When I was younger, I was a sports card junkie. I would scour thrift stores and local collector shops for all the cards I could find. Stupidly, I chose quantity over quality and would always pick four boxes of 1992 English Premier League cards instead of an Alex Rodriguez rookie card. I still have those EPL cards in the bottom of a cabinet somewhere and I curse myself every day.
My favorite manufacturer of cards was Topps and I had just about all of the 1999-2000 NBA Tipoff series. I studied the backs, attempting to memorize and rank every player's statistics. Through this, I accrued a decent knowledge of who was absolute garbage from the mid-eighties through the nineties. There were a lot.
As I was committing these cards to memory, my little nine-year-old brain began to realize something. For every white All-Star like John Stockton, there were fifteen white bench-warmers like Cherokee Parks. There were more and more white players that didn't belong on the court than I could ever imagine. Fast forward 15 years, and I thought it would be a great idea to compile a list of most head-scratching, talent-deprived white guys on the court.
Making this list was a ton of fun and I got to take a little trip down memory lane. Hopefully you will too. So, here are the 15 worst white players in NBA history.
15 Cherokee Parks
If you looked up the term "journeyman," it would have a picture of Cherokee Parks with the words "see: benchwarmer" underneath. Then, you would flip to "benchwarmer" and there would be a picture of Cherokee Parks with the word "see: journeyman" underneath. You would repeat the process ad nauseam until you feel like a fan of any of the teams that
had to see him suit up. Parks was too small to be much of a shot blocker or rebounder at the center position, too weak to properly match up against power forwards with a post game, and too slow to properly defend small forwards. Overall, this adds up to a player that just drifts around for years, not making any sort of an impact with any organization. Again, Parks was kept around only to spell much better players than him. Parks didn't spend more than 155 games with any team, and the reasons are obvious.
14 Mark Madsen
What a waste of a career. I don't understand how so many of these guys manage to make a decade-long career out of marginal talent and clunky athleticism. Mark Madsen is yet another big white guy who was put on the court in order to burn minutes while a superstar caught his breath on the sidelines. Madsen never averaged more than four points or four rebounds per game and he was just above 50 percent from the free throw line. What an unathletic buffoon. John Stockton played for good teams and actually contributed, while Mark Madsen rode the pine and got to dance at not one, but TWO NBA Championship celebrations. Stockton probably cries regularly about all of the awful players that were able to win titles by doing nothing. Madsen's terrible dance moves are all that he ever contributed to his time in the NBA and it's all that he'll ever be remembered for.
13 Brian Scalabrine
I believe that Brian Scalabrine is easily the most popular person on this list. I'm a Chicago Bulls fan and made to some games during his tenure, and if he got garbage time minutes, the crowd would go nuts. I mean absolutely bonkers. We would be screaming, chanting, yelling, and hollering for "the white mamba." If he managed to score, the roof would nearly come off the stadium. It was an amazing experience. I remember somebody made a Brian Scalabrine highlight video that compared some his shots to Michael Jordan's and it is hilarious. Of course, even though Scalabrine was liked off the court and seemed to be a great guy, he was unremarkable throughout his career. He was slow as could be, undersized to play center, too flat footed to play small forward and power forward, and he couldn't shoot to save his life. All in all, he was a bench played that logged some minutes and gave the stars a little bit of time to rest.
12 Pete Chilcutt
Some players are able to forge a career out of being clutch at the right moments. Look at Robert Horry. He was never a superstar in the NBA, but earned the moniker "Big-Shot Rob" by burying shots when his team needed him to. Well, Pete Chilcutt is a poor man's Robert Horry. Chilcutt had promising college career, and had a clutch reputation coming in to the NBA. However, it just disappeared! He moved all around the league and no change of scenery was able to change the fact that when the going got tough, Pete Chilcutt ran away and didn't do anything about it. To make matters worse, it wasn't even just his "clutch" game that disappeared, it was every part of his game. For his career, he finished just a tick over 44% from the field, which is nothing to write home about. With no discernible skills, Chilcutt retired in 2000, have made zero impact on the game.
11 Luke Walton
Somehow, Luke Walton commanded a six-year, $30 million contract after a season where he racked up 11.4 points per game, in what his best season by far. Walton never showed that he could average 11 points for his career. In the next four years with the Lakers, Walton’s points dropped from seven, to five, to two, and finally to one. He simply didn’t perform as well as his contract. Other than that one year, Walton was absolutely average and was too small to play power forward and not fast enough to play small forward. Thus, whenever he was on the court, whoever the Lakers were facing would be able to exploit a mismatch. Average players don’t get that many minutes to show that they can rise above and that was the case with Walton. For his career, Walton was an above-average passer, but couldn’t shoot or rebound well enough to keep himself off this list.
10 Todd Fuller
One of the main themes of this piece is that many of these guys were drafted much too early. Todd Fuller fits into that theme perfectly. Drafted ahead of Kobe Bryant, Steve Nash, Jermaine O’Neal and more, Fuller didn’t quite reach that level of superstardom. In fact, he could barely reach the net. After an average rookie year, Fuller never even reached that level again. He became a benchwarmer and bounced around a couple teams before retiring. Fuller didn’t even reach 1,000 total points before he said goodbye to basketball. Defensively, he was a sieve and, despite being almost seven feet tall, barely blocked any shots. So, Fuller fits the bill of not contributing anything except for a haircut that made him look like Guile from Street Fighter’s little brother. I mean seriously, he could be mistaken for a video game character’s dumb lanky brother. So you can add another draft bust to our list.
9 Chris Dudley
I'm not sure how this man stayed in the league for 886 games. Really, I'm scratching my head. I mean, he's a decent shot-blocker and an alright rebounder, but other than that, he didn't doesn't deserve over 20 minutes per game. His offensive game consisted of being large. His lifelong field goal percentage was just a shade over 41 percent, which as a center, is pretty horrendous. You're supposed to be more likely to put the ball in the basket when you're only five feet away! Of course, I have to mention Dudley's disgustingly poor free throw shooting ability (or lack thereof). Here are some Dudley facts. He never shot over 60
percent for a season. He was a career 45.8% free throw shooter. In 1989, he set an NBA record for most free throws missed in a single trip to the line, with five. The opposing team committed THREE lane violations and he still couldn't make one shot. He set an NBA record in 1990 by missing 13 consecutive free throws. This man must be who Ben Wallace looked up to.
8 Greg Ostertag
I'm sure you've started to notice a trend in this list. Many of the worst white players of all time are big, unathletic centers and power forwards who are acceptable on defense but have no clue how to deposit the ball in the hoop. Let's continue this with Greg Ostertag. He's pretty much a spitting image of Chris Dudley. Although, he's slightly more skilled offensively, he's a big tub of a guy who got tired very quickly. Maybe it's me, but I think that your starting center should be able to give you at least 25 minutes per game each night. He doesn't have to be giving you 36, but if he's not good enough to give 25, then maybe he shouldn't be the starting center! The fact is, conditioning is extremely important in all sports. A lack of conditioning, leads to inconsistency, because when Ostertag got tired, he wouldn't hustle down the court and the Jazz would be outnumbered and get scored on. Again, it's hard to believe he was an integral part of an NBA team for a decade.
7 Shawn Bradley
This might be a controversial choice to some, but I think that Bradley definitely deserves a spot on this list. He was drafted second overall in 1993, ahead of such excellent players as Penny Hardaway, Jamal Mashburn, Allan Houston, Sam Cassell, and many more. I'm sure the 76ers were thinking that he would transition into an unstoppable juggernaut at both ends of the court. Defensively, he mostly succeeded, averaging 2.5 blocks per game for his career, but his rebounding numbers were poor for always being the tallest guy on the
court. Offensively, he averaged 8.1 points per game, which certainly isn't the worst on this list, but Bradley was supposed to dominate. One factor in his lack of success was that he only weighed 275 pounds for his career and was even smaller than that when he entered the league. Bradley was often pushed around by stockier players. He also missed games in every season he played in, other than two. Combine all those factors and Bradley has earned a place on this list.
6 Dan Dickau
While making up this list, I realized that the majority of the entries are tall, unathletic centers and power forwards. So, I figured that I would need to do some research on the mid-sized guys. Enter Dan Dickau. In addition to having a terrible name, Dickau had a terrible game as well. He committed turnovers and bricked a ton of shots. I remember seeing Dan Dickau inbound a ball straight to a Golden State Warrior, who took it in for an easy layup. I mean, I’ve only played basketball recreationally, but I’m pretty sure that I can differentiate between colors. Maybe Dickau is color blind? That would explain a lot.
I also thought that ball handlers needed to have excellent decision-making skills. Dickau had the decision-making skills of Homer Simpson or Peter Griffin. The more I think of it, the more likely it is that Dickau had some sort of vision problems.
5 Jan Vesely
Although Jan Vesely is only 26, he deserves a spot on this list. He was the sixth overall pick by the Washington Wizards in 2011 and was taken ahead of other players such as Kemba Walker, Klay Thompson, Kawhi Leonard, and many more who are still helping their teams. After a rough rookie year, he somehow devolved drastically. All of his numbers dropped, and after three seasons with Washington, he was traded to the Denver Nuggets where he floundered. Get this. Vesely's lifetime field goal percentage was higher than his free throw percentage. He shot 52.1% from the field and made 40.8% of his free throws. How mind-boggling awful. Here's one more head-scratching statistic. For his NBA career, Vesely's fouls per-36 minutes is 5.6. So if he played a typical amount of minutes, he would be in danger of fouling out in EVERY GAME. My goodness. What's the point of having him on the court if he's just going to do his best to leave? Vesely is currently playing in Turkey with NBA opt-out clauses every summer, so we might be seeing him again.
4 Adam Morrison
Perhaps the biggest bust on this list, Adam Morrison came out of college like a freight train. After a great college career in which he was the NCAA Division I scoring leader in 2006, Morrison looked like the world was his oyster. However, the oyster quickly clammed up and Morrison will be looked at as one of the biggest draft busts in NBA history. He contributed virtually nothing in his two NBA championship wins win the Los Angeles Lakers, only playing in 39 regular season games and two playoff games. Morrison was such a sad case because he actually had a decent rookie year and then everything fell apart after a torn ACL. He actually had some skills and could have ended up with a decent career. I don't think he was every going to be the superstar he was in college, but he could have been at least at the sixth man level. After his injury, he floundered in Charlotte before being traded to the Lakers and was out of the league two years later.
3 Jon Koncak
This man was the recipient of one of the worst contracts in NBA history. In 1989, the Atlanta Hawks signed him to a six-year deal worth $13 million. By today's standards, that's total chump change. In 1989, the Hawks believed he was worth more than Magic Johnson, Michael Jordan, and Larry Bird. This is comparable to signing Steven Adams to a six-year deal worth around $150 million. I don't think there's a person alive who would make Steven Adams their franchise player. There's some perspective for you.
After the contract was signed, Koncak spent much of the rest of his career coming off the bench. Sure, he was consistent and didn't miss too many games, but his production didn't begin to approach the amount of money he was making. Koncak averaged 4.5 points per game for his career and 4.9 rebounds. What an incredible waste of money and time. Here's one more statistic. Koncak's win share for his 784 game career was 29.2. So, this means that in all of those 784 games, you could point to 29 of them and say "hey, he actually helped the team win." Wow.
2 Darko Milicic
In case you live under a rock, the Detroit Pistons chose Darko Milicic second overall in 2003 in front of such Hall of Famers as Chris Bosh, Dwyane Wade, and Carmelo Anthony. These men have led their teams to numerous playoff appearances and have accumulated many individual awards as well. Darko Milicic may be an NBA champion, but he only appeared in eight games and had one point. That’s right. One single point. He made one free throw out of four. Milicic was a poor free throw shooter in his career, finishing at 57.4%. It doesn’t help that Milicic had zero basketball instincts. The physical tools were there for him to succeed, but there was no way he was going to reach stardom without working harder for it. There are so many guys who don’t have much talent but make up for it by hustling and playing their heart out. Milicic did the opposite of this and paid for it.
1 Nikoloz Tskitishvili
In my head, I shorten his first name to "Nik" and don't even try to pronounce his last name. I feel very bad for fans of the Denver Nuggets, as they passed up Nene and Amar'e Stoudemire for this guy. They may not be Hall of Famers, but they are at least competent basketball players. The strangest part of the choice is that immediately previously to being drafted, Tskitishvili played in Italy and averaged 6.6 points in 15 games. That's it. No monster numbers. No lights-out shooting from behind the arc. No dominant post game. Perhaps the Denver front office thought that he might be able to develop into a beast, but obviously it never panned out. For his 172 game career, Tskitishvili shot just barely over 30 percent from the floor. He was seven feet tall, 245 pounds, couldn't score if his life depended on it and was an all-around disappointment.
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