The average career of an NBA player is only 4.8 years. This means that most players don't even get the chance to have their career come crashing down on them, simply because they never really had a career in the first place while players who are lucky enough and talented enough to establish themselves as all-stars or solid rotation players often don't see the end coming.
As a professional athlete, you are completely dependent on your own body, and the health of your body. There are too many stories of athletes losing their jobs because they were injury-prone. Sometimes it's not just the injury that costs a player his job. The injury combined with another player stepping up in that absence often puts the team in a tough spot when the player is healthy again. A great example of that happened in Atlanta when Jeff Teague was injured and Dennis Schroeder stepped into the role. The Hawks were forced to part ways with Teague because they felt they had a better option in his replacement.
Another thing that can derail a career is being a specialty player. If you are able to do one single thing better than anyone, coaches and opponents will stop at nothing to stop whatever it is that you do so well. We all remember Mahmoud Abdul Rauf; he was the original Steph Curry, but ultimately he was forced into positions he was uncomfortable playing and his career sputtered.
With that said, let's jump into the 15 current players who will have their careers come crashing down soon.
15 Chandler Parsons
Parsons had some good, even great seasons when he was paired with James Harden and Dwight Howard. During his final season in Houston, he reached career highs in points, rebounds, and assists. After that season, Parsons entered free agency wherein the Dallas Mavericks offered him $46 million for three years. The Rockets refused to match the offer, so Chandler landed in Dallas.
14 Mike Conley
During this past offseason, there was a moment when Mike Conley was the highest paid basketball player of all time. He has since been passed by several other players, but the fact remains he's still among the highest. Conley has been a high quality point guard, especially on the defensive end of the floor, for years. What worries me about him now is that since he got paid, his game may begin to slide a bit -- whether it's from the pressure of expectations, or what I believe is more likely, the decline of his teammates.
13 Joel Embiid
Embiid has been doomed from the start of his career. He missed the first two seasons of his career due to a variety of injuries, and this season, he has been on a strict 20 minute per game restriction. In those 20 minutes, he has shown some potential and even gives the Sixers hope that they may be on the right track, finally.
12 Nick Young
"Swaggy P" has been living it up in Hollywood since 2013. He has played alongside Kobe Bryant, and he was there to see Kobe drop 50 in his final game. But now the Lakers are moving in a different direction, and they appear to be improving faster than many thought they could. It is no secret that Young and DeAngelo Russell are not the closest of pals anymore, and with Russell appearing to be the future in L.A. he may just want to rid the locker room of the old guard.
11 Victor Oladipo
There really is nothing wrong with Oladipo's game. It is more the circumstance that dictates the future of his career. In October, Victor signed a four-year extension with the OKC Thunder. The Thunder are of course Russell Westbrook's team. For the Thunder to win a championship, which they vow is their goal, they will need more than Westbrook and Oladipo to provide offense.
10 Paul Millsap
Turning 32 in February, Millsap is already on the wrong side of his career. Having spent his prime years with the Hawks, Millsap really has nothing to show for it to this point. The Hawks have all but given the keys to the team to Millsap now, and with the flawed roster they have, Millsap will not be able to carry that ship.
9 Marc Gasol
Already the least athletic team in the NBA, the Memphis Grizzlies are now faced with the aging of its best player. Marc Gasol is about to be 32 years old. The thing about Gasol that makes him different than most 32-year-olds is that he has played professionally since he was 17. On top of that, he plays with the Spanish National Team every offseason, which means his legs are much older than 32.
8 Harrison Barnes
Another young player who recently received a max contract without being a max skill player, Barnes was a very nice complimentary piece for the Golden State Warriors over the past few seasons. Like all championship teams do, the Warriors were forced to part ways with some of the pieces, and in this case, it was Harrison.
7 Tony Parker
Parker is a first ballot Hall of Famer, and one of the greatest point guards of his generation. However, his career is seemingly finished. It seems as if it was just last year when parker was leading the Spurs to incredible regulars seasons and deep playoff runs... oh, because it was.
6 Dwight Howard
"Superman," as he dubbed himself back in Orlando, Dwight Howard has actually been pretty resilient during his career. There was more than one time when most people believed Howard's injuries would sideline him for good, but somehow he came out on the other side.
5 LaMarcus Aldridge
As one of the most underrated big men in the NBA, it pains me to have to put Aldridge on this list, but it is too obvious that the end is near for me to not include him.
4 Isaiah Thomas
The diminutive Boston point man made his first All-Star game last season and he deserved it. Thomas lit the league on fire last season. He was a one-man wrecking crew on most nights. He was able to maneuver his little body into places and positions nobody in the league could, since maybe Nate Robinson.
3 DeMar DeRozan
DeMar has one of the oddest games in the current NBA. He relies incredibly heavily on his mid-range and long-range two-point shot. He is what analytics experts are trying to eliminate from the game.
2 Carmelo Anthony
One of the old men of the league now, Melo has been at it since 2003. His game has evolved as he has gotten up in age, and he has continually found ways to put the ball in the basket. Coming into this season, the Knicks were hopeful that Derrick Rose and Joakim Noah could return to their old selves after returning from injuries. That plan has not worked out as well as they hoped thus far. Plan B was that maybe Melo and Kristaps Porzingis would step up and carry the team, but that too has not happened.
1 Steph Curry
Steph Curry was the guy that sucker punched the league while nobody was looking. He came in as a little skinny kid with an attitude and a mean jumper. He was overlooked because those types come and go every season, but Curry was different. Nobody had EVER shot the way Steph did. He caught the league by surprise and fine-tuned his game to the point where the league couldn't catch up.
Well, a few years have now passed since Steph broke out and took the NBA hostage -- a few years for Gregg Popovich to devise a plan to stop him. A few years for LeBron James to realize his league was slipping from his fingertips just as he got a hold of it.
In those few years, the elite and true gods of the game have regained their footing, and along the way, everyone else followed. Steph Curry is on his way to becoming just a really good jump shooter again. His rise to power was lighting quick, just like his jump shot, but the fall from grace could happen just as quickly.
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