5 nba players that drugs derailed their career

Chris Washburn

Chris Washburn on draft day

Washburn was one of six players drafted in the 1986 NBA draft that had substance abuse problems. At 6’11 and 230lbs, Washburn was very similar to a young Chris Webber, minus the handles. Washburn thrived at NC State and was seen as one of the most athletically gifted big men available in a long time. Washburn was drafted by the Golden State Warriors and was officially out of the NBA in just two-and-half years. David Stern served Washburn with a lifetime ban after failing three separate drug tests. Post NBA life has not been kind to the former big man, he has spent a lot of time homeless and living in abandoned buildings while also spending time in jail. Washburn has been labeled one of the biggest draft busts of all time.

Michael Beasley

Michael Beasley as a Los Angeles Laker

Michael Beasley should be in the NBA, the end. Beasley for the most part has worn out his chances of being on an NBA team. As of right now, the Blazers it seems to be giving Beasley one last shot. At 32, the Blazers are giving him a shot at being a part of their summer league team. Michael Beasley at 32 should not be trying to secure a spot on a summer league team with undrafted rookies. Beasley at this point should have averaged 20 and 8 for his career and been an NBA All-Star. Beasley faced a lot of off the court issues, so it was more than just drugs that derailed his career. Its a tragic story for a player that has a lot of offensive weapons and also was a decent rebounder.

Larry Sanders

Larry Sanders during his days with the Milwaukee Bucks

Sanders was on his way to being a formidable big man when two marijuana suspensions forced his exit from the NBA. Prior to the suspensions, Sanders had signed a $44 million dollar deal (peanuts compared to what players averaging doubles doubles are getting today) and was averaging 10 points and 10 boards per game. Although he did say he was retiring and never playing in the NBA again, Sanders returned two years later and was picked up by the Cleveland Cavaliers. He played in just five games with Cavs before getting demoted to the G-League. Sanders didn’t have much success and had been cited as having “on and off the court difficulties”. Had drugs not gotten in the way, Sanders skills fit the need of many NBA teams today. Many teams would have definitely offered big bucks to someone crashing the boards and guarding the paint like he did.

Richard Dumas

Richard Dumas of The Phoenix Suns

For those of you who have never heard the name Richard Dumas, Richard Dumas was a 90s small forward best known for playing along side Charles Barkley in the 1993 NBA Finals against the Chicago Bulls. Dumas had excelled that finals series and offered the Suns a spark in the open court and also was a great defensive threat. Dumas averaged 15 and 5 that season and appeared to have a bright future with lots of upside. Dumas would fail a number of drug tests and was out of the NBA in just two years. Since then Dumas spent years overseas and bouncing around the minor leagues. Without drugs and with the right team, Dumas could have become the second or third option on a playoff team.

Len Bias

Len Bias Univerisity of Maryland Power Forward

We saved the best for last. You knew after seeing the headline that he was going to be on the list somewhere. Former University of Maryland and Boston Celtic to never officially wear the uniform, power forward Len Bias. Len Bias is the biggest what-if in NBA history. Bigger than what could have been if Grant Hill not been injured. Bigger than what Tracey McGrady could have been had he not been injured. Bigger than what if streetball legend Earl Manigault could made the NBA. What could have become of Len Bias had he not succumb to drugs? Could he have been top 10 ever? Could he have been better than Michael Jordan? Could he have been the best player in the NBA? Reality is we will never know, but most likely Bias would have won a few titles with the Boston Celtics and most likely ended up a hall of famer.

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