Being in the right place at the right time could be more than enough to bring the most out of a player, either because the system works right for them, because the coach inspires him, or just because they’re more motivated.
Some players have gone through really tough situations throughout their NBA career, with their colleagues and the media overlooking them, mocking them, disrespecting them or just feeling sorry for them.
Either because of lack of confidence or playing time or because rough injuries, some players have been left out of the league for good, while others have had the chance to prove their worth elsewhere and take their careers back from the ashes. Today, we’re going to talk about some players and the teams that truly saved their careers.
4. JaVale McGee
Not so long ago, JaVale McGee was considered to be the league’s laughing stock, being the yearly frontrunner to win the Shaqtin-A’Fool MVP due to his constant miscues and hilarious mental breakdowns.
McGee completely fell off of the Wizards and Nuggets rotation and it looked like he wasn’t going to have another shot at being a true factor until the Golden State Warriors gave him the chance to prove his worth. Now, once considered to be a clown, he’s a two time NBA Champion and has brought a lot of hustle and energy in both sides of the backboard for the strongest team on NBA history.
3. Jeremy Lin
Jeremy Lin was struggling to establish himself as a solid rotation player in the NBA. While the Warriors thought of him as Curry’s backup, the league’s lockdown and a nagging injury prevented him from staying with the team, then signing with the Rockets just to be waived before the start of the season.
That’s when the Knicks reached out to Lin to be the team’s 4th point guard behind Toney Douglas, Baron Davis and Mike Bibby, even sending him to the G-League affiliate for most of the time. But, after coach D’antoni leaned on Lin on a desperate attempt to make a comeback, Linsanity was born, and thanks to that outstanding stretch, he’s still on the league after being just on the verge of being waived once again.
2. Shaun Livingston
Shaun Livingston suffered one of the most heartbreaking and cringe-worthy injuries in the history of all major sports, and he was even on the verge of losing his leg after dislocating his left kneecap, tearing his ACL, PCL, lateral meniscus, dislocating his patella and even spraining his MCL.
His contract with the Clippers expired and it took him almost 2 years to make a comeback to the league, beating all odds after everybody thought he was doomed, missing over 100 games in the first 3 years of his career. Nonetheless, when the Nets gave him another shot, he proved his versatility as a defender and great playmaking skills as well, up to the point where the Warriors leaned on him to run the team’s second offense. Now, he’s a 3 time NBA Champion.
1. Danny Green
Danny Green was drafted late in the 2nd round with the 49th overall pick by the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2009, but he barely saw any playing time at all and spent most of his minutes with the team’s G-League affiliate until the San Antonio Spurs signed him as a free agent, just to find that the league was ready for a lockout.
During the lockout, Green played overseas with Slovenia’s KK Union Olimpija but was lucky enough to find his way back to San Antonio following the strike. Now, Green has become one of the league’s best 3 and D players, an NBA Champion and the first player to ever score 5 three-pointers without a miss on NBA Finals history, as well as owning the record for most threes scored on a Finals series with 25.