1. Roy Tarpley
Tarpley is one of the biggest what-ifs in Mavericks history. The 6’11 big man was selected seventh overall in 1986 and had superstar talent. He quickly jumped into the rotation and won the Sixth Man of Year award in 1988 as he helped the Mavs make their first Western Conference finals appearance.
Tarpley’s minutes and production continued to increase, but it became a struggle to stay on the floor. There was a knee injury at the start of the 1988-89 season, which became the beginning of the end. Tarpley struggled with addiction and never reached his potential. It looked like the 6’11 big man would be a superstar in the 1988 playoffs, but it turned out to be his best performance.
The Dallas Mavericks could not quit Roy Tarpley. He played just 69 games over three seasons before being suspended for three full years. The Mavs gave him a fresh contract in 1994 where he made $3-plus million per season over six years. Tarpley lasted just one before being permanently banned from the NBA for drug use.
Roy Tarpley had legendary potential, but few remember him. There were flashes of greatness, but the 6’11 big man just never reached his peak.
The Dallas Mavericks are no strangers to holding onto talent for far too long, but who will be next?