Making it to the NBA is already a dream realized by many hoopers. However, making an impact in the NBA is a different story altogether. While some NBA players become stars that will stretch as long as their careers, others would only become one for a singular moment. For this piece, let’s take a look at 10 NBA one hit wonders.
After playing overseas and in the D-League, now called the G-League, Sundiata Gaines finally received his NBA call-up. His breakout game came against LeBron James and the Cavaliers. Gaines finished with nine points, including the game-winning buzzer beating three to upset the Cavs. Three would also be Gaines’ first in his NBA career. Unfortunately, the buzzer beating three wouldn’t propel him to become a household name, as he was out of the league after the 2011-2012 season.
🎥 Andre Ingram let it fly in his NBA debut, finishing with 19 points on a 4-5 shooting clip from behind the arc. pic.twitter.com/rdRXUor667
— Los Angeles Lakers (@Lakers) April 11, 2018
Life after Kobe Bryant was difficult for the Lakers, given that they were in a rebuilding phase. While the Lakers were in the midst of another losing season, they found solace in Andre Ingram’s strong debut. He dropped 19 points, spiked by four of five shooting from rainbow country. After going off, it’s safe to say Ingram called it a career, scoring only five points total after that game.
While Brewer is mostly known for being a role player, he exploded in a game against the Rockets by dropping 51 points. For a player that has never averaged more than 13.0 points per game in his career, it was an impressive feat. After making history for the Timberwolves, Brewer would go back to becoming a role player, albeit a solid rotational piece.
Speaking of 50-point games, Terrence Ross also had a similar explosion in 2014 against the Los Angeles Clippers. Coming into the game, the then-Raptors guard was only averaging 9.8 points per outing. While Ross was credited for his masterful performance, he’d never become anything more than that.
Evans, 32, was a 2010 NBA Rookie of the Year. He played with the Kings, Pelicans, Grizzlies and Pacers. https://t.co/5BvgXzbcGk
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) February 14, 2022
Tyreke Evans had a stellar rookie season, which saw him average a 20-5-5. He’s only one of five rookies to achieve this feat. Because of this, the 2009 top overall pick easily took home Rookie of the Year honors. However, Evans’ career would decline from there. Moreover, a drug-ban wouldn’t help his cause. Although Evans has been reinstated in the NBA, he has yet to make his return to the league.
10 years ago today, Jonny Flynn was drafted before Steph Curry. pic.twitter.com/zuoC9DnBDj
— Sporting News NBA (@sn_nba) June 25, 2019
Drafted ahead of Stephen Curry, the Timberwolves expected big things from Jonny Flynn. Flynn tallied decent numbers in his rookie season, putting up 13.5 points, 4.4 assists, and 2.4 rebounds per game. It was good enough to make the All-Rookie team. However, injuries derailed Flynn’s career. And after the 2011-2012 season, Flynn was already taking his basketball talents overseas. On the other hand, Curry would go on to lead the Warriors to four NBA championships.
Michael Carter Williams won ROTY and disappeared 😭 pic.twitter.com/NxEUdX3LKd
— NBA Memes (@NBAMemes) April 1, 2022
Drafted in the first round, MCW played like a promising star in his rookie season with the Sixers. In fact, MCW was dropping triple-doubles en-route to winning Rookie of the Year honors and making the All-Rookie team. However, injuries hampered the rise of MCW as his numbers have never come close again to his rookie year production.
One of the quickest NBA players!
HBD 2010 Most Improved Player Aaron Brooks (@thirty2zero) pic.twitter.com/4Sd5Q4Q5Ut
— Ballislife.com (@Ballislife) January 15, 2021
In the 2009-2010 season, Aaron Brooks decided to play like an All-Star guard. He averaged a career-high 19.6 points and 5.3 assists per game. Brooks would go on to win the Most Improved Player Award. However, Brooks never maintained his All-Star form and reverted back to becoming a reserve guard.
After playing back-up for the most part of his career, Mike James ended up in a lowly 27-55 Raptors team in the 2005-2006 season. James stepped up his game, averaging a career-high 20.3 points and 5.8 assists per game. After that year, James would never come close to averaging near 20 points again.
After struggling to land an NBA team, Jeremy Lin found his way to the New York Knicks. With injuries to several players, Lin finally got his opportunity to see minutes on the NBA hardwood. As we all know, MSG would be taken over by Linsanity in the latter part of the 2011-2012 season.
Lin would drop a string of spectacular outings which made the Knicks a team to watch. Unfortunately, the underdog story came to a close after Lin was injured. While Lin eventually became a starter for several NBA teams and also won a NBA championship with the Raptors, he’d never live up to the Linsanity craze. Injuries certainly played a role in hampering Lin’s ability to maintain his stardom. As a result, it won’t be long before Lin took his talents to China.