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.
His best seasons were during his time with the New Jersey Nets for two seasons between 2010 and 2012. Humphries was converting on more than half of his field goals while averaging 11.7 points and 10.7 rebounds per game. Since then, he’s failed to average in double figures in any of the major statistical categories. Overall, Humphries has underachieved as a former 14th overall selection in the 2004 NBA Draft.
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.
Young would suffer from a sophomore slump, during which time his time was cut to nearly seven minutes for each of his 29 games in the 2015-16 season. In that span, he’s averaged just one point per game and converted on just 30.6 percent of his field goal attempts. While he obviously hasn’t had a lot of minutes, he’s not playing like a first round shooting guard that fans would expect.
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.
He’s received plenty of minutes with an average of more than 15 minutes per game, but he hasn’t been able to convert on his opportunities with a scoring average below five points early in his rookie season. While there are some players who have had lower scoring numbers, Whitehead is also among the team leaders in turnovers per game with more than two-and-a-half per game.
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.
But the frustrating thing is that Sessions has been productive in the past. His best year was during the 2010-11 season with Cleveland, when he averaged 13.3 points and 5.2 assists in 81 total games. He also had 14.4 points per game in the 2012-13 season in his first stint with Charlotte – when they were the Bobcats. But those numbers have fallen greatly as he’s bounced around the league in his nine seasons.
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.
While he’s certainly not the lowest performing player on the roster, he’s worth criticism after signing a two-year, $28 million deal last offseason. Rondo has converted on less than 40 percent from the field, after averaging more than 45 percent shooting in his previous nine seasons between Boston, Dallas and Sacramento. Hopefully his current ankle injury won’t impact the remainder of the season, but it’s looking like the Bulls signing Rondo could be an off-season bust.
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.
But this year, he’s missed the mark more often than the usual. After his numbers falling during his previous three season in Chicago, Dunleavy has averaged less than five points per game and making less than 30 percent of his shots behind the three-point line. While he’s not expected to be a team leader in scoring, there was likely some hope he would be a big contributor coming off of the bench for the Cavaliers.
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.
With averaging more than 20 minutes per game during the first few weeks of the season, he’s at risk of having a career-low in points per game. Before this season, his worst scoring season was last year with the Warriors (5.4 points per game). The one reason he’s kept on the court is his ability to average double figures when it comes to rebounding. Still, an inside player scoring less than 45 percent of his field goals seems underwhelming for a former first-round draft choice.
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.
The second year player continues to struggle behind the three-point line with a percentage under 33 percent. He’s also been credited for turning the ball over more than four times per game, which is an increase from his rookie season. He has to improve his ability to convert more of his opportunities because those numbers can only stay above 15 points per game for so long.
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.
Those numbers have taken a dip early in the 2016-17 season. So has the amount of time he’s been on the court, which can be expected when you aren’t producing in the paint, behind the three-point arc or even on the free throw line. Johnson could need a trip to the NBA D-League in an effort to help him improve his overall shooting.
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.
Last year, Varejao averaged less than three points per game in very limited time. It might seem harsh to be critical of a center who has averaged only a few minutes per game early on, but that’s because Golden State can afford to keep him on the bench for 90 percent of the game, especially when Varejao’s best days were about five years ago.
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.
There was a three-season span between Denver, Minnesota and Houston, when he scored in double figures, but he’s been one of the worst shooters in the NBA. While he has a career field goal percentage a little more than 42 percent, he’s continued to struggle behind the three-point arc with a career percentage just above 25 percent. This season, he’s barely scored more than four points per game while making less than 20 percent from long range for the Rockets.
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.
But Robinson III was traded during his rookie season to the Philadelphia 76ers. He came to the Pacers last season and scored less than four points per game in 45 games in the 2015-16 season. While he’s only played 90 games, his numbers continue to be a fraction of what his father was able to do in the mid-1990s and 2000s.
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.
Rivers has easily averaged more than 20 minutes per game in nearly 300 total appearances. While playing for the Clippers, he’s averaged less than eight points per game while converting on 42 percent of his field goals. He’s also made less than 70 percent of his free throws. Rivers has not shown that he can consistently collect rebounds, assists or steals. Rivers might risk playing himself out of the NBA if he doesn’t make the necessary adjustments.
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.
However, his age and health have been factors as his numbers have sharply declined in the past few seasons. Last year, he only scored five points per game in 35 appearances. He hasn’t played much and likely won’t get a lot more time on the court. The man formerly known as Artest will likely have to consider retirement sooner rather than later.
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.
His ability to score points has also taken quite a hit this season as he’s scoring less than 40 percent on the season from the field. Parsons also doesn’t have the most impressive numbers shooting from the foul line. This all leads to his points per game average being cut in half from last season to this year. Parsons is also dealing with a lingering knee injury as he aims to turn things aroudn.
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.
That’s not to say that Babbitt was known for his scoring. His career field goal percentage is barely above 40 percent and his career average is less than five points per game as he is playing in his seventh season in the NBA. While it’s hard to produce a lot of points with a career average of under 15 minutes per game, Babbitt hasn’t shown any reason to earn more minutes on the court.
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.
But over the last few years, those numbers have fallen. His field goal shooting fell from around 48 percent to the 40 percent he shot with the Houston Rockets last season. He’s only played a handful of games so far with the Bucks, but he’s at risk of new career-lows in field goals, points and rebounds.
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.
However, his numbers began to decline when he averaged just 2.1 in Utah during the 2013-14 season. His numbers were worse in 2014-15 when he returned to the Warriors. He made only 20.4 percent from the field for less than one point per game in 33 games. Rush continues to struggle in Minnesota with numbers that are rivaling the 2014-15 season in 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.
His best season was the 2014-15 season, when he played all 82 games. But he made just 39.6 percent from the field for less than nine points per game. Overall, he’s shot just a bit more than 40 percent from the field and he’s done worse behind the three-point arc with about 32 percent. He’s not a completely awful shooter since he’s made more than 80 percent from the free throw – so he’s got that going for him at least.
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.
Vujacic only played two games with the Lakers in the 2013-14 season before he made his return to the league with New York last season. Vujacic still hasn’t improved during his time away from the NBA as he scored less than five points over more than 60 games. In the limited time he’s played so far this year, his field goal percentage is well under 30 percent, which would risk being a career low.
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.
Unfortunately, the real problem for Lauvergne is that he’s 6-foot-11 and averaging only a handful of rebounds per game. That shows that he hasn’t been playing physical enough despite being a larger player that has more than 200 pounds of weight to go with it. If Lauvergne was able to play more physical and collect more rebounds, this would be a different story.
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.
Last season was his first with the Orlando Magic and he had his worst scoring numbers since his rookie season. In 33 games, Watson averaged only 4.3 points per game while making only 34.3 percent from the field. In the first 10 games of his season he’s played, Watson has averaged barely more than one point per game and shot less than 20 percent from the field. Don’t be surprised if he finds himself in the D-League before the All-Star break.
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.
The team’s late first round selection in this year’s NBA Draft has not impressed the team enough to earn more than five minutes of time on the court. This has led Luwawu-Cabarrot to having the lowest field goal percentage (38.5 percent) and the lowest points per game (1.6) on the team. It might seem harsh to put a rookie on this list, but Philadelphia has a recent track record of first-round busts.
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.
The well-traveled Tucker had some moderate success as a bench contributor that included more than nine points per game with the Phoenix Suns for the two seasons between 2013 and 2015. His field goal percentage fell to just above 41 percent last year, but he still had eight points per appearance in all 82 games. Early this season, he’s struggled to shoot above 30 percent and could be falling into the old bad habits.
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.
Aminu is a larger player who was able to score in double figures last season when he first joined Portland. He has shown the abilities to be a great small forward with a combination of speed and size at six-foot-nine. That’s why he started all 82 games for the Trail Blazers last season, but overall, he’s only averaged about seven points per game in his career. He should have bigger numbers, but doesn’t.
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.
This year is showing a sophomore slump in which he’s scored less on the floor and even less rebounds. When a player is at or above seven feet in height, there is a level of expectation to be able to get the ball to either give your offense a second chance or prevent that second chance for the opponents’ offense.
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.
And with a team as talented as San Antonio, players like Dejounte Murray may not get a lot of opportunities when he’s made about 20 percent of his field goals in the limited minutes he’s played. It seems unfair, but he’s got the worst shooting percentage on the team. He’s not the only youngster not doing well, as he’s joined by Bryn Forbes and Davis Bertans as players who could be demoted to the D-League later this season.
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.
That’s not to say that Patterson was ever considered an amazing player, but he was able to score an average of 10.4 points through 71 games between Houston and Sacramento. Still, he’s never proven himself to be a consistent scoring threat as he is playing in his seventh season in the NBA.
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.
But his minutes have diminished in the last five seasons with his scoring average falling to about seven points per game in that span. Last season, he scored just 6.4 points in each of his 76 games with the San Antonio Spurs. Diaw hasn’t played much this season, but has averaged less than three points per game in the first month of the season.
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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