Being a first-round pick in the NBA has a lot of perks. You get a two-year, fully guaranteed deal, and usually you'll get Years 3 and 4 as well. For many first-rounders, draft position also will merit some playing time, as teams seek to justify their investment. Even if it doesn't work out with the franchise that drafted you, there's always the chance someone else will give you an opportunity because you're young, relatively cheap and at some point very recently were considered one of the best prospects the non-NBA had to offer.
But over time, that luster begins to fade. As you get closer to the end of your fourth year, the list of admirers shrinks as teams have seen more of you to know your "warts." Many players have shown who they are, and where development takes them from here is usually either a slightly better or worse version of who they've shown themselves to be. In those instances, guys find themselves fighting for their proverbial lives, trying to remain solid middle-class citizens (having some measure of stability in the form of multiyear contracts and mostly guaranteed money) and avoid fringe journeyman status.
Here are some players at the crossroads of their young careers: