What does it take to be considered the worst player in the NBA?
There are many parameters that come into play when discussing this topic with many of them surrounding the same subject, performance. But there are a ton of players that end up playing in the NBA that fail to produce very much on the offensive side of the court.
So you need to also consider other factors like games played, seasons in the league, postseason appearances, and win shares. If a player is going to be called the worst, he must have been useless to his team.
We decided to narrow the search down to one decade, the 1990s. This was a time when the NBA was booming while players like Michael Jordan, Karl Malone, Shaquille O'Neal, Shawn Kemp, Hakeem Olajuwon, and Kobe Bryant started to take the league by storm and bring in a new era.
Here are our picks for the 20 worst NBA players in the '90s.
20 Scot Pollard, C
While at the University of Kansas, Scot Pollard was a big, tough, midwest boy that could defend the paint better than most of the conference, or the entire NCAA. He spent three years averaging ten or more points and around seven to eight rebounds a game.
However, after one year with Detroit, he was quickly traded to the Atlanta Hawks before they waived him a month later. A few days later, he signed on with the Sacramento Kings where he would
19 Sharone Wright, C
At sixth overall, the Philadelphia 76ers expected big things from former center Sharone Wright.
He returned the favor during his rookie year by making the All-Rookie team during the 1994-95 season but then steadily started to watch his career decline following an accident.
That accident sent him from being a 16.5 points per game star to a 6.5 point scorer that was struggling to get playing times every night. He simply could not get back to his old self and lasted just one more year before heading overseas.
18 Bryant Reeves, C
At Oklahoma State, Bryant Reeves averaged 17.4 points, 8.5 rebounds, and 1.4 blocks per game during his four year career. That average was even more impressive without including his freshman season when he was scoring 20.8 points, 9.7 rebounds, and 1.7 blocks a game.
This justified the Vancouver Grizzlies selecting him sixth overall during the 1995 NBA Draft. For three years, it looked as if that investment paid off but then he started showing up to practice overweight and that just made the big man struggle with even more injuries until he eventually retired during the 2001-02 NBA season.
17 Cherokee Parks, C
There are not very many NBA players that went to Duke that wind up playing in the NBA for nine seasons and never once become anything more than a benchwarmer. That is, except for Cherokee Parks, who struggled to be the same center he was in college after the Dallas Mavericks drafted him 12th overall in 1995.
For playing just nine seasons, Cherokee Parks still managed to play for seven different NBA teams, trying to find his spot on any team possible. But everywhere he went, he simply did not fit in and could not produce so he wound up on the trading block or worse.
16 Samaki Walker, PF
Maybe leaving college with two years remaining was not the best option for Samaki Walker. He was a star at the University of Kentucky for two seasons before he decided to forego his eligibility and declared himself eligible for the NBA Draft where he was selected ninth overall by the Dallas Mavericks in 1996.
His career was a battle of the good and the bad mixed in with a few injuries and some bad luck while going from Dallas to San Antonio to Los Angeles and then Miami, Washington, and Indiana. Not once did he truly find himself a home and he struggled to be the player he was in college.
15 Tony Battie, C
Although this list is centered around the worst players from the '90s, Tony Battie played all the way through 2012. But his career started in 1997 when he was drafted fifth overall by the Denver Nuggets.
He makes our list because any time a man is drafted as high as he was, they do not usually wind up averaging 6.1 points and 5.1 rebounds for a career. He was not picked in the top five so that he could be nothing more than mediocre for his entire career.
14 Pete Chilcutt, PF
Unless you are a fan of the North Carolina Tar Heels, you have no clue who this Pete Chilcutt guy is and why his name is appearing on this list. It has a lot to do with how he spent the majority of his career, which lasted from 1991 until 2000.
He spent his nine year NBA career playing for multiple teams including the Houston Rockets, in which he was lucky enough to win a NBA title with during the 1994-95 season. That season, he average 5.3 points and 4.7 rebounds. It became one of his best seasons but no where close to what was expected out of him coming from UNC.
13 Bobby Hurley, PG
Of the three players on our list from Duke, Bobby Hurley was by far the best of the group. During his collegiate years, he averaged 12.4 points, 7.7 assists, 2.2 rebounds, and 1.4 steals per game for his career while winning two NCAA titles after losing the national title game during his freshman season.
His game started off down the right path and his NBA career started with averages of 7.1 points and 6.1 assists per game thru his first 19 career games until a car accident changed his entire life. He was not wearing a seat belt and nearly died. When he returned to the NBA, he was never the same.
12 Eric Montross, C
While at the University of North Carolina, Eric Montross was a beast. He was 7'0" and dominated the paint while adding the ability to score 11.7 points per game. But he was also a defensive monster and helped led the Tar Heels to a title in 1993.
By the time he got to the NBA, Eric Montross had a minor injury that manifested itself into a serious problem every single season he played in the NBA. His rookie season was great but then he started to battle the foot injury that would end up forcing him into an early retirement by 2001.
11 Felton Spencer, C
Unlike the other big men on this list, Felton Spencer spent all four years in college improving year after year. His numbers continued to progress from his freshman season until he graduated four years after. That progression was a sign that he could be taught and that he could be turned into a star center in the NBA.
But, he found himself in a bad situation everywhere he went and had to battle for playing time against other big men, some of which were bigger and more experienced. But he never gave up and continued to fight. The entire time he battled for starts, he was fighting a losing battle and he wound up playing for 12 years with very little to show for it beyond a career average of 5.2 points and 5.4 rebounds per game, not the best showing from a monster center.
10 Ed O'Bannon, SF
Ed O'Bannon's career will forever be linked to the lawsuit he started which caused an end to all of the college sports video games millions of people used to play every year. He helped ruin an entire series of sports gaming thanks to the idea that he, and all players whose likeliness was used in the games, deserved to be paid.
That was the type of man he was and his career in the NBA was just as similar. He wanted to play on the West Coast but ended up as far from it as possible when the New Jersey Nets drafted him. He spent two seasons struggling to get comfortable in the league and became homesick, which led to the ending of his career, after two seasons and 128 games.
9 Greg Foster, C
For a man who spent 13 years in the NBA, it is hard to think he would make a list talking about the worst players from the '90s. But the only reason he wound up playing for so long was partially because of his size and his ability to come off the bench and help the starting big man get some much needed rest. He was a reserve that stole minutes all the time, giving others very beneficial bench time.
So, even though he played more seasons than a majority of NBA players have in their careers, Greg Foster was still just a 3.9 points and 2.6 rebounds per game center that barely even blocked a shot during a game. He was nothing more than a pick-and-roll guy that teams took advantage of on offense.
8 Shawn Respert, SG
After the Portland Trail Blazers drafted Shawn Respert with the eighth overall pick in the 1995 draft, they decided to trade him to the Milwaukee Bucks where he was immediately welcomed by the fans and teammates.
But the excitement was short-lived and after playing just a season and a half in Milwaukee, he was shipped to Canada where he wound up playing for the Raptors until 1998 when he was waived. He then managed to play for the Dallas Mavericks and Phoenix Suns before calling it quits in 1999.
7 Luc Longley, C
There are two things that you cannot teach. The first thing is instincts, which is an athlete's natural ability to quickly process information and make correct decisions to help them be successful in their sport. The second one is height. That is genetics and there is nothing you can do to make someone taller except hope.
Luc Longley is 7'2" and has been for the better part of his basketball career, which began in Australia. That is the only reason he managed to stick around for ten seasons. He had his best span during the Bulls back-to-back-to-back NBA Championships when he averaged 9.9 points, 5.5 rebounds, 2.4 assists. and 1.2 blocks per game. Outside of that three year period, he was mainly used as a giant wall in the lane.
6 Calbert Cheaney, SG
At Indiana, Calbert Cheaney was a God. He was the 1993 National College Player of the Year, a consensus First-Team A.A., the Big Ten Player of the Year, and a two-time Third-Team A.A. while averaging 19.8 points, 5.4 rebounds, and 1.7 assists per game throughout his career.
That was enough to earn him a sixth overall draft pick selection in 1993. His scoring ability shined for his first few years but then fell completely off the map by 1998. It was almost like his ability to shoot the ball was getting harder and harder for him every year. His numbers confirmed it.
5 Dickey Simpkins, PF
How lucky can one guy be?
Dickey Simpkins is the proud owner of three NBA Championship rings thanks to Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen. But what makes him even more lucky is that he won his first ring during the 1996-97 season while playing just 8.2 minutes a game.
The next season, he wound up in San Francisco where he played for the Golden State Warriors before they waived him in February and the Chicago Bulls resigned him in March, just before the season ended. He wound up winning a second title that season and another in year three.
For a power forward, all he could do was average 4.2 points and 3.6 rebounds per game for his career.
4 Yinka Dare, C
Yinka Dare was a big guy from Nigeria that dominated his two seasons in college at George Washington University. He showed the ability to score and play defense while grabbing rebounds and blocking all kinds of shots. He averaged 2.3 blocks per game for his NCAA career.
But he lacked plenty of aspects to his game that would have made him a star in the NBA. One of those was just how raw his talent was, coming from Nigeria and not having been coached like he should have been in college. He did not get much better in college and it showed when he got to the NBA.
3 Antonio Lang, SF
As you have already seen, a lot of Duke's former players do not end up sticking around the NBA for years, struggling to find their ways. But there are a couple of exceptions and Antonio Lang was one of them. He battled a serious knee injury that ended up changing him throughout his entire NBA career.
That same knee injury turned him into a poor offensive player, averaging just 2.3 points over the course of his career, while not even playing more than 9.8 minutes a night. It is a wonder how he managed to last six seasons but it helped that he had the abilities, he just struggled to harness them into a talented career.
2 Bo Kimble, SG
Any time a player is taken in the top-eight of the NBA Draft, chances are, they have enough abilities to be able to become a superstar one day. Or, in the very least, they have displayed the ability for a franchise to take their chances on the prospect.
So when Bo Kimble was selected by the Los Angeles Clippers in 1990, with the eighth overall selection, they thought they were picking the best player for their team. The biggest downfall to Bo's career was not so much the series of injuries he battled or the lack of playing time the Clippers were offering him during his rookie season.
His career was haunted by the death of his best friend and former collegiate teammate, Hank Gathers, who died of a heart condition during the West Coast Conference tournament the same year Bo was drafted to play for LA.
1 Jim McIlvaine, C
If you are at least seven-foot tall, you have a chance to earn a living playing in the NBA. For every inch taller than seven feet, you increase your chances of sticking around regardless of what you can do on the court.
That brings us to our top pick in the list, the 7'1" giant from Wisconsin, Jim McIlvaine. The center spent seven seasons in the NBA, playing a grand total of 401 games while just averaging 2.7 points, 3.1 rebounds, and 1.7 blocks per game. He was a poorree throw shooter and was nothing more than a big-boned body that could stand in the paint and stop a couple of plays per game.
How can someone be that tall and that big yet not get more than a couple of rebounds a game?