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Top 15 NBA Players Who Fell Apart After Their Rookie Season

More than any other of the four major professional sports in the United States, the first round of the NBA Draft is the most top-heavy. It seems that almost all of the top superstars in the NBA were drafted in the first 10, if not the first five, selections overall.

There are a few later in the first round and the second round that break out, especially in their rookie season. When that happens, the fan bases think that they have a superstar in the making that can end up being the cornerstone of the franchise. No matter what spot you were selected in during the draft, the expectations are high after a good rookie season.

Some players weren’t able to capitalize on their hype after their first year in the league and seemingly fell off the face of the Earth. Here are 15 players that produced a lot of excitement in their first seasons, only to not meet expectations later on in their careers.

15 Christian Laettner

via twitter.com

14 Al Thornton

via en.wikipedia.org

13 Landry Fields

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

12 Tyreke Evans

Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

11 Jonny Flynn

via zimbio.com

10 O.J. Mayo

Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

9 Ray Felix

via findagrave.com

8 Salim Stoudamire

via tucson.com

7 Terry Dischinger

via hypun.com

6 Adam Morrison

via usatoday.com

5 Clark Kellogg

via cleveland.com

4 MarShon Brooks

via youtube.com

3 Phil Ford

via ibiblio.org

2 Richard Dumas

via nba.com

The Phoenix Suns selected Richard Dumas 46th overall in the 1991 NBA Draft. The 23 year-old rookie wasn’t expected to make much of an impact, but Dumas proved to be a strong piece for the Suns early on in his career. Averaging 15.8 points per game, Dumas received NBA All-Rookie Second Team honors. His future looked bright and it would’ve been had substance abuse problems not derailed his NBA career. He was suspended for the entirety of the 1993-94 season and couldn’t manage to recapture the magic of his rookie year when he came back to Phoenix the following season. After a one year stint in Philly, Dumas’ NBA career was over.

1 Ernie DiGregorio

via wikiwand.com

A lot of younger fans are wondering who in the world Ernie DiGregorio is. DiGregorio was the third overall pick by the Buffalo Braves (yes, that team existed) in 1973 out of Providence. DiGregorio started off great, scoring 15.2 points per game in his rookie year while also averaging 8.2 assists (which led the league). In fact, DiGregorio still has the record for most assists in a game for a rookie that season with 25. After that magical year, though, DiGregorio would only play in one more full season and he never came close to putting up those numbers. After a knee injury, DiGregorio was out of the league in 1978 at just 27 years old.

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Top 15 NBA Players Who Fell Apart After Their Rookie Season