NBA, Video / Jul 28, 2009 / 12:48 pm

Would You Take a Chance on Jonathan Bender?

Yesterday afternoon ESPN.com posted a story about how Jonathan Bender is plotting an NBA comeback. For a guy who only played 237 games over seven seasons in the NBA because of various injuries, a legitimate comeback seems like a real longshot.

Th article speculates that the man who brought him to Indiana on Draft night back in the day, Donnie Walsh, might be interested in taking a chance with him in New York…



Bender, even when he was healthy, was a always a huge question mark. The guy is almost 7-feet tall, could run and jump, but never seemed to put it all together … or really even come close. A team would really have to have money and a roster spot to mess with to even consider it.

Here’s some of JB in the Mickey D’s slam dunk contest from when he was in high school:

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  • shake&bake

    You mean Gerald Green Sr.?

  • hadoken

    why do you need money to sign this guy? if the big stick gets anything more than the minimum, that gm should be fired immediately.

  • John

    At one time, JBender was my fav player in the league. Being a die hard pacers fan, I remember the his vast potential. He is a 7’0 SG!!!! There has never been a player in the NBA with his combination of center’s size, crazy hops and shooting ability. He got very unlucky and had a freak knee injury, but I would definately take a chance on him.

  • rotceh

    C’mon Donnie… enough with this bullshi* get some real players in here.
    We’re been suffering since ’94, show us some respect.

  • Patrick Cassidy

    @ hadoken –

    the minimum for a team to sign would be almost $1 million. he’s not that cheap …

  • JCarr

    This is like the Allan houston story last season… He will probably get a job in the knicks front office ala Houston

  • D.I. Dollar

    Man, I forgot all about this guy. He’s out of the league??? LOL

  • sh!tfaced

    bender was supposed to be a bigger, stronger version of t-mac but became the original gerald green instead.

    wonder what happened to bret nelson? he was like a bigger version of j-will but he never made noise when he got to college.

  • Kobeef

    Before I’d look at this guy I’d take at shot at trading for Andray Blatche, Javale McGee, Anthony Randolph, Jared Jeffries, Earl Clark, Yi Jianlian or any other big guy with small guy skills who is less of a question mark.

  • Sambuu

    JayWill, Booz and Dunleavy playing together…

  • Spliff 2 My Lou

    Who wouldn’t Donnie Walsh take a chance on?

  • joshlee9

    bender is sick in nba live 04. but so is leon smith. take that as you will

  • Brown

    Maybe bring him in on a 10-day contract to see if he’s got anything to contribute. Nothing more than that.

  • Diego

    I though his knees were shot, which is why he retired at such a young age?

  • bobby stew

    Darius Miles light

  • RonnaBonBon

    if the lakers lose the lamar odom sweepstakes
    might as well go for bender
    i’d take a guy who cant play cause of his knees instead of a guy who can’t play(shelden williams)

  • Kudabeen

    He has the right workout plan for his body type, so he may have a chance at 28. At 6’11” if his J is still in tact and he has 70% of the agility he had he is a good role player to have. I always loved his game, but he like Jermaine O’Neal was messed over by the Pacers’ training staff. You have to protect these guys knees and ankles. Top heavy is all wrong for a BBall player.

    You can be slim and strong. Think KG, Tim Duncan, Odom (he had shoulder issues), LaMarcus Aldridge is growing well, etc…

    There is a workout plan for everyone…Young Ballers don’t let the mirror guide your workouts…pay attention to your game and what you need to enhance…CORE Strength is greater than bulk for skill players…all day…

  • Seven Duece

    Has a 6’10+ perimeter based player EVER turned out to be the player anyone expected him to be? The fallacy that one exists and is about to re-define the game has gotten a lot of guys drafted and even more fired. If they don’t develop a semblance of a post game, they all end up being cautionary tales. It’s a nice myth, but the reality is far from it. What will Bender bring to NY that Wilson Chandler doesn’t?

  • ERIC

    coulda been durant-ish if he had the killer instinct and stronger knees. unlimited range

  • haslem

    In a word…YES! huge fan of this guy since I used to school people in NBA live 04 with him, felipe Lopez and Eddie Griffen. Bad reason I know but his height, athleticism, range and shot blocking ability really boded well for my style of play.

  • Bron42 aka Had Springs before Slamball

    @Kuda, yes and no…core strength tops everything off…but bender had knee issues because he wasn’t strong enough in his lower body to handle all the shock from jumpin and banging. It comes from idiot guys in high sschool who don’t lift cuz all the “o lifting ruins your shot” “lifting stunts your growth” etc.. so guys stay skinny and fragile. Having a strong core wouldn’t have stopped his knees from givin out…he needed to do a squat or deadlift every now and then lol That way THEN he couldn’t worked his core instead of having legs made of wet chalk

  • K Dizzle

    @ Kuda and Bron, good posts. Bender “shoulda” made it. He had all the talent ans skill in the world, but his body couldn’t handle it, maybe a couple years in the SEC woulda shown him the way. I see Bender when I look at that prep kid comin up, Perry Jones outta Texas…

  • LB

    Dude looks like Dookie from the Wire. But yeah, I think he can come back. If Shaun Livingston can come back from that horrific knee injury, then I think Bender can come back. Maybe he wont be as athletic, but he always had a lot of range on his J. Plus, I think alot of teams are looking for better shooters from the 4 spot for pick and pop situations. I can see him being a Rashard Lewis-light.

  • bill

    cue The Dark Knight scene with the broken pool cue, only one spot open

    Nik Tskitchiwasteofdraftpick Vs Bender

  • KnicksFan84

    Dude, I thought his Knees were SHREDDED like cheese… it’s over Bender…

  • LukeCage22

    I say someone should take a chance on him. If he’s putting in the work and he still has skills then I say why not. He’ll come very cheap and he may surprise. Plus he’ll be working harder than his last NBA run because he knows he’s got a lot to prove. Also, he’s only 28, so he could still have a solid 5 years of quality ball in him. He’s also got the experience of already playing in the league so its not like he’s a 28 year old rookie. If he’s got the shot and he can still finish around the basket, I say why not. He Bends but he doesn’t Break