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10 Nba Players Who Could've Had Longer Careers

Updated on September 5, 2019
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Yawnie has been an avid NBA and lakers fan for over 25 years.

Sadly injuries are a part of the game

These players had excellent starts to their careers but were cut short due to injuries. I wish you could turn off injuries like in NBA 2k, but sadly you can't, and injuries are just a part of the game. It's sad to see one of your favorite players go down due to injuries, and it's even worse when they are just not the same player anymore.

10. Antonio McDyess

Antonio McDyess was drafted second overall by the Los Angeles Clippers in 1995.He was traded on draft night to the Denver Nuggets. Antonio McDyess had a long career, but in 2001 he suffered a serious knee injury. He was coming off a 20 and 10 season, and sustained the grueling injury. He was never the same player after this. Before the injury he was primarily a dunker and played around the basket. After the injury he developed his jump shot more and relied on this a lot more. From 2001-2003 he was plagued by injuries but enjoyed a nice five years with the Detroit Pistons. With the Pistons he was able to revitalize his career and provide the Pistons with a 6th man. He played two more years with the Spurs before retiring in 2011.

9. Ralph Sampson

Sampson is listed at 7'4" and of course was the number one overall pick in 1984, and won rookie of the year. Ralph Sampson had huge expectations coming out of college. He had huge expectations, expected to be a scorer like Wilt and win championships like Bill Russell. This obviously did not happen. He put up great numbers in his first few years in the league, even going to an all star game, winning the all star game MVP in 1985. In 1987 he was injured midway through the season and was never the same player after that. Ralph was unable to play a full season after this and retired in 1991. He was traded multiple times, and did play overseas for a few years, but Ralph could've been one of the greatest centers of all time had it not been for injuries.

8. Baron Davis

Davis was taken third overall by the charlotte Hornets in 1999 out of UCLA. His rookie season he played off the bench behind guys like Eddie Jones and David Wesley, but from then on he became a starter and an exciting player to watch! Known for his explosiveness and much improved jumper in the latter stages of his career, Baron Davis had the makings to become a star and franchise players. In 2002 the Hornets relocated to New Orleans, and from then on Davis' injuries began. He played in only 50 games in 2002 and usually was unable to finish a season without missing a chunk of the season. In 2005 he was traded to the Warriors, and in 2007 had one of the biggest upsets in the playoffs! The Warriors beat the number one seeded Dallas Mavericks. Davis played three years with the Clippers where he had sustained more injuries. He played one year with the Cavaliers and one year with the Knicks before calling it a career. Davis had two all star appearances but injuries certainly derailed his career.

7. Shaun Livingston

Shaun Livingston was the number four overall pick in 2004 to the Los Angeles Clippers. He came straight out of high school, and what was interesting about the tall point guard is that he stands at 6'7". Livingston began his career with injuries as he only played in 91 out of the potential 162 games he could have played in. The next season was his breakout year, but was short lived as he suffered one of the most disturbing knee injuries imaginable. His left leg literally snapped in half and suffered damage to most ligaments in his left knee. It took a year and half for him to be medically cleared to play. Teams were not enthused to pick him up and bounced around for several years. He did manage to win three championships and provide serviceable bench minutes for the Golden State Warriors, but his career certainly could have been different without the gruesome injury.

6. Danny Manning

Danny Manning was the number one overall pick to the Los Angeles Clippers. He suffered a knee injury twenty six games into his rookie campaign, but was able to come back the following year. Danny's best season came in 1992 averaging nearly 23 points a game. He earned an all star appearance in this year and the following year. He was traded to the Atlanta Hawks in 1994 for Dominique Wilkins and a first round pick. From here on out he was not the same player as injuries continued to play a major part. He had good years averaging about 13 points per game with the hawks, but certainly was not up to par with his 20 plus point per game average earlier on in his career. Manning also won the 6th man of the year award with the Phoenix Suns. Danny was one of the first players to come back from reconstructive knee surgeries on both of his knees.

5. Reggie Lewis

Reggie Lewis was the twenty second overall pick to the Boston Celtics in 1987. He did not play much in his rookie season, but an injury to the legendary Larry Bird, allowed him so start and play more minutes. Reggie Lewis took advantage of this and was shown to be a great scorer. He was named to the all star game in 1992, in his only appearance. The following year in the playoffs he collapsed in the middle of a game, and it was due to heart problems. The following off season on July 27 1993, Lewis suffered sudden cardiac death on the court of a practice game in Massachusetts. It is sad to see someone's life take an away at such a young age, and with so much potential. Lewis was entering his prime and would've been really exciting to see how his future could have taken off.

4. Yao Ming

Yao Ming is tied for second to being the second tallest basketball player ever. Shawn Bradley is also 7'6". Yao was highly touted coming out of China as the number one overall pick by the Houston Rockets. Yao was the first player to every be drafted number one internationally. He finished second in the rookie of the year voting in 2002. In his first three seasons he only missed two games. His next six seasons after were just plagued with foot and ankle problems. Yao had seasons where he averaged more than 20 points, 10 rebounds, and 2 blocks per game. He was just not able to stay healthy. He was never able to play more than 57 games in a season besides in 2008 where he played in 77. Yao Ming was forced to retire in 2011. A combination of his height and constant injuries really shortened in what could have been an amazing career for Yao Ming.

3. Tracy McGrady

Former teammate of Yao Ming, Tracy McGrady was drafted ninth overall by the Toronto Raptors in 1997. He is one of my all time favorite players, as he was just an exciting player to watch. He really developed into a good player with Toronto, but in his years with Orlando and Houston is where he really thrived. McGrady is a seven time all star and a two time scoring champion. This man put up some MVP caliber numbers for about a seven year stretch in the NBA. He had a couple seasons where he could not complete a season and towards the latter part of his career was not the same player he was due in part to his injuries. Getting older and having injuries is not a good combination. I also would have liked to see Tracy advance further in the playoffs, but it unfortunately did not happen. With his years in Orlando and years with Yao Ming and the rockets, Tracy could have been an all time scoring great. Injuries to he and Yao certainly took away from some playoff victories as well, as the two were not able to play together very much in their time in Houston.

2. Brandon Roy

Brandon Roy was taken 6th overall in 2006 by the Portland Trailblazers. In my opinion Roy was Damian Lillard before Damien Lillard. Roy hit so many big shots and game winners in his five years with the Trailblazers. He was rookie of the year in 2007 and voted an all star three times in his short lived career. Making in impact so fast into his career and then having to retire 5 years later is just a huge travesty. Roy announced in 2011 that his knees regenerated so much. He lacked cartilage in both of his knees. He gave it another try in 2012 with the Minnesota Timberwolves, but only managed to play five games before needing surgery on his right knee. Roy was an exciting player to watch, and is just an unfortunate circumstance.

1. Penny Hardaway

Anfernee "Penny" Hardaway was drafted third over by the Golden State Warriors, but was traded to the Orlando Magic on draft night. Penny learned how to play point guard and midway through his rookie season he took over the point guard duties. Penny was a gifted 6'7" point guard. The man could do it all, score, rebound, and pass. He was a four time all star in his career. After Hardaway's third season the injuries started to take a toll on his body. He was able to play in 75 games once more after that, and the man had a fifteen year career. Penny had his own shoe and starred in many commercials in the 90's. Injuries and the departure of Shaq in 1996 certainly played a factor in what could've been an amazing career.


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