant he was during his NCAA days at Duke, leading the Blue Devils to back to back championships.
However, the Center never managed to establish himself as a consistent player in the NBA and was one of the biggest flops the league has seen through history.
5. Stephon Marbury
Marbury had a pretty successful NBA career as a member of the Timberwolves, Nets, Suns, Knicks and Celtics, averaging 19.3 points, 3 rebounds, 7.6 assists and 1.2 steals through a 13-year span before retiring to “attend personal affairs”, signing a multimillion deal to go play in China.
Stephon was one of the most talented passers and scorers in the league, being a dominant point guard on both ends of the floor. Nevertheless, his constant ball-hogging and problematic relationships with his coaches made him stall and never achieve his true potential.
4. Jason Richardson
J-Rich retired after 14 years after playing for the Warriors, Bobcats, Suns, Magic and Sixers, reaching his prime during the 2005-2006 season with Golden State, averaging 23.2 points, 5.8 boards, and 3.1 assists, becoming one of the most dominant scorers at the shooting guard position.
Nevertheless, injuries stopped him from developing even further, considering that was just his sixth season in the league. Afterward, it all went downhill for the unidimensional player, with all his numbers taking a huge dip and never achieving the greatness he was supposed to achieve with the number 23 on the back of his jersey.
3. Amar’e Stoudemire
We all remember how much of an offensive beast STAT was during his time with the Phoenix Suns. The former ninth pick of the 2002 NBA Draft began his career in a very dominant fashion, earning the Rookie of the Year award and making 6 All-Star appearances. Nevertheless, constant injuries really stalled his career, as well as being the second guy on offense playing alongside Carmelo Anthony on the Knicks.
He was never a great defender, but his offense and rebounding made him a great force every single time he was on the court. His averages of 18.9 points, 7.8 boards and 1.9 swats per contest made him elite when he was healthy, but that was almost never the case towards the end of his career.
2. Yao Ming
Let’s not fool ourselves: Yao Ming wasn’t a good basketball player, he just was an absurdly big human being and a great ambassador of the game to the Asian continent. At 7-6, Ming should’ve been the most dominant center in NBA history, or at least average way more than 19 points, 9.2 boards and 1.9 blocks per game.
His defense was quite subpar, and his athleticism was nonexistent, although his feet movement was quite good. Yao was quite soft on both ends of the floor despite being one of the most gigantic people to ever exist, and his Hall of Fame inclusion is owed way more to his work off the court than on it.
1. Lamar Odom
Odom’s story is one of the saddest we’ve heard in a while. The versatile forward had outstanding skills on both offense and defense, and his ability to stretch the floor, put the ball on the floor, dribble and finish through contact made him a huge threat on offense, as he could pretty much score from anywhere on the court.
However, his current struggles with alcohol and drugs made him end his NBA career way sooner than expected, and even put his life in huge jeopardy due to a relapse. Fortunately, it seems like Lamar’s getting his life together right now, and even if he’ll never achieve what he was supposed to on an NBA court, it’s nice to know he’s healthy and has rid himself of his demons.