Every season, NBA players from teams around the league come out of nowhere and outperform their competition for minutes. This happens due to injuries on the team or other players seriously underperforming. These players often take over starting duties but sometimes get pushed back to the bench, despite their great play over more proven players. Here, we’ll take a look at three promising NBA players no longer around the league.
Promising NBA Players No Longer Around
Greivis Vasquez in 2010. He spent one year with the team before being traded to the New Orleans Hornets in the off-season. Vasquez broke out in New Orleans, achieving most of his career-high numbers there. An extremely talented passer, Vasquez’s career-high in assists is 17. He took over the starting point guard role for the Hornets after Jarrett Jack went down with an injury in the 2011-12 season. After dazzling in his short role as a starter, Vasquez was awarded the permanent starting point guard job the following season.
Vasquez’s best season was in 2012-13 when he averaged a career-high 14 points and nine assists per game. He also shot 43 percent from the field that season. New Orleans traded Vasquez to the Sacramento Kings in the following season. Since then, he has bounced around from team to team. He was moved to the bench after the Kings sent him to the Toronto Raptors. While he thrived for nearly two seasons in Toronto, Vasquez hasn’t been the same player since the Raptors traded him to the Milwaukee Bucks during the 2015 NBA Draft. He has not played in the NBA since 2016 after the Brooklyn Nets waived him.
Larry Sanders was a talented player with a fiery personality. Sanders is best known for his time with the Bucks. Milwaukee selected Sanders in the first round of the 2010 draft. In the early stages of his career, Sanders established himself as one of the game’s premier shot-blockers. There’s no better example of that than when Sanders racked up a career-best 10 blocks in a game against the Minnesota Timberwolves early in the 2012 season. Multi-block games were easy for Sanders.
Unfortunately, Sanders’ career has been plagued by injury and suspensions. After playing 71 games in the 2012-13 season, Sanders played a combined 50 games over the next two seasons. He missed the entire 2015-16 season before making a short comeback the following season with the Cleveland Cavaliers. Issues with the team led to his departure from the Cavaliers and also the NBA. He was never the same player after leaving the Bucks.
Tiago Splitter is a player who came out of nowhere and became a key cog on one of the best teams in the league. Originally, he took over the starting power forward role for the San Antonio Spurs after Tim Duncan went down with an injury. A marksman around the basket, Splitter shot above 50 percent in each of his seven NBA seasons except for one, his last season with the Philadelphia 76ers. He is best known for his time with the Spurs, in which he became the first player born in Brazil to win an NBA championship.
Splitter spent five years with the Spurs until he was traded in 2015 to the Atlanta Hawks. That trade would be the beginning of the end of Splitter’s career. Nagging hip injuries eventually caused Splitter to retire early, just two years after the Spurs dealt him. Splitter’s best season was in 2012-13 when he shot 56 percent from the field, averaging about 10 points and seven rebounds per game.
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