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NBA Busts Who Have One Last Chance To Save Their Careers This Season

Credit: USA Today

Credit: USA Today

Young players take a while to develop and even though some may take longer than others due to hundreds of factors, patience starts to run out when high lottery picks fail to improve and prove their worth.

Over the course of history, some great flops of the likes of Anthony Bennett, Jimmer Fredette or Derrick Williams wind up being big busts nobody even talks about anymore despite being highly ranked as one of the top prospects in the world.

And several young men are on the verge of suffering the same fate as they enter the 2018-19 campaign with a lot of pressure on their shoulders, knowing this may be their last chance to play in the league. Today, we’ll talk about 10 guys that will have their last shot this season.

10. Jahlil Okafor

Jahlil Okafor Brooklyn Nets

It’s now or never for Big Jah. He turned down a lot of offers to play overseas in China as he was keen and determined to prove that he has what it takes to make it in the NBA before finally signing with the New Orleans Pelicans.

Being drafted as high as 3rd overall, his heavy feet and lack of defensive awareness and commitment have put huge question marks over his head, but he’s still quite young and has the offensive upside to be a nice asset off the bench.

9. Stanley Johnson

Mandatory Credit: Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

Mandatory Credit: Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

Stanley Johnson looked as if he was going to be a stud, but besides being a great off-ball defender and trash talking the hell out of LeBron James, he hasn’t done anything good so far in the league.

Johnson is a horrid shooter and hasn’t improved the slightest over his tenure with the Detroit Pistons, and with him set to become a restricted free agent at the end of the season, he has to prove that he can produce or he’ll wind up having to settle for a minimum contract next year.

8. Michael Carter-Williams


Michael Carter-Williams has pretty much lost all of his confidence and offensive stroke after such an impressive and promising start of his career, up to the point where he constantly misses wide open layups.

Airballing jump shots aren’t going to get you a lot of money and MCW knows that, so hopefully Mike D’Antoni can work his magic on him and make him yet another one of his outstanding point guards.

7. Sam Dekker

Sam Dekker

Sam Dekker was supposed to be a lights-out scorer from all three levels when he entered the league, but an injury stalled his development up to the point where he only played during garbage time.

He’s an athletic freak and a very solid shooter that needs touches in order to get his groove, and now that he’s headed to the Cavs, he may finally have the volume he craves in order to thrive and prove his worth.

6. Mario Hezonja

Mario Hezonja

Mario Hezonja is one of the most talented foreign players in the league, but the lack of playing time he got early on made him force a lot of things in the offensive end in order to show his talents.

Now that he’s going to have the green light to shoot the rock with the lousy New York Knicks, he may finally have the chance to prove his upside, but if he fails, he’s likely headed back to Europe.

5. Emmanuel Mudiay

Emmanuel-Mudiay-1 knicks

There was a time when Emmanuel Mudiay was considered to be the best point guard of his class, and with his speed and strength, everybody thought he could be something of the likes of a better Russell Westbrook.

Needless to say, his horrible jump shot and flaws as an off-ball player have made him a huge bust, but Coach Fizdale stated that he’s determined to make the most out of the young point guard.

4. Trey Burke

Trey Burke

Trey Burke miserably failed to make a good impression during his first stint in the NBA, but following a lot of hard work and great performances in the G-League, he earned a call-up by the Knicks and wind up having a strong finish to the season.

There’s a major logjam at the point guard spot at New York and he’s going to have to earn for his minutes despite Mudiay and Ntilikina being on board, but he already looks like the best offensive option among the three of them.

3. Nerlens Noel

Nerlens Noel

Nerlens Noel took one of the worst financial decisions this league has ever seen by betting on himself and rejecting a 4 year - 70 million dollar extension with the Dallas Mavericks just to wind up getting a minimum 2-year deal a year after.

Noel has the upside to be one of the most dominant rim protectors in the league but constant injuries and lack of discipline have really taken a toll on his career. If he doesn’t impress this season, the Thunder is likely to decline their team option and it would be it for him in the NBA.

2. Nik Stauskas

nik stauskas 41421412

Nik Stauskas was supposed to be a better version of Kyle Korver and one of the deadliest shooters in the league right away after impressing in Michigan, but he hasn’t even been able to hold on to a starting spot in the league.

He’s a major defensive liability and hasn’t even been able to consistently connect from three-point territory, not to mention the fact that other than off-ball shooting, he doesn’t bring much upside, so this may be his last chance.

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1. Cameron Payne


Coming off a small basketball program, there were a lot of doubts regarding Cameron Payne’s ability to make it in the NBA and so far, he hasn’t done much to prove that he actually has what it takes to make it.

Injuries have taken a toll on his game but he hasn’t impressed when healthy either. Still, he may have a lot of playing time behind Kris Dunn this season and who knows? May actually take his starting point guard spot if Dunn fails to improve as a shooter.