NBA Players That Have Revived Or Saved Their Careers

Posted by C.L. Anthony on Saturday, March 01, 2014 with No comments
Written By Clevis Murray 

For years the NBA has been filled with great feel good stories which have included comebacks, redemption and sacrifice.  An example of this is a player who hops around from team to team and is eventually out of the league but through dedication and hard work the player makes a grand return and upon that return has a better understanding of the NBA and that the league is simply not for everyone.  More appreciation for the league is born as he now knows that he’s blessed to be a part of it and that millions of men would kill to be in his position.  The Players mentioned below are the perfect example of feel good stories due to having seen their promising careers diminish for a variety of reasons and then finally witnessing their redemption through hard work and in some cases life style changes.
Gerald Green, G/F, Phoenix Suns:
Gerald Green was drafted by the Boston Celtics with the 18th pick in the 2005 NBA Draft and became known around the league for his dunking ability. Dunking makes you popular among fans but not among GMs and scouts as they look for more in a player. Green showed signs of becoming a great NBA player since he gained comparisons to then Houston Rockets star G/F Tracy McGrady, but since Boston he would go on to make stops in Minnesota, Dallas, Houston, New Jersey, Indiana, and a few overseas and D-league teams and now has landed in Phoenix. Green has been on 11 teams NBA and overseas combined within a 10 year span. Now with Phoenix the 28-year old is having the best season of his career and might've found a home in the valley of the sun as he is now averaging 15.6 points (career-high), 3.5 rebounds (career-high), 1.6 assists (career-high) and 28.9 minutes (career-high) and recently had 41 points (career-high) and 8 3-pointers (career-high) against OKC. He also has a 16.4 Player Efficiency Rating which is 14th among SGs. The injury to Eric Bledsoe has been a blessing to Green as he seen a opportunity and took and is now part of the rotation and will be a key contributor in the playoffs for Phoenix. 

Danny Green, G/F, San Antonio Spurs:

Danny Green had a pretty good collegiate career at UNC and was drafted by the Cleveland Cavaliers with the 46th pick in the 2009 NBA Draft. During his rookie year with the Cavaliers he was more known for his dancing skills on the bench than his in-game production and saw stints in the D-league. In 2010 he was signed by the Spurs and eventually waived by the team and returned to the D-league. The Spurs would go on to yet again re-sign him and sent him back to the D-league, he also played overseas during the lockout of 2011 before it ended. Green looked like he was heading out the league but when the Spurs gave him a second chance he took it and ran with it as he averaged 10.5 points that season and gained a reputation around the league as one of the best 3-point shooters. Green was a key part for the Spurs in their run to the finals last season and was a killer beyond the arc in the series against Miami as he set a NBA record with 27 made 3s. Green took his play in the finals to inspire him as he said "Great experience, definitely a confidence-booster for sure. It let me know I can play on this level, pretty much on any level."

Michael Beasley, F, Miami Heat:

Coming out of college Michael Beasley was regarded as one of the best freshmen during the 2000s since he averaged 26.2 points and 12.4 rebounds during his only season at Kansas State and would go on to be drafted by the Miami Heat with the No.2 pick in the 2008 NBA Draft. Beasley was off to a great start to his career in his first two seasons but off the court he was a mess with drug problems, suicidal thoughts and rehab. Back in 2008 during the NBA's Rookie Symposium Beasley was with Darell Arthur and Mario Chalmers in a room full of women and weed, eventually the police appeared to have handled their business but what some might or might now know is the Beasley somehow escaped the room leaving his friends to fend for themselves and after news was reported about the incident ESPN had written up a article about it but for some odd reason withdrew Beasley's name from it which left many people dumbfounded as to why. The NBA would go on to fine Beasley $50K while Arthur and Chalmers were fined $20K. Pat Riley would eventually convince Beasley to admit that he was in the room with the two other players. Beasley would go on to make stops in Minnesota and Phoenix, he said Phoenix would be a new start for him but was waived due to marijuana charges. Each place he had been he had a drug related problem and after being released by the Suns he was at the lowest point of his career until the Miami Heat signed him and since then he has had no problems and is becoming a key contributor to the team in his limited time on the court and will show folks why he was drafted so high back in '08.

Thomas Robinson, F/C, Portland Trail Blazers:

Coming out of Kansas after his junior year he was the 2012 Big 12 Player of the Year and the AP Big 12 Player of the Year. Robinson showed drastic improvement each season in college and exploded as a NBA prospect his junior year and at the conclusion of that season he declared for the draft. He would go on to be drafted by the Sacramento Kings with the 5th pick in 2012 and was thought of as the next big thing and the future of Sacramento and personally I thought he was a future star in the league. In Sacramento he struggled and just a mere 51 games into his career he was traded to the Houston Rockets and played there for 19 games before being traded to Portland in the summer. Robinson was now on his 3rd NBA team in two seasons but has recreated himself with the Blazers and is motivated this season because of what happen his rookie year saying "I never felt this disrespected as a basketball player." He is a key player to the Blazers surprise season coming off the bench and with his 14.29 Player Efficiency Rating (PER) and is also averaging 13.9 points and 12.8 rebounds per 36 minutes with 1 block and with stats like those if he actually played 36 minutes a game, he would easily be mentioned in the same sentence with other Power Forwards but for now in Portland he's like Kenneth Faried and is a very athletic, strong and intense player. Robinson has been a great surprise but those who have followed his story appreciate his success since his mother and grandparents passed away a few years ago.

Greg Oden, C, Miami Heat:

When he was coming out of Ohio State he gained comparisons to Bill Russell and Shaquille O'Neal and was the No.1 pick by the Portland Trail Blazers in 2007. Before he made his NBA debut Greg Oden needed microfracture surgery on his right knee and was done for the 2007-2008 season. In his NBA debut Oden suffered a foot injury and was out two weeks then he would go on to suffer a left knee injury and miss three weeks. In 2009 he underwent surgery to repair a fractured left patella which required microfracture surgery on his left knee and would miss the remainder of that season. Oden would go on to have two more surgeries, one on each knee and was eventually waived by Portland. When he played he was a very productive but was just injury prone. Oden reached a low point in his life but found motivation and would go on to sign with the Miami Heat and play his first NBA game since 2009. Miami is currently bringing Oden back slowly but steadily as they aren't rushing him back giving him all the time he needs and this season he has been productive in limited minutes and will become a key contributor during the playoffs.

Chris Andersen, C, Miami Heat:

"The Birdman" aka Chris Andersen has become one of the best shot blockers in the NBA but before that he hopped around the league as his professional career started overseas and then to the D-league. Andersen wouldn't actually play a NBA game until 2001. Everything was good for him until 2006 when he was kicked out of the league due to testing positive to a banned substance and the league called it drug abuse. Andersen was reinstated back into the NBA in 2008 and eventually released by New Orleans. "The Birdman" became known during his tenure and second stint with the Denver Nuggets in which he finished second in the league in blocks and also helped the team advance to the Western Conference Finals in 2009. He would eventually be amnestied by Denver in 2012 but in 2013 he was signed by Miami and part of their 27 game win-streak and were 37-3 when he played. He would become a key member to the Heat becoming the 2013 NBA champions and is still a key contributor now and has been out of the media for the wrong reasons until he was wrongly accused of child pornography, personation, extortion which made him the victim of a hoax and was "catfished", he called the case "Manti Te'o on steroids." Besides that he's being himself despite sadly cutting his infamous Mohawk.

P.J. Tucker, F, Phoenix Suns:

You may or may not have heard of P.J. Tucker, but he has become one of the toughest players in the NBA. Tucker was originally drafted by the Toronto Raptors in 2006 with the 35th pick. He only played 83 minutes with Toronto and was eventually waived by the team and would go on to be out the NBA for five years. Tucker made stops in the D-league but most played overseas. Now think about this real quick, Tucker was not given a opportunity in the NBA and was out for five years, not many young men would have the determination and hard work to continue to follow their dreams but he did and in 2012 he was signed by the Phoenix Suns, he had a good first season with Phoenix and unlike many NBA players , Tucker had volunteered to be part of the Suns 2013 summer league team. This season he is averaging 9.3 points (career-high) and 6.5 rebounds (career-high). February 8th, 2014 he had his best game as a pro when he finished the game against GSW with 16 points, 15 rebounds, and 4 steals and would also have another game with 16 rebounds. Tucker has become known around the league for his work ethic and tenacious defense with his built and has also become a great rotation player for Phoenix as they continue to surprise this season.

Andray Blatche, F/C, Brooklyn Nets:

Andray Blatche was drafted by the Washington Wizards in 2005 with the 49th pick and in his tenure with the team was pretty good but in April of 2010 he desperately tried to get a triple-double against the New Jersey Nets. In the closing seconds of the game he fought for his 10th rebound but became mad because a foul was called, became mad at Cartier Martin for not letting him grab the rebound which would've gave him the triple-double, when JaVale McGee went to the free-throw line he asked Yi Jianlian if he could let him get the rebound just incase McGee missed, when McGee made the free-throw Blatche ran down the court hoping that Devin Harris would miss the layup but didn't and lastly with 4.2 second left, Blatche demanded the ball and ran the length of the court to miss a shot and get his 10th rebound but failed. Blatche would go on to receive much criticism for his actions. With the Wizards he was benched due to conditioning and eventually amnestied, he also said the Wizards tried to end his career. Moving forward, Blatche received a chance with the Brooklyn Nets and hasn't been a problem since signing the franchise.

Xavier Henry, G/F, Los Angeles Lakers:

Coming out of Kansas Henry was thought of as being the next Joe Johnson or Paul Pierce but his career and skill set hasn't really sent him in the direction of those All-Star, he was drafted by the Memphis Grizzlies with the 12th pick in 2010. Henry had sparse production while with Memphis and with the Hornets along with seeing time in the D-league. While with Memphis Henry gained slight criticism from his father Carl as he said "He’s going to do everything the coach tells him to do. And I think that’s his biggest downfall" and former teammate had some advice for Henry when he said "At that point in your career, people are going to say things about you and you’ve just got to stick to your guns, get better every day, and prove people wrong." Henry's first three seasons in the NBA made him look like a bust but when he signed with the LA Lakers and revived his career, in his debut he had a career-high 22 points and is also averaging a career-high 10 points per game. Right now he's currently in the D-league rehabbing from a nagging knee injury. Not many people know this but Xavier almost played overseas instead of college basketball but he seen the success in which most players that did had in the NBA and detected that idea.

Kendall Marshall, G, Los Angeles Lakers: 

Kendall Marshall was thought of as the next true Point Guard when the Phoenix Suns drafted him with the 13th pick in the 2012 NBA Draft from UNC. Marshall had a tumultuous rookie season with Phoenix in which he only appeared in 48 games while averaging 14.6 minutes per game (MPG) and spent time in the D-league. Phoenix would go on to trade Marshall the next season to Washington but he was immediately waived and left with nowhere to go as his NBA career was on hold. Instead of going overseas, Marshall decided to sign with the D-league but was gaining interest from the Memphis Grizzlies, Boston Celtics, Philadelphia 76ers and Los Angeles Lakers. The Lakers would go on to sign him and that decision has been great as he is now averaging 8.7 points, 3.1 rebounds and 9.5 assists. He's had career-highs with 20 points and 16 assists this season and has revived his career in LA when he was doubted. 

D.J. Augustin, G, Chicago Bulls:

D.J. Augustin was off to a great start with the Charlotte Bobcats when he drafted by the organization back in 2008 with the 9th pick. Augustin spent his first four season with Charlotte in which he averaged 10.9 points and 4.6 assists but averaged 12.8 points and 6.3 assists in his final two seasons with the team. When the Bobcats withdrew their qualifying offer from the guard he became a unrestricted free agent (UFA) and decided to sign with the Indiana Pacers in which was a forgettable season for him. Augustin's next stop was a brief stop in Toronto before he was waived and the young guard was running out of options to find a home. The Chicago Bulls picked him up and it turned to become a great decision for them as he is averaging 13.9 points and 5.3 assists this season with Chicago and Joakim Noah believes D.J. has saved the Bulls season. It's worth noting that Tom Thibadeau has a great history with backup Point Guards which includes C.J. Watson, Nate Robinson, Kirk Hinrich, John Lucas lll and now D.J. Augustin. So far in March he is averaging 19.8 points and is a key contributor with the Bulls as he has been the bright spot in what could've been a dim season once Derrick Rose suffered a Torn Meniscus. 

Robin Lopez, C, Portland Trail Blazers:

Robin Lopez was drafted by the Phoenix Suns back in '08 with the 15th pick and was a backup to Shaquille O'Neal and showed some flashes but for the most part his tenure in Phoenix was not what he expected and after four seasons with the Suns he was traded to the New Orleans Hornets in 2012. With NO he was doing well as he was having a career season and showing why he belonged in the league but he was yet again traded in the summer of 2013 to Portland. Lopez being traded was a great move for him career wise and for the Blazers since they were looking for Center and Lopez was looking for a opportunity on a winning team. This season he is averaging 10.8 points, 8.6 rebounds (career-high) and 1.7 blocks. He's been a great defensive presume in rip city as a defensive presence and is currently averaging 12.8 points and 8.8 rebounds in March.

All the players mentioned in this article seen that their careers were declining fast but didn't just stand and watch, instead they did something about it when three received another chance with another NBA team which means a new start and new beginning as all of the players have a good enough work ethic not let the negativity overrule them and push forward to make the best of a career that can't be predicted as to how long it could last. Right now there are players fighting to find a way back into the league one way or another looking for just one more chance.