THE SPECIMEN OF THE NBA WHO LET THEIR MENTALITY AND WORK-ETHIC SLIP
Over the past 20 years in the NBA, their have been a handful of players who have come into the league with all the tools necessary to dominate and change the face of the way basketball is played.
With some quick research and whatnot, I decided to compile a list of these players with the descriptions of their skills that they didn't use to pan out.
TIM THOMAS- An extremely talented veteran forward who is essentially an offensive specialist at this point in his career. Possesses tremendous height, length and a solid frame for a small forward. Plays the power forward position as well. Can play above the rim due to his size and length, but has just average explosiveness. Has always been able to score from just about anywhere when given minutes—talent has never been the question. Shoots the ball well from deep. Really knows how to get open when posting up. Capable off the dribble, but doesn’t attack the rim as much anymore. Rebounds well on the offensive end. Doesn’t make a dynamic impact defensively. Proved his mettle as a scorer in one season at Villanova before entering the draft. Won the Big East Conference Rookie of the Year in that season. Classic underachiever who never quite became the force in the NBA that he was capable of being, but is inconsistently stellar. Disappears for long stretches, and then reappears with a huge bang. Never met a shot he didn’t like. Has bounced around the League in recent seasons.
RASHEED WALLACE- tall, long, and talented player who is one of the best overall power forwards in the game. Has good enough size and strength to slide up to the center spot periodically. Isn’t as athletic as he once was, but has retained his mobility and most of his explosiveness. Proven to be equally effective from the inside as the outside. Can present matchup problems. Put up incredible numbers at UNC under Dean Smith who developed him into a star by his sophomore year in 1995. Plays with a lot of heart, but lets his fierce competitiveness get the better of him at times. Well known for his propensity to receive technical fouls. Very outspoken. A three-time All-Star, whose addition allowed the Pistons to win the NBA Championship in 2004. Charles Barkley was quoted as saying that Wallace should've been "the best power forward of this decade, but instead it was Tim Duncan".
DERRICK COLEMAN- Throughout his career, the left-handed Coleman was an effective low post scorer with a reliable perimeter shooting touch, averaging 16.5 points and 9.3 rebounds. He enjoyed his best years as a member of the New Jersey Nets, where he averaged 19.8 points and 10.6 rebounds per game. When Coleman entered the NBA, he was compared to elite power forwards such as Karl Malone and Charles Barkley, and expected to put up similar numbers, only with the added ability to shoot from three-point range. Instead, his career was overshadowed by his questionable attitude (lack of work ethic resulting in excessive weight gain, plus alcohol abuse and general disruptive behavior), and his penchant for injury which saw him play 70 or more games in only four of his 15 NBA seasons. Sports Illustrated once remarked that "Coleman could have been the best power forward ever; instead he played just well enough to ensure his next paycheck.
JONATHAN BENDER- Bender was a former high school prodigy taken in the top-5 of the NBA draft. Throughout his career he was hyped for his size, athleticism and all around skill. At a legit 7 feet, he was a great 3 pt. shooter and athletic wingman. For the most part, a persistent sore right knee limited him In 2005, Bender was rated by Sports Illustrated as #11 on the list of the 20 biggest busts in modern NBA draft history.
There is sooo many who got fat and out of shape... resting on their laurels. Eddy Curry... Need I say more? That fat twit has crippled the knicks since he signed his contract... including no shot at a big 3 this offseason Jerome James... again thanks Isiah (and NY seriously wants that dude back? wtf??) Shaq has been on a steady decline the last 10 years. Shawn Kemp was a prime example of someone who ate and drank themselves out of the league. Voshon Lenoard with Denver (did you see how fat he got after he tore is achillies? He showed up for the 3pt contest and WOW. It usually starts with a signifigant injury.
Most NBA players don't diet... They eat what ever they want and have done so their entire lives. Typically, players can take off up to a month and return to action with no problems. If they put on 5-15 pounds they can burn that off pretty quickly just by returning to action. Its the other players who have their first serious injury and have never had to work at "losing" weight...ever, who screw themselves. Their activity level kept them in shape. They sit out for months, feeling depressed, with nothing to fill the time they heal with but food and video games. When they return they are slower, less athletic and completely different players. It takes just as long to take it off as it did to put it on for most people. Teams have started to catch on to this trend over the last 10 years or so and have been much more proactive in their approach to keep players busy and involved with the team even while they are "out of action".