No one wants to leave talent on the table, but it happens. Sometimes it’s motivation, sometimes it’s the situation you find yourself in and other times it’s purely bad luck (injuries). Basketball is a sport that doesn’t allow much to be covered up, your game is always on display and weaknesses are difficult to hide. This list looks at some of the biggest wastes of talent and why they were unable to fulfill their potential.
Championships shouldn’t matter and won’t matter for this list. Charles Barkley and Karl Malone may have never won a championship, but it wasn’t due to lack of effort or talent. Same goes for Allen Iverson who only once made it to the finals and was surrounded by inferior talent for most of his career. Bill Walton was plagued with injuries, but still led the Blazers to a title and then took on a leadership role with the Boston Celtics. Some will argue Antoine Walker and Tracy McGrady should be included, but I believe both got the most out of their talents and that maybe their ceilings were overrated from the start.
A couple dishonorable mentions go to Marvin Williams; more was expected from the second player picked in a draft. Shawn Kemp could have dominated for more years had he managed his body better and Len Bias, well, Bias never really even gave himself a chance to show us his talent, overdosing before he got a chance to showcase his moves.