DAR Sports: NBA Players With Wasted Potential

By @TrueGodImmortal 

We here at DAR tend to highlight some of the greatest players of all time and greatest moments. Today, we take a different approach and look at some of the players who had so much potential and had it wasted for whatever reason. Injury usually stops the potential from being justified, or in some instances, personal demons. A lot of players could have been all time greats if they didn't experience such heavy injuries, and while that's not their fault, it cut their careers short and slowed down their legacy. Let's look at some of those players who saw their potential go to waste.

*Eddy Curry

-He was christened as "Baby Shaq", but he couldn't live up to half of that name. He wasn't as gifted as I think we all thought he was, but it was certainly interesting to watch people clamor over him and watch him not be able to live up to expectations or fulfill most of the potential that he seemingly had. I was never sold on the whole "Baby Shaq" nonsense, but I would have liked to see him with a tad more success.

*Derrick Coleman 

-There have been some people who said that Coleman should have been one of the best power forwards of all time. Selected with the no. 1 pick of the 1990 draft, he was put into position to really carry the torch and become something special. He won the award for Rookie of Rhe Year, but that's it. He never really tapped into his potential and seemed to lack that vital drive to get a title, a MVP award, or anything of that sort. A shame because he could have been so much more.

*Shawn Kemp 

-Now, to some of you, Kemp shouldn't be on this list. He's a solidified legend in some circles, and he made the NBA Finals and had a truly respectable career. That's 100% true. However, his own personal demons started to really get to him, and he would see his playing time decrease, and would eventually succumb to his personal battle and not have anymore success in the NBA. His demons got too much to handle and drove him out of the NBA. One would have to wonder what could have been if those demons didn't really catch up to him.

*Steve Francis

-I was truly pulling for the Franchise. He should have been one of the best. He had the potential, but many criticize his game and say he still played like he was on the street courts versus developing his game professionally. I don't necessarily agree with that sentiment, I just think the level of play in the era he entered was perhaps tougher to maintain and the pressure of all his potential got the best of him. Francis is another one who develop some personal demons and his issues would eventually be the reason why he was no longer in the NBA. The stage was set for a comeback, but it just never happened and now he's a bit of a laughing stock with his antics and his drug problems. It's really sad.

*Brandon Roy

-This is the most tragic of the choices in many ways. He was a three time all star and well on his way to being a huge star in the game. However, an injury cut his career short. It's almost as tragic as the horrible situation of Len Bias, because Roy had the tools to have a Hall of Fame worthy career, but the injury was too much to deal with and forced him to retire very very early. It's not so much wasted potential, as it is potential cut short.

*Jason Williams

-The man dubbed "White Chocolate" had some of the best handles I've ever seen in the NBA. The problem? Focus. Drive. Emotional issues. A few things. Regardless, he was totally gifted and had potential to an all time great. Instead, there's just highlights of what could have been or should have been if he maintained consistency and fought off those demons.

*Gilbert Arenas

-Well, to put it simple and plain, Arenas is a bit of an idiot. His personal issues and his personality in general just made it hard for him to succeed consistently. He was a great player and an amazing scorer and I can't say injuries ruined him, because that wasn't the issue. He just had too many issues and couldn't get over them, but he has the funniest deal in history which allows him to live well and torment Nick Young from time to time.

*Darius Miles

-He was supposed to be the next big star. Somewhere along the line, that didn't happen. He was a part of the Clippers team that was so much fun to watch, though they weren't very successful. Darius was on his way to being something big, but he just couldn't get it together. Maybe the fact that he didn't hone his craft in college has something to do with that. Who knows.

*Stephon Marbury

-Marbury was the man in many circles, but much like many stars who came from the mud, the emotions off the court and on the court were conflicting and causing problems. He would venture to China, but it's so unfortunate that he wasn't able to really become a leader and solidify his legacy. In some ways, Marbury could have been the legend that Iverson is, but he just wasn't able to get over the hump in many aspects.

*Latrell Sprewell

-Sprewell is an All Star, a big time player and well known name. His ego and his nonsense is what gets him on this list. He turned down a large sum of money to play, not because he felt he deserved more, but because "he had to feed his family". Where 8 million dollars a year isn't enough to feed your family I'll never know, but I feel his issues were really too much to control, as evidenced by him choking a coach and gaining headlines for that. He was a good player but earned more attention for his antics than his game. Tragic.

*Vin Baker

-Similar to Coleman, Vin could have been one of the best power forwards/centers in the game at the time, but much like a number of folks on this list, he just didn't seem to possess the toughness and aggression needed to go to that extra level. I think Vin could have very well been a vital player in the league, but it just never really happened. It's interesting to note that most of the guys with wasted potential here showcased a lack of focus and drive. Goes to show you how important those things are to success.

*Kwame Brown

-Maybe we all expected too much. But that's what you get when you're the top pick in a draft. High expectations. You can't be selected at no. 1 in the draft and then all of a sudden, no one has high expectations. Kwame was doomed from the start because he wasn't as gifted and hadn't been in college to develop his game. He was put right into the fire and given this huge distinction, and he couldn't live up to it. I still can't believe Jordan wasn't that no. 1 pick on him. Still.

*Isaiah Rider

-The dunk contest breeds champions. Not NBA Champions, but dunk champions. For J.R. Rider, it's his greatest achievement. I think we saw him as a possible star and he just never really allowed myself to get to that point. Personal problems, lack of a 3 point game, and all around lacking of drive is what kept him from being much better and effective.

*Michael Beasley

-I don't even know what went wrong here, but for some reason, all that potential went to waste. He didn't last very long and although he's got a second chance so to speak after going to China briefly, it'll never be the same. I thought Beasley would have been one of the next big stars. However, that was not the case unfortunately.

*O.J. Mayo

-Now if there's anyone who wasted all potential, it's this man. Maybe him being named O.J. sealed his fate, but he never lived up to expectations and could be seen as a huge failure. He seems to have a drug problem which is causing him to NOT really be able to live up to any of his potential. The clock has ticked far too long for him and the opportunity has passed.

*Greg Oden

-So, yes, injuries are the cause, but we never got to see what he could have offered. Another no. 1 pick who we didn't get to see develop into the potential he had. Oden isn't the same as a Grant Hill or Tracy McGrady or Penny Hardaway, who showed us their greatness and Hall of Fame worthy abilities for multiple seasons before the injuries got to them, Oden never got the chance to ever show us anything in the NBA. Ever. Interesting enough, the no. 2 pick in that draft was Kevin Durant. Oden and KD would have completely different paths, with KD exceeding expectations while Oden never even got a chance to fulfill his.

*Andrew Bynum

-Laziness really is to blame for this one. He is a two time NBA Champion and at one point, he was a truly solid player. Somewhere along the line, he got caught up with injuries and a lack of focus, and as a result, he really has nothing to show for it since. I think with the right drive and focus, he could have been much more than he turned out to be. Though there's nothing wrong with being a two tike NBA Champion anyways, personally his solo accolades are virtually non existent.

There's a ton of players who could fit onto this list. These are just some that really stand out. Have any other players to add? Join the conversation in the comments below.



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