The NBA regular season offered opportunities for some players of African descent to grow their game and expand their influence in the league but many were practically invisible, for various reasons.

Victor Oladipo (Indiana Pacers), OG Anunoby (Toronto Raptors) and David Nwaba (Chicago Bulls) are examples of those who grew their influences, either from the previous season or as rookies.

There were others, however, whose influence on their teams ranged between minimal and non-existent, and then there were those who had fairly good seasons, but on teams that ended with awful records.

Luol Deng (Los Angeles Lakers)

The Deng case is that of franchise policy clashing with (unstated) ambition. The South Sudanese-Brit went from two-time All Star to non-playing veteran in five short years.

And that is not because his value rapidly depreciated; just two seasons ago, he averaged 12.3 points and 6.0 rebounds in 32.4 minutes per night for Miami Heat. In fact, in July of 2016, he signed a four-year contract that pays him 18 million dollars a year with the Lakers.

Then, towards the end of that 2016/17 season, the Lakers decided to go with their younger players, and shut him down for the season. He played only one game in the recently-concluded season, a 13-minute cameo on opening day against Clippers.