It is a historic period in the NBA where the three-point shot has become the norm, something that has never been true before. Unfortunately, this has made some players who could have been stars in different eras less useful. Here are three players who could have been franchise cornerstones in a previous era.
Number Three: Jahlil Okafor
In the modern era, Jahil Okafor is seen as a draft bust. He was selected third by the Philadelphia 76ers in the 2015 draft, right before Kristaps Porzingis. However, Okafor definitely shouldn’t have been a bust. In college, he was the ACC POY, a consensus All-American and a national champion in his one-and-done season. Unfortunately, he entered the league after Stephen Curry had hastened the 3-point revolution, which meant his post-centric playstyle was quickly seen as outdated. If he was drafted in the famously terrible 2000 draft, he could have been a coveted borderline All-Star during the 2000s and could have had a far better career.
Number Two: Enes Kanter
Enes Kanter is already a pretty good role player in the modern-day. However, his lack of defense has definitely hindered him throughout his career. If he played in the 90s or early 2000s though, it would be a very different story. At 6-foot-10, he had the physical tools to succeed, and his efficiency(61.1% on 8.2 attempts) plus his consistent double-doubles(11.9 points and 11.5 rebounds this season) could help him blossom into an All-Star level player, especially since his complete lack of a three-point shot wouldn’t hinder him in an era when there was less emphasis on scoring from deep.
Number One: DeMar DeRozan
DeMar DeRozan is probably the greatest mid-range shooter the NBA has seen since Kobe Bryant. That may seem like hyperbole, but besides his former teammate LaMarcus Aldridge, there really isn’t too much competition. Unfortunately, DeRozan’s midrange ability hasn’t been able to be recognized for its brilliance, mainly because of the advent of the three-point shot. Because the frequency of the three has increased, it makes players like DeRozan, who can’t shoot threes but can shoot mid-range shots, inefficient. This is because they mainly shoot in high volume from the midrange, which is a shot just as tough as the three but worth one less point. Putting DeRozan in the late 90s to early 2000s, he would be one of the best players around, and could even be regarded as a top 20 player of the era, which would still mean he would be seen as a top 50 player all-time if he kept up his volume and wasn’t overshadowed by the likes of Curry and LeBron James.