Being an NBA superstar is an amazing job but, sadly, it’s not one that people have for very long.
Unlike other careers, basketball pros are only in the limelight for a brief time.
Due to the physical demands and competitiveness within the league, NBA players are usually retired well before they hit 40.
That means that they only get a few years to really shine and every season counts.
Some players achieve a lot in their first few years and sometimes wear a championship ring before they even hit 25 years old.
Others waste away on teams that aren’t reaching their full potential and watch NBA Finals come and go with little-to-no success.
Which current NBA stars are being held prisoner by lacking teams and feel the clock ticking away?
3. Damian Lillard
You shouldn’t be surprised to see Damian Lillard of the Portland Trail Blazers on this list.
It seems like everyone in the NBA knows that Lillard is being wasted in Portland – including Lillard himself.
Recently there have been many rumors that he is finally ready to make the leap and leave his team if things don’t get changed soon.
The star point guard is 31 years old and has been an outstanding player for years now.
In fact, if the rest of his team were playing at his level, the Blazers would have secured a championship a few years ago.
It’s for that reason that Lillard really should try his luck elsewhere, even if he has repeatedly said he isn’t going anywhere.
Damian Lillard addresses the rumors: “I’m not asking for a trade… My intentions are to be in Portland and to figure it out.” (via @ROSGO21)
— Legion Hoops (@LegionHoops) December 8, 2021
The goal of every NBA star is to win a Finals and it’s become quite obvious that Portland can’t give Lillard what he needs to do that.
2. Brandon Ingram
It’s wild to think that Brandon Ingram has an average of 22.4 points, 6.1 rebounds, and 5.2 assists a game and is light-years away from an NBA championship.
Ingram is one of the highlights of a truly awful team: the New Orleans Pelicans.
Now, the situation in New Orleans is complicated because they are missing their star player, Zion Williamson.
That means that when/if Williamson returns, the team could be in playoff and even championship contention and Ingram would be able to show off his skills on the biggest stage in the NBA.
But until then, Ingram is being wasted on a team that is just spinning its wheels toward the bottom of the Western Conference.
With his size, skill, and offensive and defensive skills, Ingram would be a terrific fit on many teams in the league.
He’s living up to his potential – he needs a team that will as well.
1. Karl-Anthony Towns
Karl-Anthony Towns, the former Rookie of the Year and two-time All-Star, is a powerhouse of a basketball player, with an average of 24.3 points and 9.2 rebounds a game.
Towns is a center but he’s a very modern version of that position: able to grab nearly 10 boards a game while also shooting 40 percent from the three-point line and putting up at least 20 points a game.
A talent like Towns’ doesn’t come around often but the Minnesota Timberwolves haven’t been able to meet him halfway when it comes to the rest of the team.
They’re doing better this year, there is no doubt about that and thankfully have found power in Anthony Edwards.
In fact, they could be headed for the playoffs.
Karl-Anthony Towns and Anthony Edwards have each scored 20+ points in the same game 15 times this season, tied with Kevin Durant and James Harden for the 2nd-most by any pair of teammates.
The only duo with more such games are DeMar DeRozan and Zach LaVine (23). pic.twitter.com/fkNwTuNxAu
— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) January 19, 2022
But there is no doubt that Towns could already be part of a championship team if he was playing on any number of other teams in the league.
If the Timberwolves don’t go far this year, maybe he should think about packing his bags and heading elsewhere.