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5 NBA Players with the Most to Prove

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5 NBA Players With the Most to Prove

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Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

I understand that NBA players make millions upon millions of dollars just for appearing in 15second advertisement spots and talking about how great the new KIA Optima is and all the cup holders it has, and what have you. Still, you can’t deny there is a lot of pressure on these people. If you are going to make more money in one year than most people make in their lives for playing basketball, you better be really, really good at playing basketball. This year in the league, there are some guys who need to prove themselves for one reasons or another. Some have been gone a while, some made us wonder if they still have it, while others are taking on new responsibilities and roles many people say they can’t.

Regardless of what brought them to the list, many people are doubting them, and this season could be their best, and in some cases, last chance to prove it. Each player is in a different position than the ones next to him, but must still do all he can to prove to the world he is capable of overcoming whatever he is dealing with. When a player can’t prove themselves when it matters most, their careers typically aren’t pretty moving forward. Inability to prove oneself beefs up D-League rosters and the ends of benches faster than maybe anything else. Without further ado, the following five players had something of a rough time as of late and are out to show the world what they have in the tank.

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5. Jeff Green

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David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

Boston Celtics forward Jeff Green has been doing a lot of self-proving lately. After successfully coming off of a heart problem to return to aid the Celtics on both ends of the floor, Green experienced a brief time of peace when he just got to play. Green came off the bench for Paul Pierce and was an excellent contributor last season. However, that is in the past, and Green must now prove he can be the face of the franchise and the hope of the Celtics moving forward. If he doesn’t show he can be a part of Boston’s long term plans, he may be on the way out of town.

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4. Derrick Rose

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Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

C’mon. How could Chicago Bulls point guard Derrick Rose not be on the list? After tearing his ACL in the 2012 playoffs, Rose sat out the entirety of the 2013 season, playoffs and all, even after he was medically cleared to play. While listening to one’s body is good in theory, it's hard to still look good when your body tells you to ride the bench right on through the playoffs. This season, you can expect Rose to prove he was right in sitting out the season. His early performance suggests he’ll have no problem justifying his choice to wait things out.

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3. Kevin Garnett

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Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

Ask anyone who has ever spent time around Brooklyn Nets power forward Kevin Garnett, and they’ll tell you he is a very intense sort of guy. However, no matter how much KG screams, yells and bangs his head against things, there is no denying he is older and more injury prone than ever. After talks of his retirement swirled and Garnett seemed on the verge of leaving the league behind, he decided to take seemingly one more run at things with the Nets. Can a player of his age bring a team a championship? Don’t count him out.

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2. Kobe Bryant

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Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

I don’t think there has ever been a game legendary Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant played without some sort of chip on his shoulder. Now more than ever it seems, Bryant has reacted to his lower than imagined ESPN rating as well as the notion he is no longer the best shooting guard in the league. Unquestionably, Bryant is out to prove that he still has it, and to silence the critics who thought his age was finally catching up to him. Just like always, expect Kobe to give it his all, and don’t be surprised if he calls out those critics once the season is said and done.

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1. Dwight Howard

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Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

With stops in Orlando and LA unable to bring the self-proclaimed Superman a ring, All Star center Dwight Howard is trying his luck with the Houston Rockets. After his lackluster season with the Lakers, Howard had plenty of reasons why things didn’t work out. Now, in an environment in which he shouldn’t have to deal with past problems, it’s all on him to be successful. I wouldn’t be shocked if he ended up having a great season with new teammate James Harden.