Some may forget, but there was a time when Elton Brand -- who announced his retirement on Monday -- was one of the best 10-15 players in the NBA.
During the 2005-06 season, Brand averaged 24.7 points, 10.0 rebounds and 2.5 blocks, leading the Los Angeles Clippers to the second round and the brink of the Western Conference finals in the 2006 playoffs.
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"From ages 22 to 27, Brand's BPM was +5.3 per 100 possessions. That's a mark which reliably made Brand one of the 10-15 most productive players in the league. Comparing his trajectory to Blake Griffin, the Los Angeles Clippers current power forward, we can see that Brand compares favorably and may arguably have even been ahead of him through age 25."
Brand's career falls into another great NBA "What if?" story. Who knows how he would have aged as a player had he never gotten injured. All we know is that he was robbed of two crucial prime seasons, and that his stats were once on par with prime versions of Kevin Garnett, Tim Duncan and Dirk Nowitzki.
The former No. 1 overall pick (1999) retires with career averages of 16.1 points, 8.6 rebounds and 1.7 blocks.
(H/t Nylon Calculus.)