Biggest Fluke Seasons in NBA History

In sports, there’s always a flash in a pan – and the NBA isn’t immune to such an occurrence. Every once in a while, a player would capture the imagination of basketball fans for one year…only to fail at replicating that same success again. These five players seemed primed to be the next big thing for one season, only to come crashing back down to earth afterward.

Jerry Stackhouse, Detroit Pistons (2000-01)

While Jerry Stackhouse was a fine player for the New Jersey Nets, it was safe to say that nobody expected him to have the kind of season he had in the 2001 season. Stackhouse, a first-time All-Star in 2000, would follow up next season by averaging 29.8 points per game, which was second in the league behind Allen Iverson‘s 31.1. His shooting went up, shooting the ball over 24 times per game; he had only shot the ball 17.6 times per game the season prior. Perhaps the biggest outlier in Stackhouse’s ’01 season was his shooting percentage – only shooting .402% from the field.

Tyreke Evans, Sacramento Kings (2009-10)

Averaging 20.1 PPG, 5.3 RPG, and 5.8 APG on 458% shooting in his rookie year, Tyreke Evans looked to be a sure thing. The shooting guard was named to the NBA All-Rookie team, and even won the Rookie of the Year award. Sadly, Evans could never elevate from his rookie year, as he went on to average 15.1 points per game for the rest of his career. While he was still a very solid player, he would constantly deal with injuries, having never played a full NBA season. Evans remained as a solid bench piece for multiple teams, before being banned from the NBA for violating the Anti-Drug policy.

Devin Harris, New Jersey Nets (2008-09)

Devin Harris was traded to the New Jersey Nets in the middle of the 2007-08 season, just as was getting into the groove of being a starting point guard for the Dallas Mavericks. It was in his full first season with the Nets that Harris took his game to a whole other level, upping his point per game total from 14.8 the season prior to 21.3. While Harris didn’t have a magnificent three-ball – only shooting .291 percent from three – his numbers were still good enough to earn him an All-Star nomination. However, it would be the only time Harris would receive such an honor as he failed to average over 20 points per game for the rest of his career.

Dana Barros, Philadelphia 76ers (1994-95)

Playing mostly as a backup point guard to Gary Payton with the Seattle Super Sonics, Dana Barros was traded to the Charlotte Hornets before the 1993-94 season, before being traded to the 76ers two days later. After enjoying a fine season in his first year as a starter, Barros started to take off in his second year in Philly, scoring 20.6 points per game while posting career-highs in assists (7.5 per game), rebounds (3.3 per game), field goal percentage (49 percent), and three-point percentage. He was named an All-Star that season and even won the Most Improved Player award. Barros would sign with the Boston Celtics in 1995, where he failed to replicate the success he found in 1995 in his four seasons in Boston.

Michael Adams, Denver Nuggets (1990-91)

By all accounts, the 1991 Nuggets weren’t a great team – they had the worst record in the NBA that year with 20-62, along with the worst defense. But the one key positive from the Nuggets was their high-powered offense, which was led by point guard Michael Adams. Adams exploded onto the scene in the1991 NBA season, averaging 26.1 points and 10.5 assists per game. There were a few key outliers in Adams’ breakout season, however; despite having an efficient field goal percentage of .453, Adams’ field goal percentage and three-point percentage were both below .400 and .300, respectively. Adams was named an All-Star the next season and played a few more seasons afterward, but he never came anywhere close to the season he had in 1991.


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