Being considered the worst in the NBA, or any professional sports league, comes down to a number of factors. A player might be good at one or two things like scoring points, but he can’t rebound anything – even if he wore sticky gloves on the court. Then there are big men who are unable to find scoring opportunities despite being seven feet or taller.
The worst player on any given NBA roster doesn’t usually go to someone who is inexperienced as a professional basketball player. It could be someone who has established himself as a decent player on the court – even up to a multi-time NBA All-Star – but someone who's far removed from the prime of their athletic careers.
Every NBA team is going to have their share of terrible players. Some franchises have more than the others and for a longer period of time (i.e. the Philadelphia 76ers). Regardless of the blame being pointed towards mismanagement at the upper levels of the office or poor coaching, there are players on every NBA roster who are doing nothing more than hurting their teammates with underwhelming performance.
The following is a trip around the entire NBA – from the Atlanta Hawks to the Washington Wizards – to find the worst player on every current NBA roster.
30 Atlanta Hawks – Kris Humphries
The Atlanta Hawks might be one of the best teams in the Eastern Conference, but there are a few veteran players who are not living up to certain expectations. In the case of Kris Humphries, he’s struggled early this season in offensive numbers. That’s not to say that he’s always put up good numbers. In fact, he’s averaged less than seven points per game in more than 750 games as he enters his 13th season in the NBA.
29 Boston Celtics – James Young
Similar to the case of Kris Humphries, there was a fair amount of expectation for James Young. He was selected 17th overall by the Boston Celtics in the 2014 NBA Draft after playing college basketball at the University of Kentucky. In his first two seasons with the Celtics, he’s struggled to find consistency to produce with the minutes he is given. He had 31 appearances in his rookie season, but averaged just 3.4 points per game in a little more than 10 minutes each game.
28 Brooklyn Nets – Isaiah Whitehead
Beyond the trio of Brook Lopez, Jeremy Lin and Bojan Bogdanovic, the roster for the Brooklyn Nets does not really look all that great. There are a number of underperforming players up and down the lineup. While it might be a little unfair to be critical of a rookie who has only played a handful of games at this point, Isaiah Whitehead is currently in that mediocre group of Brooklyn’s roster.
27 Charlotte Hornets – Ramon Sessions
Ramon Sessions is another veteran who is the kind of person who probably needs to consider finding a new line of work. After so many seasons of experience, a player should be able to decide if they are either a hindrance or a benefit to their team. Sessions is someone who has played a good portion of the season for the Charlotte Hornets shooting less than 30 percent from the field.
26 Chicago Bulls – Rajon Rondo
The Chicago Bulls have an interesting mix of players on their roster for the 2016-17 season. It might seem interesting to see if Dwyane Wade and Rajon Rondo will mesh with Jimmy Butler. Some younger players are certainly struggling with their opportunities in such a unique roster. While rookie Denzel Valentine has struggled with making a little more than 30 percent of his field goals, he’s certainly not the most frustrating player in the red and black.
25 Cleveland Cavaliers – Mike Dunleavy
The defending NBA Champions have plenty of players about whom they should be excited in their title defense this season. With a roster that includes LeBron James, Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love, there are also some supporting players to help round out a talented team. However, one player who has certainly been a disappointment is Mike Dunleavy. Going on his 14th season in the NBA, Dunleavy has always been known for his three-point shooting.
24 Dallas Mavericks – Andrew Bogut
It’s hard to say bad things about someone who certainly performed adequately after being drafted first overall in the 2005 NBA Draft. The Australian born Andew Bogut hasn’t really been a major contributor with Golden State after years of being the main star for the Milwaukee Bucks. In his 12th season in the league, he’s certainly nowhere near meeting the numbers he once did 10 years ago with the Bucks.
23 Denver Nuggets – Emmanuel Mudiay
Let’s say there is a player in the NBA who is averaging a little more than 30 minutes per game and more than 15 points. With those types of numbers, it might be a surprise to learn that same player is only converting on about 35 percent of his shots from the field. Emmanuel Mudiay does have a respectable average as one of the top scorers for the Denver Nuggets, but it could be a lot if he made more of his opportunities.
22 Detroit Pistons – Stanley Johnson
It might be a little bit early to call Stanley Johnson a first-round bust in the NBA, but he’s certainly not showing a lot of upside as someone drafted by the Detroit Pistons eighth overall in the 2015 NBA Draft. After reasonable success playing at the University of Arizona, Johnson struggled to score 8.1 points per game in his rookie season while making only 37.5 percent from the field in 73 games.
21 Golden State Warriors – Anderson Varejao
There’s a good chance that Anderson Varejao might be nearing the end of this professional basketball career. This is after a long career mostly spent with the Cleveland Cavaliers after entering the NBA as a second round selection in the 2004 NBA Draft. His best years in the NBA were the two seasons from 2012 to 2013 when he had averages of 12.5 points and 13 rebounds per game, but his production continued to fall below the double figures in both to a point where the Cavaliers decided to trade Varejao to the Golden State Warriors last season.
20 Houston Rockets – Corey Brewer
Corey Brewer is entering his 10th season in the NBA and also currently playing for his fourth team. There were some reasonable expectations when the former small forward out of the University of Florida was chosen seventh overall in the 2007 NBA Draft. He struggled immeadiately to score more than five points per game in his rookie season and his numbers rose only a little bit.
19 Indiana Pacers – Glenn Robinson III
The “Big Dog” Glenn Robinson was a star in the NBA from 1994 to 2005 -- a career wherein he averaged 20.7 points and 6.1 rebounds in 688 career games for four different teams. His son, Glenn Robinson III, looked to be following in his father’s footsteps by playing college basketball at a Big Ten school in Michigan. He also found his own path into the NBA as a second round choice in the 2014 NBA Draft.
18 L.A. Clippers – Austin Rivers
Austin Rivers was a former top-10 draft choice in the 2012 NBA Draft by the New Orleans Hornets (now Pelicans) and he has seen plenty of action through the NBA. There’s no denying the basketball is a big part of his life; his father, Doc, is the current President of Basketball Operations for the Los Angeles Clippers. However, Rivers has not played to an acceptable level for someone who came into the league with a fair level of expectation.
17 L.A. Lakers – Metta World Peace
Whether you know him as Metta World Peace or by his original legal name of Ron Artest, you would probably recall that he has been a good player during most of his 15 seasons in the NBA before entering the 2016-17 season. World Peace has played nearly 1,000 games in the NBA with about 13.4 points per game and nearly five rebounds. Peace used to be a shoe-in to score in double digits, including a career-high 24.6 points per game with Indiana in 2004-05.
16 Memphis Grizzlies – Chandler Parsons
Most basketball players who are nearly seven feet tall should be able to collect more than a handful or rebounds. That rings especially true for the 6-foot-10 Chandler Parsons who has averaged more than 20 minutes per game this season. However, despite his height, he hasn’t really been known for his rebounding abilities. In about 350 games in the NBA, Parsons’ rebounding average is hovering around five per game. Maybe part of it has to do with the fact the team is putting him at small forward. However, Parsons isn’t alone as no one on the Grizzlies roster has a double-digit average in rebounding this season.
15 Miami Heat – Luke Babbitt
The Miami Heat have certainly fallen a long ways since the days of LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh forming one of the most dominant trios in the NBA. The team has struggled in recent seasons including a rough start to the 2016-17 season. One player who has contributed to a lot of the frustration is small forward Luke Babbitt as he continues to shoot barely above the 30-percent mark from the field.
14 Milwaukee Bucks – Jason Terry
There was once a time when Jason Terry was considered one of the more underrated shooting guards in the NBA. After being drafted 10th overall in the 1999 NBA Draft by the Atlanta Hawks, Terry put up some big numbers with close to 20 points per game in his second and third seasons in the league. Even when he wasn’t necessarily a part of the starting five with the Dallas Mavericks, he was still scoring more than 19 points per game and getting more than 30 minutes.
13 Minnesota Timberwolves – Brandon Rush
It’s hard to imagine that someone who plays the shooting guard position would continue to have scoring troubles more than five years after entering the NBA. Brandon Rush was never a major contributor in his first three seasons with the Indiana Pacers after being drafted in 2008. He was hovering around nine points per game before nearly averaging in double figures in the first year of his first run with Golden State.
12 New Orleans Pelicans – Solomon Hill
While Solomon Hill wasn’t a high first round draft choice by Indiana in the 2013 NBA Draft (23rd), the team certainly had some expectations. However, like many of the first round players we’ve pointed out in this list so far, Hill has struggled greatly despite playing in the small forward position. He didn’t play a lot of minutes in his rookie season, but he still averaged only 1.7 points through 28 games.
11 New York Knicks – Sasha Vujacic
A number of NBA fans might remember Sasha Vujacic as a Slovenian-born player who came to the Los Angeles Lakers as a late first round draft choice in 2004, but he’s never been able to find a consistent scoring groove through the first seven years of his NBA career. During that time, Vujacic converted on just 39.5 percent of his field goals to score just 5.6 points per game. This led to him being out of the NBA from 2011 to 2013.
10 Oklahoma City Thunder – Joffrey Lauvergne
While he’s still very young and adapting to the NBA style of play, French-born Joffrey Lauvergne has a large frame that should make him very effective under the rim. He averaged just under four points per game in less than 12 minutes a game as a rookie in the 2014-15 season with the Denver Nuggets. His second season saw him get more time with a little more than 17 minutes average over nearly 60 games.
9 Orlando Magic – C.J. Watson
C.J. Watson is another player who showed some promise as an undrafted player who first started with Golden State in 2007. In his third year, he scored more than 10 points per game while converting on nearly 47 percent from the field, but he struggled to replicate those numbers when he was in Chicago. His numbers were low for someone who plays the point guard position.
8 Philadelphia 76ers – Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot
The answer that many fans in Philadelphia would give when asked to name the worst player for the 76ers is likely “everyone.” The franchise has had several years of consistently bad basketball with a number of young players who never lasted long in the City of Brotherly Love. One of the latest additions to the 76ers who is showing early signs of mediocrity is small forward Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot.
7 Phoenix Suns – P.J. Tucker
P.J. Tucker’s career is like a cockroach as it can survive a deadly nuclear apocalypse. Tucker’s NBA career survived despite a nuclear disaster that was his rookie season. After being chosen in the second round of the 2006 NBA Draft in 2006, he played only 17 games and averaged less than two points per game. After that, he would spend the next five seasons playing in various leagues in Israel, Ukraine, Greece, Italy and Germany.
6 Portland Trail Blazers – Al-Farouq Aminu
The frustrating part about placing Al-Farouq Aminu as the worst of the Portland Trail Blazers is that he should honestly be better than that. Unfortunately, he’s struggled shooting from the field this season with making 25 percent from the field before a left calf injury sidelined him after starting the first eight games of the season. Aminu certainly receives plenty of chances because he has scored more than six points per game.
5 Sacramento Kings – Willie Cauley-Stein
After being selected sixth overall in the 2015 NBA Draft by the Sacramento Kings, Willie Cauley-Stein showed tiny bits of potential. He’s a seven-foot tall center who comes to the league from the storied program at the University of Kentucky. During his rookie season, he played in 66 games and was given some minutes to show what he could do inside the paint both on offense and defense. He scored just seven points per game and collected 5.3 rebounds last season.
4 San Antonio Spurs – Dejounte Murray
Head coach Gregg Popovich is someone who has always been known to build up superstars. He’s never had to rely on the higher officials at San Antonio to go out and pick up expensive free agents to win consistently. It shows how Popovich has been able to bring the best out of everyone who plays in his system. While he’s got a lot of talent for this season’s Spurs team, there are a few young rookies not capitalizing on opportunities.
3 Toronto Raptors – Patrick Patterson
It’s safe to say that when someone averages more than 30 minutes per game, they are expected to be the type of player who would score plenty of points, but in the first dozen games of the 2016-17 NBA season, Patrick Patterson scored less than six points per game. His shooting from the field during those 12 games has been an abysmal 28.6 percent, which includes making only 21.2 percent behind the three-point line. Along with a free throw conversion rate below 70 percent, Patterson is having his worst statistical season of his career.
2 Utah Jazz – Boris Diaw
There was once a time when Boris Diaw might have been considered a decent power forward in the NBA. The French-born basketball player was a first round selection in Atlanta in 2003 and had some highs and lows with the Hawks, but after a few years, he was starting to build up momentum with a three-season average of nearly 12 points per game and 50 percent shooting from the field for both Phoenix and Charlotte.
1 Washington Wizards – Jason Smith
For someone nearing 500 career games, Jason Smith has not truly been a key contributor at the center position. While standing at seven feet tall with 245 pounds of physical presence, his numbers show someone who has not truly been a force under the rim on both offense and defense. Smith has never had a double-digit scoring average in his NBA career and that doesn’t look like it will change in the 2016-17 season.
In the first 10 games he has played for the Wizards this year, Smith converted only 38 percent from the field for less than two points per games. His career also shows a rebounding average of about 3.5. He’s also averaging a tiny bit above one offensive rebound per game in his career, which means he’s not helping his teammates get second chances on offense.
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