Rookie season can be tough in the NBA. Players go from playing about 30 games in college and two weeks per game to the 82-game grind of three or four games per week, if not five, and they are playing against the world's best players. It is not an easy transition.
Gary Payton hit those rookie doldrums pretty hard during his rookie season in 1991. He played in and started all 82 games, but averaged only 7.2 points per game while providing 6.4 assists per game.
It took the Hall of Fame point guard a little while to find his feet. The problems with Seattle's organization -- K.C. Jones was the head coach for a 41-41 team that made the Playoffs -- did not help.
It caused Payton to consider the impossible for a rookie -- retirement. He spoke with Scott Howard-Cooper of NBA.com's Hang Time Blog.
I was thinking about it. I was like, ‘What am I out here for? This isn’t even what I want to do. I’m not happy.’ I didn’t want to do anything. . . .
The frustration really grew his second ...