The NBA players in this article weren’t very good, and/or weren’t necessarily people you would think won an NBA championship. Sure there are bench warmers, or just role players, but the fact that these below average to subpar players have an NBA Championship ring is crazy. This article will take a look into 15 NBA players who shockingly won a title. There are even some players who weren’t totally awful athletes on this list, they just weren’t key reasons their team took home a championship berth. When we note the players that won an NBA championship, we writers often mention the best players to have done so. What isn’t elaborated upon is the players who weren’t great or really deserving of a title. These players don’t really lead their teams to titles, they just happen to be on the team that has some awesome players in charge.
An example of a player who could be on this list, who won’t be now that he is a part of the intro would be a guy like Dorrell Wright. Wright won a championship with the Miami Heat in 2006. He just was on a good team, and had a very minimal role in the success of this team.
15. Adam Morrison – 2009-10 Los Angeles Lakers
Adam Morrison was indeed on this Laker team that defeated the Celtics in an epic Game 7 in the 2010 NBA Finals. The Lakers team was winning because of the dominant Kobe Bryant, and good role player help from Lamar Odom, Derek Fisher, and Shannon Brown. Morrison though was not of any real relevance on this championship team. He added very little value to the Los Angeles Lakers that was primed for a title with Kobe Bryant playing at a very high level. Morrison was bench player who did not start in one game all season. The Gonzaga University alum retired from the NBA after this season with the Lakers.
I guess the season wasn’t so memorable in his own perspective. He rode the bench, got a championship ring, made a boatload of money, and stopped working. He probably had a hell of a year the more I think about it.
14. Lindsey Hunter – 2004 Detroit Pistons
The assistant coach for the Chicago Bulls was actually a member of this historic Piston team. This team beat out the Shaq/Kobe led Los Angeles Lakers because of a great all around mix of players. Led by Ben Wallace, Chauncey Billups, Richard Hamilton, and Rasheed Wallace the Pistons were very good. The big three before the Celtics was Rip Hamilton, Billups, and Rasheed Wallace. Lindsey Hunter slid through all the way past the title game with Detroit and got a ring along his salary.
He has actually been on two NBA championship teams, having also won one with the Lakers in 2002.
He was good back in the day for Detroit, but in the championship year of 2003-04 he only averaged 3.5 PPG. Hunter now works for the Chicago Bulls as an assistant for Fred Hoiberg.
13. Mark Madsen – 2001 Los Angelas Lakers
Madsen averaged a minimal 2 PPG in the season the Lakers took home an NBA championship. He had no impact on the team’s success and was merely around just in case the Lakers suffered a ton of injuries. Madsen is now an assistant coach for the Lakers. His players call him “Mad Dog”. Madsen averaged 0.4 PPG in the postseason the Lakers took home the NBA trophy. Mark never prided himself on being a spectacular or even average basketball player. He is very lucky to have been on such an excellent team at the right time in history. Madsen is lucky enough to have two NBA championship rings, something most players dream of who will make the Hall of Fame one day. Madsen probably won’t even make his JCC club team nowadays; I doubt he has picked up a basketball in a while.
12. Mengke Bateer – 2003 San Antonio Spurs
Mengke Bateer was not good, or even notable. His career stats were especially low. Bateer took home a victory on the San Antonio Spurs championship team in 2003. After this he went to the Toronto Raptors, and then ultimately ended up overseas. Bateer was a total bench warmer for the Spurs the season they won the NBA finals. He once shot 28% against the Denver Nuggets, and he fouled out in that game. Bateer lacked the necessary skills to be an NBA player, even in a reduced role. He just happened to be on the right team.
He was actually the first player from China to play a game in the NBA. Well, he put a bad name to Chinese basketball players by his presence. The good news is, Yao Ming came along.
11. Aron Baynes – 2014 San Antonio Spurs
Like Mengke Bateer, Baynes was a part of a Spurs team that won a championship. In the same way Bateer did not benefit his team’s success, neither did Aron Baynes. He averaged 3.3 PPG the year they won the championship. Baynes went to the Euro League for a bit, and to the Pistons in 2015. His career seems to have hit a dead end. The Spurs did not find value in his presence on the basketball court, and he sat his way to a championship ring. Baynes got to receive a ring, and hold the trophy, even though he didn’t anything to deserve it. Now that is pretty awesome. The 29-year-old Australian native is rather tall. He stands at 6-feet-10 and weighs in at 260 pounds.
10. Luke Walton – 2010 and 2011 Los Angeles Lakers
Walton is known as one of the biggest benchwarmers ever. He managed to get away with two NBA championships. Luke was so irrelevant in the powerful and high tempo offense of the Lakers in these two years. Though his father is known for being a good NBA player, he could never live up to Bill’s legacy. Luke probably has very fond memories of the NBA finals, like watching games in the front row. He got to witness history, just not necessarily be a part of it. Okay, we don’t want to bash Luke too much, he should get some respect for his 4.7 PPG over the span of his entire career.
In all seriousness, Walton was a respectable character on the Lakers team who didn’t deserve playing time, and didn’t receive any as a product of his flawed basketball skills.
9. Scot Pollard – 2008 Boston Celtics
The nearly 7 foot center from Murray, Utah had low statistics throughout his NBA career. He averaged 4.4 PPG, 0.7 BPG, and 4.6 RPG over the span of 11 years in the NBA. Scott was a member of the Boston Celtics championship team his final year in the NBA. I don’t how he managed to stay signed to the team, but Pollard got a ring. That is all that matters. He once made a remark on television “hey kids, don’t do drugs”, which was notably frowned upon by fans and viewers. He eventually said his sorry’s for this funny but not needed remark. Scot warmed the bench for Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce, and Ray Allen throughout the playoffs, and regular season. He was noted as a comedic character on the bench, which is probably why he stuck around for so long.
8. Spencer Haywood – 1980 Los Angeles Lakers
Spencer Haywood was a good player in the NBA. If he did not do the stupid stuff he did, he would not be anywhere near this list. Remember, this article isn’t necessarily the worst players to win a ring, it’s the players you won’t believe have a ring. Haywood passed out during a practice. Not just any normal NBA practice, but practice for Game 2 of the NBA finals. He went to the hospital, and it was revealed, eventually, that he had cocaine in his system. He played Game 2, and had a stat line of 2 points. In today’s NBA, there’s no way he would have been allowed to play. Anyway, Haywood eventually got suspended, and his team ended up taking home victory. He got a ring along with a cut in his salary.
7. Scott Hastings – 1990 Detroit Pistons
Hastings had poor statistics throughout his NBA career. He averaged 2.8 PPG, 2.2 RPG, and less than an assist during his irrelevant days on the Pistons. Scott is known for one NBA record, one that will probably never be broken. The player (65 games) with the most games without a steal. He literally played 65 consecutive NBA games and did not record one steal. What’s even funnier, is the 65 consecutive games was played over the span of three years. This means he really warmed the bench on this Pistons championship caliber team. He played 11 years in the league before retiring. Scott wass never known for his contributions to legendary bad boy Detroit Pistons.
Anyway, when a player is nearly 7 feet, you would think they could accumulate at least one steal in three years. I guess not in Scott’s case.
6. Jackie Robinson – 1979 Seattle SuperSonics
No I’m not referring to the excellent baseball player who broke color barriers.
Jackie was very lucky to have been on the great championship team of the 1978-79 SuperSonics. He put up VERY minimal numbers for the team, and barely played. He averaged 3.8 PPG, and after a championship berth he went overseas to play basketball. Robinson wasn’t good, and wouldn’t survive in today’s more competitive NBA. He was frail, underdeveloped, and simplistic.
After basketball he went to work in the sales departments in Las Vegas. In the 1978 NBA draft, Robinson went in the 4th round, selected by the Houston Rockets. His impact on the NBA is forgotten, if he ever made one. He has made more of an impact in the business scene in Las Vegas, doing quite well as an entrepreneur.
5. Dickey Simpkins – 1996, 1997, and 1998 Chicago Bulls
Dickey Simpkins managed to be on three of the most legendary teams ever. He contributed one of the most minimal stat lines of any three-peat NBA champion ever. Dickey was of no importance to the amazing Bulls squad. He averaged 1.2 PPG for the 1997-98 Bulls championship. It is really amazing that he has done so little and got three NBA title rings. LeBron worked his tail off for three NBA titles, and Dickey just got lucky and was blessed with them.
It just shows how lucky some players are in the NBA, or just happen to be a part of amazing teams, and provide no impact. Anyway, after having the best three years anyone could wish for, he floated from team to team, and eventually became a full time motivational speaker.
4. Jacque Vaughn – 2006-07 San Antonio Spurs
Vaughn was a non factor in the championship berth of the San Antonio Spurs in 2006-07. He has some wacky NBA records, like the most consecutive field goals missed (22). He isn’t remembered for winning a championship, but rather for his below average career. He is working for the Brooklyn Nets as an assistant roach at the moment. He is clearly more suited for coaching than playing if you ask me.
He was ranked very highly out of high school, but he never panned out like he was supposed to. Anyway, moral of the story is high school players don’t always end up being good in the pros. He averaged under 5 PPG in the NBA, and under 2.5 APG. Vaughn struggled to make a name for himself, but he did get a ring.
3. Eddy Curry – 2012 Miami Heat
Eddy Curry was at the center of a New York Knicks team that was horrible. Knicks fans despair at the fact that he actually won a championship. People forget that he was a member of the 2012 Miami Heat team. He had a very minimal impact on the Heat’s success. Curry was pretty bad in New York when he played there. He struggled with weight issues, and overall health. Well, after winning a championship and riding off into the sunset with a ring, he retired.
If he didn’t happen to get signed because of roster space availability by the Heat, I believe he would have retired in the 2010-11 season. Regardless of assumptions, Curry was not by any means a productive player for the Miami Heat team that took home an NBA title.
2. Darko Milicic – 2004 Detroit Pistons
Probably one of the biggest busts in NBA history, Darko did in fact win an NBA championship once. What’s laughable is that he was selected over some real NBA legends. Anyway, the year the Pistons claimed victory, he was meaningless to the team. Darko averaged 6 PPG throughout his career, 0.9 APG, and 4.2 RPG. He will never be forgotten for his terrible work ethic, and just for the fact that he sucked so much.
Darko was selected way too high in the NBA draft, or just selected in general. He should have never been a first round pick, and the Pistons will always regret not taking Dwyane Wade or Carmelo Anthony with this pick. Milicic was drafted at just the right time, as the Pistons won the championship in his rookie season.
1. Brian Scalabrine – 2008 Boston Celtics
Yes, Brian Scalabrine did win an NBA championship. Though he made literally no impact on the Celtics in game play, there is an argument for other things he contributed to the team. He was a funny character and teammates really liked playing with him. Brian was disliked by some people, but made a lot of friends along the way in the NBA. He averaged a weak 3.1 PPG in his career, and 2.0 RPG. Regardless, he is not remembered for his stat line but his nickname. “The White Mamba”. He stole Kobe’s nickname, which will never be forgotten. What probably is not remembered often is the fact that he won an NBA championship. “The White Mamba” was just four rings short of his buddy “Black Mamba”.
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