30 NBA players that got better after leaving their first team

NBA (Photo by Jeenah Moon/Getty Images)
NBA (Photo by Jeenah Moon/Getty Images) /
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Mehmet Okur
Mehmet Okur (Photo by JOHN G. MABANGLO / AFP) /

30 NBA players who got better after leaving their first team: 25. Mehmet Okur

Mehmet Okur started his career with the Detroit Pistons in 2002 as a solid big man off the bench for a team that would win the NBA Championship in his second season. For that title team, he would only play 11.5 minutes per game during the playoff run and averaged 3.7 points and 2.8 rebounds per game. He was the first Turkish player to win an NBA Championship.

The Pistons were an expensive team with four All-Stars and another player named to multiple All-Defensive teams. More of them will be on this list later. This made it impossible for the team to pay to keep Okur and he moved on to the Utah Jazz in free agency.

During his time with the Utah Jazz, he averaged 15.3 points, 7.6 rebounds and 1.9 assists per game. He was named an All-Star in 2006-2007 when he averaged 17.6 points, 7.2 rebounds and 2.0 assists with shooting splits of .462/.384/.765. He was a big man ahead of his time and helped push the Jazz to the Conference Finals that same season. Not only was he the first Turkish player to win a title but he was also the first one named to the All-Star Game, even if he made it as an injury replacement.

Ultimately, Okur succumbed to injuries earlier than most. He ruptured his Achilles in 2010 and he would only play 30 more games in his NBA career. Okur was revolutionary as a big man who could compete at the highest level and stretch the floor for his teammates.