The Disappearing Act: Ranking The NBA's Finest Magicians
In the NBA's history, there have always been players who seemingly "vanished". They get drafted, they sign a contract, they begin to play, and then a few seasons later they are no where to be seen. A perfect example of this is former jazz man Dee Brown. He was drafted and played a decent year as a back-up, then a year later he was no where to be found. I recently found out that he has been going back and forth between turkey, and NBA teams camps. Although Dee vanished, he can't be considered a magician. The magicians are players that had good things going, (or were supposed to be good things) and then all of a sudden they are no where to be found. In this slideshow I will rank the top ten players at the act of "disappearing".
Honorable mention: Smush Parker, Voshon Leonard, Cuttino Mobley, and Tyronn Lue
10. Deshawn Stevenson
The game that destroyed his career
Drew Hallowell/Getty Images
We start off with swingman Deshawn Stevenson. Being an avid Jazz fan my entire life, I remember the day the Jazz drafted Deshawn Stevenson at the number 23 spot. I remember articles and the media talking about how the Washington Union High product had the potential to be one of the best shooting guards of all time. As a rookie he didn't play much, but in his last years with the jazz he had developed into a pretty good starter. After several confrontations with head coach Jerry Sloan, Stevenson was traded to Orlando, and then to Washington. Stevenson's potential finally begin to show in the 2008 playoffs where they were in a very close series with Lebron and the Cavaliers. Deshawn and Lebron guarded eachother, and Stevenson was at times out playing the beloved James. However this did the opposite it should have, and rather than getting to Lebron, it got into Stevenson's head. Stevenson told the media after a 101-99 victory, "He's overrated, and you can say I said that" It was at this point that Deshawn's career immediately spiraled in a downward direction. Lebron replied by saying "would be like Soulja Boy trying to say something to Jay-z. After the series ended with Washington going back home, Stevenson seemingly vanished. The media hated him because he hated Lebron. Where is he now? He accepted the player option extension from Dallas where he averaged two ppg. In his best season he was averaging 11.4 ppg. So much for the next greatest?
9. Adam Morrison
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Adam "the ugly pirate" Morrison was selected with the third overall pick in the 2006 NBA draft. Although many peopled named him the draft class bust before the draft even took place, he surprisingly had a good rookie year. In the 30 mpg he averaged, he came a way with almost 12 points. This came as a surprise to many, and annalists kept a close eye going in to his sophomore year. Morrison however lost his starting job due to his 37 percent shooting, and also a lack of defense. His career averages dropped and he along with Shannon Brown was traded to the Lakers. Although he now has two rings, he hasn't been a contributor for a team since his rookie year. So although he has been around, his skills have magically disappeared, yet his stunning facial features remain.
8. Morris Almond
Almond Joy didn't bring joy to anyone but the D-league
Morris Almond was selected by the Utah Jazz with the 25 overall pick in the 2007 NBA draft. He never had much of an early career with the jazz to begin with and was sent to the "Utah Flash" D-League team in Utah. Being with the Utah Flash Morris Almond immediately became one of the best in the league. He was the D-League's Kobe. He had two games in his first season that he scored 50+ points. With a very strong NBA resume including a D-League MVP, he never seemed to find his scoring niche in the NBA. He was bounced around between other development teams, and now he is no where to be found.
7. Ricky Davis
Make sure thats the right basket Ricky!!
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Ricky Davis came to the league being drafted by Miami, but was eventually traded to Cleveland for the start of his rookie season. Ricky's problem in the league was he wanted to look a lot better than he really was. A prime example of this was in a game against Utah where he was one rebound short of a triple-double. So he shot the ball at his own hoop so that he could go and get the rebound. Smart move right? That will get the coaches on your side. Ricky was then traded to Boston, followed by the T'Wolves, and eventually with the LA clippers. Although Davis was a selfish ball player, and shot the ball a lot more than he should have, he still put up really good numbers. At his best in Cleveland he averaged 21 ppg in 2003. However with his short lived stint with the Clippers, he was waived to make room for Travis Outlaw. He is now not anywhere to be seen amongst NBA rosters.
6. Gerald Green
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Gerald Green was another high school prodigy. A player that was compared to Tracy McGrady in several aspects, Gerald had very high expectations set when he was drafted by the Boston Celtics. As a rookie Green saw limited playing time, but as a sophomore Green was given a chance to prove himself. Although he only averaged 11.4 ppg, he made up for it with his slam dunks. With help from teammate Rashad McCants, he won the 2007 dunk contest with the Timberwolves. The next year he finished as a runner-up to Dwight Howard, but had one of the most impressive performances with the "birthday cake" dunk. We have not seen him since. No dunk contests, nothing. I recently found out that he is playing with the "Lokomotiv Kaban" in Russia. Well atleast he lived up to some T-Mac hype, it seems neither player is doing much of anything right now.
5. Desmond Mason
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As we come to the top five we reach players that actually had a big impact on their teams. We start it off with former small forward Desmond Mason. Mason, being known for freakish athletic ability, was almost an immediate impact with the Seattle Sonics. After averaging 14 points with Seattle, he as traded to Milwaukee, and in 2005 was averaging nearly 18 ppg. He won the slam dunk contest, and was overall just a good player. However, his achilles heel was his shooting, for a small forward, Mason was a terrible shooter. This led to his downfall which finished with him playing only five games for Sacramento last season. Mason went from being a prominently successful NBA player to nothing, and the saddest part is that it wasn't because of injuries and age. He just lost his game.
4. Rafer Alston
Skip to my lou
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images
Former street legend 'skip to my lou' may have not been a big time scorer, but he was always a player that had an impact on his team. After being traded to the Rockets from Toronto, he went through a successful two years of making the playoffs, and being a competitive team with Yao Ming, and Tracy McGrady. However after losing in the playoffs to the Utah Jazz for the second consecutive year the Rockets traded Rafer to Orland to make room for the upcoming Aaron Brooks. In Orlando he took the starting job due to an injury of Jameer Nelson. Alston took Nelson's job, with authority, by helping propel the Magic to the finals. Although they were beaten severely by Kobe and company, Alston still played harder and better than you could ask a regular bench player to do. During the off-season he was traded New Jersey for Vince Carter. In New Jersey he competed for playing time with Devin Harris. After 26 games with the arguably worst NBA team of all time, he was traded to Miami where he could be a starter along side Dwayne Wade. After 25 of starting in Miami, he was benched in favor of Carlos Arroyo, followed by Mario Chalmers who was coming off an injury. This angered Alston and he didn't show up for practice the next week. As a matter of fact he didn't show up at all the rest of the season. Right now his contract has expired and he is an unrestricted free agent, but no one has offered him, and frankly I don't think anyone even knows where he is.
3. Michael Redd
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Michael Redd has spent his entire career with the Milwaukee Bucks. Although he saw very limited playing time his rookie season, Michael Redd blossomed as a sophomore and just kept getting better every year. Known for his 3 point shooting, where he has shot almost 40% throughout his career, Redd was the Bucks star player every year he has been in Milwaukee. In 2006 Redd averaged a career high 27.2 ppg and took his team to the playoffs 3 different years. In 2009 Redd had a severe injury take place and has been on and off the court since then. When I last checked on his status, it seems the Bucks have moved on with Brandon Jennings and plan on unloading his contract next season. Redd who recently turned 31 may still have plenty in the tank, but it seems everyone has forgotten about him.
2. Steve Francis
Stevie Franchise was drafted 2nd overall by the Vancouver Grizzlies out of Maryland. Francis refused to play for the Grizzlies by saying it was,"God's will". So Francis was traded to the Grizzlies and had an immediated impact by sharing the rookie of the year award with Elton Brand. In his years in Houston, he steadily averaged twenty points per game and was an all-star multiple times. In 2004 he and Cuttino Mobley were traded to Orlando for scoring champion Tracy McGrady. In Orland he had a very successful year and a half but was beginning to have knee problems and needed surgery. He was traded to New York and from that time on has not even completed half of a regular season. In 2008 he came back to houston but for only 10 games. I have been so curious as to why no teams have offered him contracts. Another off to the side reason that he is so high on our "Magician" list is his similarity to Harry Potter character Dumbledore. While author JK Rowling revealed Dumbledore's sexual attractions, it was rumored that Steve Francis and Cuttino Mobley had a "more than friends relationship". No matter what happened Steve Francis was one of the best players in this past decade, I don't know why a team doesn't want him, and I don't know how teams don't want, he just seems to be a "lost" player.
1. Rashad McCants
Where is Rashad McCants?
Although Rashad McCants may have not been the best player statistically on this list, he is number one for many different reasons. In college Rashad was an beast at North Carolina. Alongside Marvin Williams and Raymond Felton, they beat Dee Brown, Deron Williams, and Luther Head at Illinois. McCants entered the draft after his junior year, but still managed to be on North Carolina's all time scoring list at 14. Coming into Minnesota as a rookie he was bothered by injuries in his first two year in the pros, he finally began to live up to the hype by his third year. He averaged 15 ppg in twenty seven minutes. The next year he was traded to Sacramento and was still having a pretty good year. His contract then expired in 2009, and he hasn't been seen in the NBA since then. He has become a complete mystery since then. Why he can't get an NBA contract is completely unknown. He has the athletic ability to do so, he is decently smart on the court, he has never been arrested or had a drug history, it just doesn't make sense... Until you read deeper. Dallas Mavericks head coach Rick Carlisle said that he would offer Rashad McCants a contract after he sees a psychiatrist. After missing out on the Lebron James sweepstakes, the Cleveland Cavaliers were excited to have Rashad play for them during the summer league. However McCants pulled a no show, and apparently didn't tell any teammates or coaches why either. He later justified himself via facebook by saying he needed to see a sick relative, but wouldn't he have atleast been responsible enough to let the Cavaliers know that? This is the reason Rashad tops this list. He is a great player, with great ability, that has no criminal record, and that is simply no where to be found.