Finally, the arduous 82 game NBA season has reached its end and we can get into some playoff basketball. Now that the regular season is finished (and the first round) it is time to find out who is the best of the best among the NBA elite.
Every team and every roster left fighting for the NBA Championship is stacked with all-star talent and MVP candidates. Teams like the San Antonio Spurs and Golden State Warriors have impeccable rosters, with players coming off their bench who would be starters on almost any other team in the league. All the teams still alive have amazing starting line-ups, but where teams often separate themselves in with role players and key reserves who come off the bench. Players who come into games during the first round of substitutions are who many times decide the outcomes of games.
Today we are going to get into the worst of the worst when it comes to players still getting valuable minutes for playoff teams. It is important to note that this list is pertaining strictly to players who actually get into the games on a regular basis. As we know, there are 15 players on each playoff roster, but only 8-12 of those players see minutes on a regular basis. It would be boring to make a list of guys who never saw any game action, and most of us have never heard of.
There are many reasons why a player may have made the list; one reason is injury. Some of these guys were signed on to a team at the end of the season, to help fill the place of an injured player. Another reason is that they are just no longer good enough to be what they once were, there are a few examples of that. One more reason a player may be on this list is because, simply put, he sucks.
15 Michael Beasley
Michael Beasley was the second overall pick in the 2008 NBA draft behind Derek Rose. Beasley has all the tools to be a productive player, the only thing he seems to be missing is the maturity. Beasley spent the majority of this season with the Shandong Golden Stars in China, where he was named league MVP. The Houston Rockets signed him at the end of the season. He has been given many opportunities already, and seemingly fumbles every time.
14 Lance Stephenson
Ever since Lance blew in the ear of Lebron James, his career has been in a tailspin. He signed a huge contract with the Charlotte Hornets in 2014, but couldn't stay there longer than one year. He began this season with the Clippers, who traded him midway through the year. He is now with the Grizzlies as a reserve guard getting minutes due to the multitude of injuries to the Grizzlies' back-court.
13 Tyler Hansbrough
"Psycho T" as he is referred to, is one of the fiercest competitors in the NBA. However simply having a strong competitive fire can only get you so far in this league. Hansbrough is playing for the Hornets this postseason, where he is averaging only two points and two rebounds per game. His motor is still high, even though his production has not matched it. The Hornets have been very competitive this year, but may have to keep Hansbrough on the bench if they want a chance to win.
12 Jeff Ayres
Ayres has been in the NBA for seven years now, and he has seen time with six different teams, including two D-League stops. His biggest successes came as a member of the San Antonio Spurs, when he was a dependable reserve big man. He spent the majority of this season with the Clippers D-League affiliate, but once the playoff push began, he was called up to the big squad. He has seen his minutes go down since the return of Blake Griffin but he still gets his chances.
11 Anderson Varejao
Varejao is a crafty veteran who was picked up late in the season by the Golden State Warriors. The best thing you can say about him at this point in his career, is that he is a good teammate and a good locker room presence for the younger guys. He is limited on the court due to his age and lack of mobility and because of multiple injuries over the past few seasons. He is still getting minutes with the Warriors though, as coach Kerr likes to keep his players fresh and go deep into his bench.
10 Charlie Villanueva
Villanueva was drafted seventh overall in the 2005 draft and was projected to be a great stretch forward. Charlie never panned out and now he is a reserve for the Dallas Mavericks squad where he averaged just five points per game this season. This postseason he has gotten into a squabble with Russell Westbrook, not a good look for a guy struggling to keep his spot on the roster. It didn't help Dallas's cause either, as the Mavs lost in five games to OKC.
9 Udonis Haslem
Aside from Dwyane Wade, Udonis Haslem is Mr. Heat. He has spent his entire career with the team, and he will likely retire as a member of the Miami Heat. His minutes have gone down significantly as he has gotten older, but he still gets his run in. This season Haslem played in over half the team's games, and has already seen some game action in the playoffs. Many are thinking the Heat pose the only possible challenge to Cleveland, but not if Haslem is getting big minutes.
8 Kirk Hinrich
Once a very good point guard, Kirk Hinrich is now a third string point man for the Atlanta Hawks. He is serving as a mentor to the two young guards in Atlanta. This is Hinrich's second stint with the Hawks, as he had a couple productive years with the team in the early 2010s. He will likely be the guy that Atlanta looks to during late first quarter and late third quarter action, as the Hawks hope to have a deep run into the playoffs.
7 Jordan Farmar
Here is a blast from the past. Jordan Farmar has spent the last year and a half playing overseas. He was signed by the Grizzlies on March 31 of this season. The Grizzlies were desperate for backcourt help after a season ending injury to starting point guard Mike Conley. Farmar actually gets minutes with this team too, as he started at point guard for the Grizzlies in their first two playoff games. Once again, this is due to the Grizzlies' roster being injury riddled.
6 Nick Collison
Nick Collison is 35 years old. He has been in the league since 1999 and he has been with the same franchise for his entire career, although the Thunder were once the Seattle SuperSonics, Collison has stayed with them the whole time. He is still a valued member of the Thunder team looking to win the NBA championship this season. Collison gets his minutes as a reserve, and his role is to do the dirty work, collect rebounds, play hard defense, play physical on the other teams top players, etc. As much as the Thunder value him, Nick Collison is easily replaceable.
5 Kris Humphries
Kris Humphries is still playing with the Atlanta Hawks this season. It is sad when you are a player in the NBA, but most people know you as the guy who dated a Kardashian. Humphries never was all that great of a player, and now that he is 31 years old his athleticism is starting to deteriorate, and his playing time is also dropping. Somehow he actually got some minutes with the Hawks this season, but I think we can expect that to come to an end if the Hawks make a deep run this season.
4 Dahntay Jones
This guy always seems to be on a roster somewhere come playoff time. He spent the majority of this season playing with the Grand Rapids Drive, of the D-League, but once the playoffs began he was signed by the Cleveland Cavaliers. He has played in a few playoff games already and it appears he will be give more opportunities throughout Cleveland's run. With the Cavs largely unopposed in the Eastern Conference, we may be seeing him in the NBA Finals come June.
3 Joel Anthony
Joel Anthony had his best success with the LeBron James led, Miami Heat, where he was part of two championship teams. He is now collecting minutes behind Andre Drummond in Detroit. Anthony is a physical specimen, and could arguably be the most in-shape player in the NBA. But being in shape does not make you good and Anthony has averaged less than one point and two rebounds this season. He has largely declined since his departure from Miami.
2 Javale McGee
Javale McGee is a walking blooper reel. He has his own Youtube video montage of his careers worth of blunders. McGee is currently on the Dallas Mavericks playoff roster and due to some injuries to the team, he is getting some time on the court. Javale actually has some talent, but his inability to harness that talent has turned his career into a joke. But seriously, check out his blooper reel. His run in the postseason has come to an end with the Thunder disposing of the Mavericks in five games.
1 Paul Pierce
This one was hard for me to do because of the respect I have for Paul Pierce and all he has done in his hall of fame career. "The Truth" is one of the greatest Celtics to ever play and he will without question be inducted into the Hall of Fame one day, however the sad truth is that Paul Pierce never was an overly athletic player, and with age he has become too slow and lacks the athleticism needed to get anything done in the league. His minutes have declined to the point where he was given zero minutes in a recent Clippers playoff game. I wish Pierce would have done something similar to Kobe this season and went out with the respect he deserves.