It is commonplace in the NBA for most of the talk around any given team to revolve around the star players and top contributors. Usually, there are around three players who get all the press, and most of the rest seem to be mere fillers just taking up space. However, the fact is that these supplementary players can either flash unnoticed talent or be so bad that they are relegated almost exclusively to the bench.
This is the case with elite teams as well, and while it may appear that all-time great squads are stacked with talent from top to bottom, it is far from the truth. There have been some truly awful players on these renowned NBA teams, and most of them were by far a larger detriment than they were an asset. None of them actively hindered their team's success, but that was only because they played so sparingly that it was impossible to do so. It just proves that every team, regardless of skill and notoriety, will have a player or two at the bottom of the barrel who is the underwhelming outlier on a team otherwise stocked with skill.
Ranked below are the 15 worst players on iconic NBA teams.
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29 Mark Madsen - 2000 Lakers
Madsen's rookie season was spent on the championship-winning Lakers team in 2000, but it's safe to say that they didn't depend on his services to do so. Appearing in 70 games, he averaged just 2 PPG, in what was mostly a garbage time cleanup role to close out the clock. With a roster that featured the likes of Kobe and Shaq, nobody was expecting him to actually compete for starting playing time, but his production from this season remained the norm for Madsen throughout the rest of his NBA career. After spending a few more seasons in L.A., he then ventured to the Timberwolves for six years, before retiring in 2009. Despite playing in 453 NBA games and starting 70 of them throughout his career, he never averaged more than 3.2 PPG and 3.9 RPG as a career post player. He got his NBA Title here, but his personal play never reached that level.
27 William Bedford - 1989 Pistons
On a roster stocked to the brim with intimidating figures and miscreants, the "Bad Boy" Pistons also featured the mundane presence of William Bedford, appearing in 42 games for the team during their 1989-90 season. He averaged 2.8 PPG and 1.4 RPG. In total, he just wasn't good enough to find his way onto the court very often, playing less than 6 MPG during the season. For a former sixth overall pick, Bedford's career was a certified bust, spending just six seasons in the NBA, averaging 2.4 RPG as a center, in an era where the position was valued more than any other. This era of the Pistons featured some of the gutsiest players of the time period, who stood up to the league's elite with great play, and great smack talk. Bedford never fit the mold, and his career was over a short time later.
25 Mark McNamara - 1982 Sixers
Serving his rookie season in Philadelphia during their championship season in the 1982-83 season, McNamara landed on a gold mine early in his career. He could only find the court for 5.1 MPG that season, averaging a lowly 2.2 PPG. The Sixers evidently weren't impressed either, and he spent next season in a Spurs uniform, one of the six different teams McNamara played for in his eight-year career. For a seven-foot C to average 0.1 BPG during their career is truly suspect, considering that teams were clearly employing him for any defensive abilities he may have had, since his scoring never topped 5.5 PPG. Basically, he wasn't even a suitable niche player, and struggled in most aspects of the game. He got his ring in Philly during the 1982 season, but his career was otherwise a distinct disappointment.
23 Scott Williams - 1990 Bulls
Williams was a member of the Bulls for Jordan's first "three peat", but was hardly the catalyst that won them the titles. Williams averaged 2.5 PPG in the 1990-91 season, which achieved the first of Jordan's six titles. While he spent a long time in the league, Williams never really progressed past the level of a filler bench player. Even though in later seasons he would see his MPG increase, his career scoring average is 1.7 PPG. Despite every opportunity with multiple franchises, he was never able to take the next step into consistent productivity. Still, his career can boast three championship rings, and he remains a convincing example of why the amount of titles an individual player has, isn't indicative of their overall skill or value to their team.
21 Mengke Bateer - 2002 Spurs
He only spent a mere three seasons in the NBA, but appeared in 12 games for the title-winning Spurs team that featured Tim Duncan in his prime. Bateer was the definition of filler, finding his way onto the floor for just 3.8 MPG during that season. It was evident that he just wasn't able to play in the league, as he spent all three seasons on different teams, and was out of the league very quickly. Needless to say, Spurs coach Gregg Popovich wasn't impressed with his lack of ability, and Bateer wasn't even able to finish the duration of the championship season. Another player who was a filler, but he wasn't even able to make a sustainable career out of it. Ultimately, as we all know, the Spurs were not in need of his services to have perennial success.
19 Pepe Sanchez - 2000 Sixers
Allen Iverson's title-run team in 2000 wasn't really that good to begin with, when compared with the average team to make the Finals, so the fact that Sanchez is here truly shows just how bad he was. For starters, in the 2000-01 season alone, he played on three different teams, meaning that nobody saw any value whatsoever worth keeping. He failed to average over 1.0 PPG with any of them, and for his career, which lasted just one more season, his scoring average is at an unfathomably low 0.5 PPG. He appeared in 24 games with the Sixers, and his PG abilities weren't going to take over from the likes of Iverson's, so he drifted away after the season ended. Even on a limited roster like the 2000 Sixers, Sanchez was unquestionably the worst of the worst.
17 Eric Riley - 1993 Rockets
Riley spent five season in the NBA and was with a different team for each one of them. While that speaks to his mediocrity, he was able to spend his rookie year on the Rockets, as a part of one half of their championship teams in the 90s. Appearing in 47 games and starting in two during the 1993-94 season, Riley posted an abysmal 1.9 PPG, snagging 1.3 RPG. His natural position was C, and with Hakeem "The Dream" Olajuwon on the roster, Riley wasn't going to see much starting action. In subsequent seasons, his MPG increased, but his scoring averages barely did, and he finished with a 3.1 PPG clip for his entire career. On the Rockets, he was completely replaceable, and that was proved when he appeared in a Clippers jersey the following season. Ultimately, he didn't have the talent to sustain a long NBA career.
15 Ognjen Kuzmic - 2014 Warriors
When people talk about the burgeoning dynasty the Warriors have embarked upon recently, nobody brings up this name, and for good reason. Kuzmic was a fringe bench player during the Warriors title-winning 2014-15 season, and didn't appear on the roster last year. There's a reason for that; Kuzmic played 4.5 MPG and averaged 1.3 PPG. Golden State isn't a post-friendly team to begin with, but Kuzmic probably wouldn't have succeeded even with a team that likes to score within the paint. The fact that he obviously couldn't shoot either was the death knell for him on the most historic three-point shooting team of all time. Chalk this one up to another European who can't cut it on the NBA courts. The Warriors cut him, and Kuzmic hasn't played in an NBA game since. For now, Golden State will consider Kevin Durant a considerable upgrade.
13 Ronnie Lester - 1984 Lakers
Lester was fortunate enough to make the "Showtime" Lakers team, with the opportunity to play alongside some true all-time greats in Magic Johnson and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. His play however, was not even close to those elite names. Lester appeared in 32 games during the '84 season and barely registered any production at all in the 8.7 MPG he played. Clearly just another filler body off the bench, he stuck around just one more season in L.A. before retiring in 1986. He didn't walk away empty handed however, and was afforded a championship ring, off the backs of Johnson, Kareem and James Worthy. Not a key cog in the machine that was the Lakers dynasty in the 80's, but still technically on the roster, with statistics that showcase the importance of the star players on the "Showtime" teams.
11 Greg Kite - 1985 Celtics
It's strange that Kite carved out a relatively long career for himself, despite the fact that his numbers were almost always sub-par. He played for seven different teams, had a career total of just 2.5 PPG. For the 1985-86 Celtics that won the NBA Title, he registered just 1.3 PPG, in 64 game appearances. Even by bench player standards that isn't effective. As a career post player, he averaged 3.8 RPG, even with the advantage of having several years as a starter in Orlando during the early 1990s. Numbers like that truly make it curiosity on how he was able to sustain a career. Even so, he captured a ring with the Celtics in '85, which undoubtedly had to be the highlight of his career. The C position in the NBA during that era had to be able to produce, and Kite was never up to the challenge, posting some of the worst numbers for a player who lasted over ten years in the league.
9 Dexter Pittman - 2011 Heat
LeBron has had a penchant throughout his career for being able to get the most out of limited talent, but not even he could help Dexter Pittman. He was on the LeBron-led Heat teams, and in 2011 actually received 8.6 MPG of playing time, but didn't do much with it. The good news is that he achieved a career-high in PPG during that year; the bad news is that he only averaged 3.0 PPG. He remained around the league for another four years, but posted totals even lower than what he did in Miami. Clearly not cut out for a long NBA career, he didn't appear in any games last season, and the lid might be effectively shut on the possibility of doing so again. He had a chance to be another successful LeBron reclamation project, but his talent wouldn't allow him to do so. Really difficult to believe that he'll ever appear in the NBA again.
7 Sasha Kaun - 2015 Cavaliers
Want to know the most irrelevant player on the championship-winning Cavs team from last year? Well, it's this guy. Kaun is a 30-year-old NBA rookie, who was drafted in 2008 by the former Seattle SuperSonics, and just got around to playing NBA ball last season, after presumably spending the interim in a league overseas. In 25 games played, he averaged 0.9 PPG and a single rebound, which is bad even for fringe player standards. It's unlikely he'll be on the roster next season, he can always say he helped, in a very small part, to an NBA championship team. That may be the one and only career highlight for him, but at least it's one that's worthwhile. But really, Kaun is not good, and was definitely the worst player to appear on the Cavs roster last season.
5 Darvin Ham - 2003 Pistons
As is a common theme on this list, Ham played for a bevy of team during his less-than-ten-year NBA career. His most notable appearance came in Detroit, when the Pistons defied the odds and became NBA champions during the 2003-04 season. Averaging a lowly 1.8 PPG, Ham was certified bench filler, eating up minutes during garbage time so Rip Hamilton and Ben Wallace could take a breather. That doesn't make him good though, and his scoring average was 2.7 PPG for his entire career. He spent another season in Detroit in 2004-5 and then called it quits. With the amount of personalities on that Pistons team, it was unlikely that Ham would stand out even with decent bench play, but his poor number assured that he wouldn't be remembered. He was anonymous during his tenure with the multiple other teams he played for, and he simply followed suit in Detroit.
3 Dwayne Jones - 2006 Cavaliers
The 2006 Cavs showed that LeBron had the ability to get to an NBA Finals. It cemented his place in the NBA elite, showing he was able to elevate this mediocre roster to a championship series appearance. Dwayne Jones represents the worst of the worst on that team, which wasn't talented to begin with. A career 1.3 PPG scorer, Jones was mediocre in every facet of the game. As a PF, he registered a career 2.5 RPG. Other than one 56-game season in Cleveland after the NBA Finals year, the highest amount of game he played in during a single season, was 15. Not even LeBron was able to elevate Jones, and he retired with the Suns a few years later. Jones earns a high ranking here, because he wasn't even able to stay on a mediocre Cavs roster for a long period of time, meaning he was a detriment in just about every regard on the court.
1 Randy Brown - 1995 Bulls
Surely, Brown didn't fit in on one of the best NBA teams ever assembled, and the presence of Jordan, Pippen and Rodman assured him that he wouldn't need to take on a significant role. He averaged 2.7 PPG during the 1995-96 season, but he averaged almost 10 MPG, which lessens that figure even further. He played in 68 games total during that historic season, being relegated to the bench for all of them. On a team with as much established talent as they had, Brown was clearly the odd man out. For his career, he averaged 4.9 PPG, and that's with the advent of starting for 169 of them, appearing in 655 total. Without a doubt, one of the most mediocre players to ever sustain a career over 10 years, Brown was the weak link on the '95 Bulls, and most other rosters he was present on during his career.
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