With the recent hype over the Ball family, and the up and down play of Lonzo’s first few games in the NBA, 2017-18 is the year of the point guard in the NBA. And it will likely remain that way throughout this generation. Russell Westbrook is coming off a record-setting, MVP season, and two All-Star point guards in James Harden and Chris Paul, have joined forces down in Space City. The “Greek Freak” is redefining the position in Milwaukee, while Kyrie Irving tries to rewrite his career in Beantown. We’re seeing how teams need to have elite play from the position in order to have success.
Overall, today’s point guard play is the most fun and exciting part of the NBA. But, every year, there is a player that doesn’t perform. Whether they aren’t distributing the ball smoothly, or turning the ball over too much, there are some guards that just have bad seasons. Today, we will rank these point guards based on their normal stats, but will also look at their Player Efficiency Rating (PER), +/- ratio, and overall presence on the court. Gear up for the worst NBA starting point guard every season since 1990.
28. 1990-91: John Paxson
Okay, so before we get into this, let’s really understand what Player Efficiency Rating is all about. In general, PER is a measurement of a player’s performance based on a per-minute basis. Pretty much, it’s a measure of how well that player performed while he was on the court. The league average is always a 15.0, and in our first case, John Paxson had a PER of 10.1 in the 1990-1991 season.
While he started all 82 games, and average 24 minutes per game, Paxson never really made an impact, even when the GOAT himself, Michael Jordan, was on his team. While he did average 10 ppg, Paxson only put up 4 assists per game, and never contributed significantly in any other statistical category. He did make some impactful plays in his career, but in the 1990-1991 season, he was arguably the worst point guard in the league.
27. 1991-92: Mark Macon
For all of you basketball nerds, Marc Macon technically was the starting shooting guard in his rookie season with the Denver Nuggets in 1991-92, but he manned the reigns on offense occasionally, and makes our worst point guard of the season. The former Temple Owl did average a career high 10.6 PPG this season, but never contributed in any other statistical category.
Back to player efficiency, Macon wasn’t utilizing his 30.3 minutes per game, and only had a PER of 7.9. The Nuggets finished 24-58 on the year, and Macon’s career went down the drain. Despite starting his career starting in 67 games, after the 1991-92 season, he only started 35 more games in his next six years in the NBA. Maybe he should have stayed at shooting guard!
26. 1992-93: Randy Brown
You have to do more than score as a point guard in the NBA. Take Randy Brown. If you look at MPG and PPG, you might say, “Wow, this guy wasn’t so bad.” But 23 MPG and 7.6 PPG don’t look as good when you put them next to sub-3 assists and rebounds per game. With all that, the then Sacramento Kings point guard had an efficiency of 9.3 over 37 starts that year.
Sacramento isn’t the team that Brown was remembered for though. The former New Mexico State State Aggie signed with the Chicago Bulls in 1995, and became an integral part off the bench to Jordan’s second multi-championship run. He eventually earned back the starting job in 1998. But, again, in the 1992-93 season, he was the worst starting point guard in the league.
25. 1993-1994: Derek Harper
Now, personally, I used to love Derek Harper. The Dallas Mavericks legend was known for being hardworking guard with hustle and intelligence, something most fans can relate to. Early on in his career, he was even named to the NBA All-Defensive Second Team and was part of a tag team duo with fellow Dallas guard, Rolando Blackman.
But everyone has their down years, and for Harper, that came in the 1993-94 season when 28 games in, he was traded to the New York Knicks to replace the injured Doc Rivers. While Harper did play a vital role in almost winning a championship, his efficiency and numbers were extremely poor, and that’s why he makes our list. Other than that, I’ve got nothing more to say about you Harp.
24. 1994-95: Terry Dehere
There is no doubting that Terry Dehere was one of the great college basketball players of the 90s. He was named three-time First-Team All-Big East, and won the Big East Player of the Year in 1993. Dehere’s number 24 jersey is now hanging from the rafters in Prudential Center. But, like many, college success does not always transfer to the next level.
Dehere was drafted 13th overall by the L.A. Clippers, and by his second season, was trying to make an impact in the league. He averaged over 10 PPG on 22 MPG, and slowly moved towards the starting role at the end of the 1994-95 season. The problem was that he was still inefficient on the floor, coming in with a PER of 8.0 that year. The Clippers ended up 17-65 that year, so no matter what, they were just bad team all around.
23. 1995-96: Lindsey Hunter
Lindsey Hunter was a staple in Detroit throughout his career. While he backed up Chauncey Billups later on, in his early days, Hunter ran the offense for the Pistons. Despite winning two NBA Championships in 2002 and 2004, the former Jackson State Tiger struggled early in the NBA. Specifically, he was the worst starting point guard i the 1995-96 season.
We understand that he only started in about half the games that season, but that still counts in our books. Hunter only put up 8.5 PPG and 2.4 APG while appearing in about 27 minutes per game. That translates to an efficiency of 8.2, which ranks among the worst point guards that season. The Pistons were eliminated via a 0-3 sweep in the first round of the playoffs.
22. 1996-97: Lee Mayberry
Mayberry was known as the staple of consistency in his early years. Not because he was anything special, but because he was able to stay healthy and played in 328-consecutive games for the Milwaukee Bucks. After spending a few years in Milwaukee, Mayberry moved his way to Canada and played a few years with the Vancouver Grizzlies.
In his first season with the Grizzlies, the former Arkansas Razorback put up 5.1 ppg to go along with 4.1 apg on an average of 24.4 mpg. Dismal numbers for a guy that they were hoping would give a spark to a team that was 15-67 the year before. With an efficiency rating of 7.7, it’s safe to say that Mayberry was the worst starting PG in the NBA in the 1996-1997 season.
21. 1997-98: Khalid Reeves
Reeves is an Arizona Wildcat legend. Along with Damon Stoudamire, Reeves took the University of Arizona to the 1994 NCAA Championship game, but eventually lost to the University of Arkansas. He was taken 12th overall in the 1994 draft by the Miami Heat, but his college success never transferred to the NBA.
Due to inconsistent play and injuries, Reeves bounced around the league his first few years, but finally got the opportunity to start in Dallas in the 1997-98 season. In an average of just under 24 minutes per game, Reeves was able to average only 8.2 points and 2.8 assists. Dallas went on to have a record 20-62, and Reeves was the worst starting point guard in the NBA that season.
20. 1998-99: Cuttino Mobley
Cuttino “Cat” Mobley broke into the NBA as a rookie out of Rhode Island in the 1998-99 season. He was taken 41st overall by the Houston Rockets, and surprised many when he made the NBA All-Rookie Second Team that same season. Despite these achievements, he still ranks as our worst point guard in the 1998-99 (mostly because we didn’t want too many repeats!).
In his rookie campaign, Mobley shot poorly form behind the arc at less than 36%, and averaged only 9.9 points and 2.5 assists over the 37 games that he started. But, in the following years, Cat was a staple in the Rockets’ offense when he moved to the shooting guard and Steve Francis was able to handle the rock, averaging in the high teens and low 20s for the majority of his career.
19. 1999-00: Vonteego Cummings
After the Indiana Pacers selected the University of Pittsburgh point guard with the 26th overall pick in the 1999 draft, Cummings was immediately traded to the the Golden State Warriors, who were coming off a bad year, going 21-29 in the lockout-shortened 1998-1999 season. Throughout the year, Cummings was able to work his way up the ranks and eventually started for the Warriors, but they ended up going 19-63, and Cummings did not do much to help out.
In his rookie season, Cummings averaged 9.4 points in nearly 24 minutes, but that would be his most productive season in the NBA. After floundering the following season, then being traded to Philadelphia in his third year, Cummings moved his talents to Europe, and never played a minute in the NBA again.
18. 2000-01: Jeff McInnis
Finally, a point guard that started every game! McInnis lead the Los Angeles Clippers back court in the 2000-01 season, but in typical Clippers fashion, they ended the season with a 31-51 record. McInnis managed to average 12.9 PPG and 5.5 APG, which to the naked eye, doesn’t scream worst starting point guard in the league. I mean, this entire list is subjective, so maybe he wasn’t too bad.
More importantly though, he was a the worst starting point guard for allegedly stealing his teammates girl. Charles Oakley and McInnis got into a fight before a game in December of 2000, and Oakley was fined $15,000. Apparently, it was over a woman that they had both been seeing. We will probably never know the truth, but violating the “bros before hoes” code will get you the worst PG status.
17. 2001-02: Anthony Carter
Somehow, Carter managed to make a decade plus NBA career out of doing virtually nothing on the court. In his third season (2001-02), Carter was in and out of the starting role in Miami, only starting 18 out of the 46 games he played in. When he was on the floor, his numbers did not warrant his starting position. Carter put up only 4.3 PPG and 4.7 APG while averaging almost 23 minutes on the hardwood. Not to mention his free throw percentage was less than 53%! And on top of all that horrible play, he shot less than 35% behind the arc. All of that translates to a player efficiency rating of 7.0. How the hell did his career last so long?
16. 2002-03: Junior Harrington
It’s hard to believe that a PER could get lower than 7 for a starting point guard, but Lorinza “Junior” Harrington proved everyone wrong. In the 2002-03 campaign, he managed to achieve a PER of 6.7, one of the lowest you will see on this list. He started 51 games, and played in all 82 games, but only averaged 5.1 PPG and 3.4 APG. Harrington was so bad that in 2003, he was demoted to the CBA the next year. The former Division II star made a brief comeback the following season, but was destined to play overseas for the rest of his career.
15. 2003-04: Milt Palacio
How do you have a job as a starting point guard in the NBA when you only average 4.4 points per game? Well, just ask Milt Palacio. The Belizean-American baller managed only 4.4 PPG and 3.1 APG in the 2003-2004 season with the Toronto Raptors. Granted, he only started 13 games, those stats are so paltry that he shouldn’t have even been on an NBA roster. Lets not forget that he shot a whopping 15.4% from three! It’s no surprise he didn’t stick around long.
Throughout his career, Palacio showed quick flashed of brilliances, but eventually ended up moving his career overseas. Most recently, he played in 2013 in Lithuania, but for now, “Miracle Milt” will be known as the worst point guard in the 2003-04 season.
14. 2004-05: Chris Duhon
Surprisingly, the second-rounder out of Duke University, Chris Duhon, snagged the starting role in his rookie year with the Chicago Bulls. He only averaged 5.9 PPG and 4.9 APG in 26.5 minutes. At first glance, you can’t fault a rookie for putting up these type of stats, as he is getting accustomed to the pace of the league. But here at TheSportster, we like to dig a little bit deeper.
Let’s look at the stat known as “value added.” It’s a long, complicated formula that compares a players value to what the last man on the roster would do in his place. Just think of it is how important that player is to the team. Chris Duhon in the 2004-05 season, was a -18.3. Yes, that’s a negative number.
13. 2005-06: Eric Snow
We know that LeBron makes all the players around him better. Now if this is true, Eric Snow is absolutely horrible. In the 2005-06 season, the 32-year-old was on the decline of his long-winded career, and his numbers truly showed it. Snow averaged less than 5 points and assists per game, and if King James wasn’t there to drag the team along, I’m sure they would have never even came close to the playoffs.
Snow’s three-point percentage was 10%, yes, only 10%. He had a sub-70% FT percentage and all-around did not play the athletic player he used to be. Remember that value added stat, the one that you didn’t bother reading in the last entry? Well, Snow’s was -102.6 that year. I think the case is closed on this one.
12. 2006-07: Steve Blake
If there is not a term for “just another guy” in the NBA, I propose we just call these players “Blakes.” It’s true, the former Maryland Terrapin, and NCAA Champion, was just another guy on the court. Blake was traded from Portland to Milwaukee before the start of the 2006-07 NBA season. With the Bucks, he only averaged 3.6 PPG and rarely started at all. In the middle of the season though, Blake was traded to the Denver Nuggets in exchange for Earl Boykins and Julius Hodge. He went on to the starting position in Denver, improving his game in the process, even upping his average points per game to 8.3. But again, he’s just another guy and another bad point guard.
11. 2007-08: Sebastian Telfair
If you haven’t seen the film Through the Fire, it’s worth a watch. It’s about how Sebastian Telfair came up balling on the streets on New York City, and was poised to be the future of the NBA. Unfortunately, things don’t always go as planned, and Telfair was a huge NBA bust. In the 2007-08 offseason, the Lincoln High School standout (and cousin of Stephon Marbury) was traded from Boston to Minnesota in a blockbuster deal that included future Hall of Famer, Kevin Garnett. This would be Telfair’s best season in the NBA, averaging 9.3 PPG, and 5.3 APG. Still though, how much does it say that during Telfair’s best season, he was the worst staring point guard? Oh yeah, he was arrested on felony gun possession at the end of the year! How’s that for icing on the cake?
10. 2008-09: Earl Watson
Most people have seen Watson’s name in the news recently after being fired as the Phoenix Suns head coach after they started off the 2017 season 0-3. What most people don’t know is that before Watson was the worst coach of the year, he was the worst point guard of the 2008-09 season. In their first season in Oklahoma City, Watson failed to bring any big play ability to the Thunder, averaging only 6.6 points and 5.8 assists per game. The Thunder finished up their inaugural season at a dismal 23-59 record.
But, that’s not what makes Watson the worst point guard of the year; it’s the advanced stats that do. He had the lowest PER among starting point guards at 9.55 and a “value added” of -38.4. Luckily for Oklahoma, Westbrook came on the scene the following year and is now the king of OKC.
9. 2009-10: Rafer Alston
Who else grew up on the AND1 Mixtape Tour? Rafer Alston aka “Skip 2 My Lou” was the grandfather of bringing streetball to the mainstream. You had Hot Sauce, The Professor, Escalade (RIP), among others who never made it to the NBA, but made a name for themselves in the streets. Alston was the one guy who was able to take his streetball savvy, and turn it into a successful professional career.
But, in 2009-10, after being traded to the Nets, Alston put up horrible numbers. Even though he recorded his first triple-double that season, he was released by the Nets and signed with Miami. Eventually, the Heat released the veteran for missing a team meeting, and Alston finished up the year ranking second-worst among all point guards (not just starters) in PER.
8. 2010-11: Derek Fisher
Honestly, when I was looking up stats for this list, I would have never expected Derek Fisher to be on the low end of the totem pole. The five-time NBA champion seemed to be an integral member of the Lakers Dynasty, dishing to Kobe, hitting shots in 0.4 seconds, and even stealing player’s wives. But, the numbers don’t lie and Fisher truly was the worst starting point guard of the 2010-11 season.
D-Fish only averaged 6.2 PPG and 2.7 APG that year, and shot less than 39% from the field. When you get into the advanced stats, it’s even worse. Fisher had a PER of only 8.94 and a win adjustment for value added of -2.94. That’s pretty much saying that if they put the worst person on the roster in Fisher’s spot, they would have won three more games. That’s just crazy!
7. 2011-12: Brandon Knight
Whoa! Whoa! Whoa! You people must think I’m out of my mind. Brandon Knight should never make this list, right?! The University of Kentucky one-and-done put up nearly 13 points and 4 assists his freshmen campaign in the NBA. How could he be the worst starting point guard in the league. Actually, for once, you’re correct. Knight shouldn’t be on here. But we’ve already highlighted so many horrible point guards, it’s nice to throw in a mediocre one.
Well, you could make the argument that Detroit was finished the year with 25-41 record, and Knight, who played in 32 minutes per game, was a contributing factor. But, honestly, I just thought he would perform better than he has, and sure, let’s call him the worst PG of the 2011-12.
6. 2012-13: A.J. Price
Actually, again, A.J. Price wasn’t all that bad in 2012-13. The only starting point guard worse then him in player efficiency was our previous entry, Brandon Knight. But, it was still a 12.45, slightly below the league average of 15. In 22.4 minutes per game, Price put 7.7 points and 3.6 assists in a total of 22 starts. This honestly was one of the best years of the former UConn Husky’s career, but it wasn’t enough for him to shed the title of worst point guard in the NBA that season.
Price bounced around the league for a few years, but ended playing in the Chinese Basketball Association for the past two years. He’s 31 years old, so he may have some gas left in the tank to make one final NBA comeback!
5. 2013-14: Trey Burke
The 2013 National College Player of the Year – Trey Burke. How could this Michigan standout fall so far from his projected greatness in the NBA? The simple, but truthful answer is … injuries and bad coaching. Burke had a hot hand in Ann Arbor, and also had the ability to drive to the hole. Personally, watching Burke develop in college, he reminded me of a slightly undersized Derrick Rose.
As we stated before though, Burke injured his shooting hand prior to his NBA career, and was forced into the role of distributor in the Jazz’s offense, despite being more prolific as a scorer. Just after a few short years, Burke has fizzled out of the NBA, and is playing with the Westchester Knicks in the G-League.
4. 2014-15: Patrick Beverley
Beverely has had a long road to the NBA. He was deemed academically ineligible as an Arkansas Razorback because a fellow student wrote a paper for him. Then, he jumped over to Europe to continue playing. The Miami Heat took a chance on him, but he didn’t wow anyone, and jumped back to the Euroleague and dominated. The Rockets finally picked him up in 2012, and he has been a staple in their front court since.
In 2014-15, after coming off a great defensive year, Beverley inked his starting point guard position. But the problem was that he wasn’t a true point guard. He only had a “value added” of 9.4, and despite his defensive expertise, the Rockets struggled. Once D’Antoni took over the offense, Beverley was able to become a defensive specialist, and Harden took over the starting point guard role. Now, on the Clippers, he’s dominating opposing guards. From worst point guard in 2014-15, to one of the best defenders in the league in 2017, I’d say that’s a success story!
3. 2015-16: Emmanuel Mudiay
Mudiay was an experiment gone wrong. The Congolese-born point guard decided to bypass the normal route to the NBA by opting to play in China for one-year instead of going to college. He played in only dozen games in China, while he showed some promise, there was a still a lot to be desired in his shooting and passing for NBA Scouts.
The Denver Nuggets saw something that other scouts did not, and took Mudiay with seventh-overall pick of the 2015 draft and decided to start him right away. Everyone was shocked when he put up 17 points in the season opener and even dropped a season-high 26 points at the end of November. That was until he hurt his ankle and had to sit out several games. The athleticism that Mudiay used to rely on was gone, and he wasn’t the same player. He dropped out of the rotation the following season, but maybe he will make a comeback this upcoming season!
2. 2016-17: Matthew Dellavedova
For all you NFL fans out there, I want to give you an example of what Dellavedova truly is. He is Brian Hoyer. He is Matt Cassell. He is Ryan Mallett. When you play with Tom Brady (LeBron) and are coached by Bill Belichick (AKA LeBron), you look better than you really are! The St. Mary’s standout clearly was benefiting from King James’ dominance and was able to make a name for himself with the occasional steal or loose ball hustle play.
Now that he is on the Bucks though, he stinks! He had a +/- of nearly -1 per game, meaning his team was better with him off of the floor. He had a PER of only 9.44 (league average of 15) and value added of -46.2. Clearly, he was the worst starting point guard in the league last year.
1. 2017-18: Lonzo Ball
Yes, all you Lakers fans who have hopes for the future under the reign of Magic, please sit down. Lonzo is extremely overrated. One, he can’t shoot, two, he can’t play defense, and three, he looks like Drake and Screech made a love child. Yes, I will admit, he can put up the occasional triple-double and wow you with some of down-court passes and vision, but the sad truth is, he will always get shut down by decent defenders. The Lakers better hope they can bring in some big names next offseason, and maybe, just maybe, Lonzo will step up his shooting game and learn how to slap the floor and play defense. But so far this year, he definitely looks like the worst starting point guard in the NBA … by far.
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