The NBA's 5 Most Depressing Falls from Grace

Roberto Payne@@HouseofPayne555Contributor INovember 11, 2012

The NBA's 5 Most Depressing Falls from Grace

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    Falling from grace is tough in any profession. Professional sports is extra brutal in this regard.

    Athletes are counted on to produce in line with lofty expectations and often struggle to maintain success over the duration of their careers.

    More often than not, athletes slow down with age, but that's not always the case.

    Just look at Eddy Curry and Andris Biedrins. They both lost their appeal and talents during the years they should be flourishing in.

    It's unfortunate, but the NBA has seen several cases of athletes not living up to expectations and eventually being labeled disappointments.

    Read on to see the NBA's five most depressing falls from grace.

Eddy Curry

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    Curry established himself in Chicago as a reliable post player after being drafted fourth overall in the 2001 draft and was traded to the New York Knicks after four years as a Bull.

    Curry had his greatest success with the Knicks and even scored 19.5 PPG during the 2006-07 season.

    As a Knick, Curry looked like a legitimate franchise center before conditioning issues derailed his season.

    That was the Eddy Curry of old, the new Eddy Curry can't stick with a team and is currently a free agent after playing last year with the Miami Heat.

    After playing for only two NBA teams in his first nine seasons, Curry has been on two teams in two years.

    Not exactly what you think of when a former top-five pick is mentioned.

Richard Jefferson

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    Richard Jefferson started out his career playing seven very solid seasons with the then New Jersey Nets and was a big part of the organization playing in two straight NBA finals.

    During his Nets career, Jefferson averaged 17.4 PPG, 5.4 RPG, 3.0 APG and was a fringe All-Star small forward.

    Jefferson was traded to the Milwaukee Bucks during the 2008 offseason and never regained the skills he showed in New Jersey.

    RJ bounced around from Milwaukee to San Antonio and eventually ended up with the Golden State Warriors. 

    As a Warrior, Jefferson has been relegated to bench role and is now playing behind a rookie.

    It's safe to say Jefferson has fallen far from his days in New Jersey.

Vince Carter

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    Vince Carter was half-man, half-amazing. He was more than just a basketball player, he was an icon.

    He had unbelievable dunks like this and was the most exciting player in the NBA for several teams.

    After starting out in just over six years with the Toronto Raptors, Carter had around four more consistent years with the New Jersey Nets before his career started on a downward spiral.

    Vince is coming off the worst season of his career in 2011-12 and is playing a career-low MPG this season.

    Age has not been kind to Vince Carter, as he is a shell of the player he was in his younger days.

Andris Biedrins

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    Andris Biedrins was selected 11th overall in the 2004 draft by the Golden State Warriors and has played the entirety of his career as a Warrior.

    Biedrins broke out in his third NBA season, coincidentally at which time the Warriors made history by upsetting the top-seeded Dallas Mavericks in the playoffs.

    During his team's improbably run, he established himself as a starting center and was rewarded with a lucrative six-year deal to stay in the Bay Area.

    Biedrins performed well in the first year of his new deal, but has played with incredible inconsistency since that first season.

    His ineffectiveness left the Warriors with a serious hole down low and handicapped the team for several years.

    Looking to fill the void at center that Biedrins was supposed to fill, the Warriors traded for Andrew Bogut last season.

Lamar Odom

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    Since being selected fourth overall in the 2004 draft by the Los Angeles Clippers, Lamar Odom has been a mesmerizing mix of size and skill.

    Odom was the quintessential point-forward type of player, a role he played extremely well for the Los Angeles Lakers.

    He won two titles with the Lakers before nearly getting traded in a deal that would have brought Chris Paul to the L.A.

    Shortly after the failed deal, Odom requested a trade and was sent to Dallas in what looked like a steal for the Mavs.

    Things did not work out for Odom in the Lone Star State and he ended up being shut down toward the end of the year. 

    He simply didn't look like the same player that had won the Sixth Man of the Year award just one season before. 

    Odom, once again with the Clippers, has really struggled so far this year and looks every bit of 33 years old.