Players With the Most to Prove Entering Final Year of Their Contracts

Regardless of how firmly established their reputation is, every NBA player begins the 2017-18 season with questions to answer.

Those playing in contract years especially, stand out the most. They’re the ones who must prove their worth heading into free agency.

Can they take the next step in their careers, by demonstrating leadership while dismissing concerns about past fluke performances? Can they force a max-salary bidding war and nail down a surefire mega-extension? Can they remove a looming draft-bust label?

Here, we’ll focus on 2018 free agents who stand to make major money (or at least restore their reputations and prolong their careers) if they shine during their contract years. This is a group of players that also have significant downside risk, as failing to meet the demands of the market could result in diminished paydays.

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