Tick Tock: Time is Now or Never For These NBA Players

Faizan QurashiAnalyst IIAugust 24, 2010

Tick Tock: Time is Now or Never For These NBA Players

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    They say time stops for no one.

    Well that's exactly the case with the players on this list. They've all endured hardships and faced adversity but now they must put all this behind them and realize that they don't have as much time as they used to. 

    I've included youngsters on this list who can still show the world of all the potential they once had and prove they can still be players in this league and I've included veterans that want to re-gain the form they once had that made them All-Stars in this league. 

    The clock is ticking for these players to show the world that they still have something to prove...

12. Joe Alexander

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    Yes, I realize Joe Alexander doesn't even have an NBA contract to play up to, but you have to realize that he was the eighth pick in the 2008 NBA draft, meaning teams must have seen some potential in him for him to have been a lottery pick. 

    Alexander is still only 23 so he can still develop into something useful. This means that it's a good bet that some team out there will give him a chance to earn a spot on their roster and hopefully contribute in one way or another. 

    This means that Alexander needs to realize the potential that he has that made him a lottery pick in one of the best drafts in recent history. He needs to buckle down and work his butt off to receive a training camp invite to an NBA roster and hopefully make himself into a useful player. 

    It's a shame when such young talent is gone to waste. Thankfully, Alexander still has time to change that. 

11. Adam Morrison

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    Similar to Joe Alexander, Adam Morrison also does not have an NBA contract to play for as his contract expired recently with the NBA champion Los Angeles Lakers. 

    The situation in L.A. was pretty awful for Morrison, who developed a terrible reputation as a bench warmer. His value has gone down significantly and teams see him as nothing more than an end of the bench, roster-filler. 

    However, there are still some teams out there intrigued by Morrison's potential. Let's remember, he was still the third pick in the 2006 NBA draft, picked ahead of the likes of Brandon Roy, Rajon Rondo, and Rudy Gay, so it's obvious team's saw something in him that they liked. 

    Morrison has had a few workouts for teams such as the Wizards, Clippers, and Bulls. While he didn't impress, he still showed signs of a guy that can come in and provide some solid shooting if given the chance. 

    Morrison needs to realize that he may be nothing more than a role player in the near future but he can still develop. Hopefully, he can work hard enough to get a training camp invite and work his way back to being a respectable player.

    The clock is ticking for Adam Morrison to make something of himself.  

10. Brandan Wright

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    Ah, our first player with an actual NBA contract. Wright is locked in for another two years, but the last year is a team option. 

    So basically, the Warriors can cut him loose if he doesn't play up to standards by declining his team option. 

    The time is now for Wright to shine. The time is now for Wright to avoid injuries and prove to the Warriors why they've still kept him on their squad and haven't made him trade bait. 

    The Warriors shipped off a good portion of their players to clear up some room for Wright to receive playing time. No longer are Anthony Randolph, Ronny Turiaf, and Corey Maggette going to take away minutes from Wright. 

    Although the PF and C spots are set for the Warriors in the near future with David Lee and Andris Biedrins, Brandan Wright can still carve out a niche with this team as a solid role player that brings energy off the bench. 

    Wright needs to step it up this year or he may get his option declined and pack his bags for Europe. 

9. J.J. Hickson

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    Before Cavs fans begin to attack me for putting their beloved Hickson on this list, I will give you some solid reasons as to why J.J. Hickson belongs on this list. 

    It's been well-documented this summer about how LeBron James has left the Cavaliers for greener pastures and that can only be positive for Hickson's growth and potential. 

    However, Hickson needs to realize that if he doesn't turn into the star player the Cavs' organization envisions him to be, he may become nothing more than a pretty bench player for the rest of this career. 

    Hickson will be given more playing time than he can handle this year and if he doesn't show that he's ready to assume that first or second option role, The Cavs may choose to go in another direction. 

    Hickson still has three years left on his deal but the second year is a team option, which means this is the year Hickson needs to shine brighter than ever. 

    Hickson is playing for something that should mean more to him than anything at this point and that's an NBA contract. 

8. Mike Conley

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    Yes folks, it's the great Mike Conley. It seem's he's been in the NBA for ages now and looks like a seasoned veteran, however Conley is only 22 years old and has completely underwhelmed as player that was drafted fourth in the 2007 NBA Draft. 

    Conley, up to this point in his career has done nothing to justify being picked over players such as Jeff Green, Joakim Noah, Aaron Brooks, and Marc Gasol. His career averages of 10.9 ppg and 4.7 apg are quite underwhelming, considering a player like Conley was projected to be a quality starting NBA point guard. 

    Now entering his fourth year and second to last year of his contract, Conley doesn't have much time to waste. If he doesn't prove that he's the future at PG, then he may not get the extension he desires. The Grizzlies have a qualifying offer option next year that they might or might not offer to Conley. 

    Mike Conley needs to show the Grizzlies the he is their PG of the future, and prove he is more than an average PG in the NBA, who seems like he'll bounce around from team to team. 

    If the same Mike Conley of the past three years shows up again this year, he may play himself right out of a contract. 

7. Hasheem Thabeet

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    Hasheem Thabeet's story is an interesting one. He was never expected to be a star coming out of UConn, but you don't get chosen second overall, over players such as Tyreke Evans, Stephen Curry, and Darren Collison, to play in the D-league in the middle of your rookie year. 

    Unfortunately, that's just what happened to Thabeet, as the Grizzlies sent him down to the NBDL in hopes that may be able to utilize all the potential he has and become a dominant defensive force that the Grizzlies pictured he would be when they took him second overall. 

    In terms of contract issues, Thabeet still has four years left on his deal but after this season, it's a team option, which means the Grizzlies may come to the conclusion that they made a mistake in drafting Thabeet and decline his option.

    The Grizzlies have nothing to lose as they have a young and emerging center in Marc Gasol, who's locked in at that spot. So, the pressure is all on Thabeet on whether he wants to stay in the NBA for more than two years. 

    He certainly has the tools to become a serviceable player but he needs to realize that he doesn't have much more time. 

6. Josh Howard

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    It's unbelievable to think of the potential Josh Howard once had.

    At the peak of his current seven-year career, he once averaged 19.9 pgg and 7.0 rpg and was named an NBA All-star. Now you can see the great career Josh Howard once had ahead of him, as one of the building blocks for the Dallas Mavericks. 

    Three season later after his career year, Josh Howard was barely able to edge out a one-year deal with the Washington Wizards. A player of Howard's caliber should have been able to command much more.

    However, some off-court issues and injury-plagued season put a damper on Howard's career and he was never able to regain his All-Star form. 

    If this one-year deal should signify anything for Josh Howard, it's that he's on a time limit.

    The Wizards are in a full youth movement and are looking towards future talent to add to the team with John Wall as the centerpiece.

    Howard is already 30, but he has one last chance to show the Wizards that he can regain his All-Star form and become an important piece for the franchise or else Howard could be scavenging for NBA contracts the rest of his career. 

5. Shaun Livingston

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    One word comes to mind when you think of Shaun Livingston: Injury

    He had all the potential in the world, coming out of Peoria, Illinois as a 6'7" point guard, whose skills at one time were compared to that of Magic Johnson. 

    Unfortunately, that was a very long time ago, and Livingston never quite lived up to his comparison. His career was interrupted by a devastating knee injury in February 2007, which caused him to miss the remainder of the season and threatened to end his career. 

    Slowly but surely, Livingston has made his way back to the NBA, and has shown teams that while he may not be the same player, he can still contribute. 

    This summer, Livingston earned himself a contract with the Charlotte Bobcats and if Livingston has learned anything from his past, it's that opportunities don't come around too often. 

    He needs to take advantage of his situation and fight for the starting PG spot with D.J. Augustin and carve out a role with the team because if he doesn't, then he may need to pack his bags and go overseas if he hopes to find another contract. 

4. Tracy McGrady

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    Mr. Tracy Lamar McGrady. 

    Where to start with him. I'm sure most of you already know his credentials that include two-time scoring champ,seven-time NBA All-star, numerous All-NBA team selections, etc. 

    That's not what we are here to talk about though. Similar to many players on this list, McGrady has been plagued by injuries his whole career. He's been injured so many times that people can't even seem to recall the perennial All-Star McGrady once was. 

    After his showcase with the Knicks last year, he didn't do nearly enough to warrant the Knicks to give him a contract. So he attempted to join an up-an-coming team in Chicago, but was less than impressive in his workout with the Bulls and talked his way right out of a contract. 

    The problem with McGrady isn't that he still can't contribute (maybe he still can), it's that he feels he's still a top-tier talent in the NBA and warrants a starting spot in the rotation. Unfortunately for McGrady, those days are behind him. 

    He was lucky enough to receive a contract from Detroit and this may prove to be his last chance at redemption to show the world that while T-Mac isn't the All-NBA talent he once was, he can still contribute to a team. 

    If McGrady doesn't feel he's receiving enough playing time in the NBA then he needs to "take his talents" overseas because that's the only place that may grant his wish. 

3. Michael Redd

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    Michael Redd was once an All-Star and the franchise player for the Milwaukee Bucks, who in his peak, was as deadly of a shooter as anyone in the NBA and averaged 25.4 points per game. 

    Redd become the unfortunate victim of a number of injuries that jeopardized his career. Each season that he's tried to make a comeback, he has fallen victim to another injury. 

    Now entering the last year of his $91 million contract, Redd is hoping to make another comeback and show the Bucks that he can still be a cornerstone of their franchise that he once was. Unfortunately for Redd, the Bucks see him as nothing more than an overpaid contract as his $18 million contract may help return future assets to Milwaukee. 

    Redd needs to show the Bucks and the rest of the NBA that he can still play to the level of his once All-star form, and while he may never play enough to justify his current contract, he could still do enough to merit another decent contract from the Bucks or another NBA team. 

    The time is ticking for Michael Redd

2. Gilbert Arenas

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    Everyone remembers how Gilbert Arenas was once the franchise player for the Washington Wizards.

    Well do they also remember that Arenas was once a three-time All-Star, three-time member of the All-NBA teams, voted most improved in the 2002-03 season and once averaged 29.3 points and 6.1 assist a game. If you didn't, you know now.

    Arenas was an unquestionably talented player that was just about to stamp his name within the game's elite players. Then injuries and some-questionable decision making changed his entire career. 

    Years later, the Wizards won the NBA draft lottery and chose John Wall to be the new face of the franchise, and Arenas is left with nothing to show for other than past credentials. 

    Now Arenas needs to realize that while it may not be his team anymore, the Wizards are still giving him a chance to return to his All-Star form alongside the new starting PG for the Wizards in John Wall. Arenas will be taking on a completely new role this season as the off-guard and if he fails to comply then the Wizards may bench him or buyout his contract. 

    Arenas has to know that he can't afford to mess up again because if he does, then this may be his last meaningful contract in the NBA. 

1. Greg Oden

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    Greg Oden has the biggest shoes to fill of anybody in this list. He has to live up to being the No. 1 overall draft pick, who was chosen over superstar scoring machine, Kevin Durant. 

    While Durant has already added a rookie of the year award, a scoring title, an All-Star berth, and an All-NBA first team selection to his credentials, Oden has yet to achieve anything except earning a reputation of being injury-prone. 

    He's played a combined 82 games in a total of three seasons and while it's not necessarily his fault that he gets injured so many times, something has to give.

    Oden is entering the final year of his rookie contract and the Blazers have not decide to extend him an offer, feeling as though he may not be the future franchise center they were looking for. 

    If Oden doesn't stay healthy and play well this year then he may not even receive the qualifying offer from the Blazers, thus cutting him completely loose and allowing him to be an unrestricted free-agent.

    And if the Blazers themselves don't see a reason to keep the former No. 1 draft pick, why would any other NBA team?

    Greg Oden needs to realize that if he doesn't find a way to stay healthy and play up to par this season, he may very well end up being known as the second coming of the infamous Blazer "Sam Bowie."

    And everyone knows who he was picked before...