Every year in the NBA, one team walks away the winners of the Larry O'Brien Trophy. No matter what happens throughout the season, only one team gets to hoist the trophy. Throughout the history of the NBA, there have been some incredible players to win an NBA Championship. From Jordan to Bird to LeBron, there is no shortage of talented players who have won a ring. However, there is an argument in sports that every player on that team deserves to have that beloved championship ring. Although this may be true, there is a select group of players that almost hindered their team's chances of winning before helping them.
Knowing this, we went back and scoured the rosters of the last 12 NBA Championship teams. In doing so, we were able to compile a list of the 15 worst players to win in an NBA Championship in the past 12 years. To make things clear, we take nothing away from these players, but are just merely stating that what they have done in their career was not worthy of winning a championship. With all of that being said, let's take a look at the criteria we used to make my list.
For starters, the draft position of each candidate proved to be a huge factor because someone who struggled but was the last pick of the second round is not as bad as someone struggling as a former first round pick. Along with that, salary is another component of the list, as players with huge salaries that robbed teams then under-performed are a perfect fit for this line-up. However, the main factors that landed players on this infamous list are: points per game, playoff games played, years in the NBA, and their performance the year their team won the championship. Now that we have that out of the way, here are the top 15 worst players to win an NBA Championship in recent memory:
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15 Andrew Bynum, C, Los Angeles Lakers
Bynum was a member of the Lakers' 2009 and 2010 championship teams. We already assume that we're going to receive grief from Laker Nation for including Andrew Bynum on this list, but there was just no way to leave him off. Bynum was the tenth overall pick in the 2005 NBA Draft and has done nothing but disappoint since then. In his lackluster nine-year NBA career, the one-time All Star has only played 82 games once, and reached at least 60 games only two other times. Bynum has also racked up well over $75 million from four different NBA teams, yet he has only actually played for two of those four teams.
14 Andrew Bogut, C, Golden State Warriors
Andrew Bogut was a beneficiary of Stephen Curry and the Golden State Warriors this past year, as he won his first NBA Championship. Yet, as a former number one overall pick with a career average of 10.9 points per game, he waivers on the line of being a bust. This past season with the Warriors, he averaged only 6.3 points per game and that dipped to an abysmal 4.7 in the playoffs (despite starting 18 of 19 games). Not only was his play in the playoffs disappointing, he was actually almost irrelevant as his lousy performances led to Golden State starting a former shooting guard (Andre Iguodala) and not playing a pure center, which was seen as a turning point in the NBA Finals.
13 Mario Chalmers, PG, Miami Heat
Similar to Bogut, Chalmers has been a product of the system and players around him in Miami. During his time in South Beach, Chalmers has won two championships while averaging only 8.9 points per game, shooting 36.2% from beyond the arc, all while turning the ball over nearly twice a game. In the playoffs, his presence became obsolete as Lebron James would take over the role of point guard. I would like to see what Chalmers would be able to do as a go-to guy on a team, but at this point in his career, he has demonstrated that he is not capable of doing so.
12 Brandon Rush, SG/SF, Golden State Warriors
When Brandon Rush entered the NBA Draft out of Kansas, there was plenty of hype about his potential, but it really never panned out for the long-range shooter. In his short career, he has never averaged 10 points in a single season, has been traded four times, and only played in 82 games in one out of seven NBA seasons. This past year with the Warriors, he only appeared in 33 games and averaged 0.9 points per game while shooting 20.4% from the field.
11 Jordan Farmar, PG, Los Angeles Lakers
Jordan Farmar, like Andrew Bynum, was a member of the 2010 Lakers team that won the NBA Championship, while also winning the year before in '09. Unfortunately, Farmar provided little assistance to the rest of the team as he averaged only 4.6 points per game while shooting 39.8% from the field, during those two playoff runs. The real trouble with Farmar is that as a point guard, your assist-to-turnover ratio is extremely important. Yet, the former first round pick has a inefficient 2-1 assist-to-turnover ratio for his career. Basically, every time Jordan gets two assists, you can expect a turnover shortly after.
10 P.J. Brown, PF/C, Boston Celtics
Seeing as Brown was the second-to-last selection of 1992 NBA Draft, he was able to put together a decent career. He played for six teams during his 15 year career, putting together a mediocre average of 9.1 points per game. However, Brown comes in at number 10 on the list for the performances he gave during this time for the Celtics. The Celtics won the 2008 NBA Championship and Brown played in 25 of the playoff games, yet was only able to tally 2.9 points per game.
9 Brian Cardinal, PF, Dallas Mavericks
Brian Cardinal, also known as "The Custodian," put together a 12-year NBA career. In his career, he averaged 4.6 points a game and had a shooting percentage right at 40%. He won his championship ring with the 2011 Dallas Mavericks, appearing in nine playoff games and contributing 1.1 points per game. Although he never eclipsed 10 points per game, he was able to walk away from his NBA career making nearly $40 million from his contracts. Even though his contracts were always big, he still managed to be cut, traded, or waived by five NBA teams and played for eight teams in his tenure in the NBA.
8 Shannon Brown, SG, Los Angeles Lakers
Shannon Brown has actually been fortunate enough to have won two NBA Championships in his nine-year NBA career. However, he has never played a pivotal role on any of the teams, or on any team thus far into his career. Brown has been a traveling man in his career, playing for 12 teams in only nine years. Of those 12 teams, four of them reside in the NBA's D-League for developmental players. Unfortunately for Brown, his game has never been able to translate from the D-League to the NBA. Throughout his career, he has only averaged 7.6 points per game during the season and 5.2 points per game in 55 career playoff games.
7 Joel Anthony, PF/C, Miami Heat
Much like Mario Chalmers, Joel Anthony was given the opportunity to play along side the "big 3" in Miami, making him the owner of two championship rings. Coming into the league as an undrafted free agent, he's done well to carve out a role for himself, but he's still only averaging only 2.3 points per game. During the Heat's second run to the championship, Anthony appeared in 14 playoff games and contributed only 0.4 points per game. Head Coach Erik Spoelstra decided to go with a small line-up during the playoffs, deciding to play Chris Bosh and LeBron James at power forward and center over Anthony.
6 Shandon Anderson, SF, Miami Heat
Shandon Anderson had a decent NBA Career, playing for four different teams over nine seasons, all the while averaging 7.4 points per game. But, Anderson comes in at number six thanks to his play during his one championship season. In the 2006 playoffs, the Miami Heat used Shandon in 13 games but he was only able to muster 1.0 point per game. His struggles in the playoffs came as a surprise to no one as he only averaged 2.6 points per game during that regular season.
5 Tony Massenburg, PF/C, San Antonio Spurs
Tony Massenburg is one of the most well-traveled big men to play the game. After being drafted in 1990, he played for 15 seasons for 13 different teams in three different countries. After a short stint to begin his career in the NBA, Massenburg left for Europe and played two seasons overseas only to return to play in the NBA, where he played in Vancouver before the Grizzlies moved to Memphis. During his lengthy career, he had a career average of 6.2 points per game and averaged 1.9 points per game in his playoff career. Luckily enough, the big-man was able to tag along with the San Antonio Spurs to win the 2005 NBA Championship despite average 0.3 points per game in nine appearances.
4 Ronny Turiaf, PF/C, Miami Heat
Ronny Turiaf has had an extremely interesting NBA Career, playing for seven teams in only ten seasons. Yet, Turiaf found a home in Miami during the run of the "big 3" and rode them all the way to the championship. On that run, Turiaf appeared in 12 games, starting seven of them. Unfortunately, his talents did not show up and he averaged only 1.9 points per game and was replaced with small-ball. Turiaf's career numbers are not much of an improvement, coming in at 4.7 points and 3.7 rebounds per game.
3 Jacque Vaughn, G, San Antonio Spurs
Jacque Vaughn had a very illustrious career at the University of Kansas, but it never translated to the NBA. Vaughn played for 12 seasons before retiring to become a head coach. In his 12 seasons, he averaged only 4.5 points per game. Luckily for him, he latched onto the San Antonio Spurs before retiring, winning the 2007 NBA Championship. Believe it or not, Vaughn's numbers were considerably worse in the playoffs as he posted 2.2 points per game, playing in all 20 games for the Spurs.
2 Sasha Vujacic, G, Los Angeles Lakers
Sasha Vujacic is the fourth and final Lakers player on the list...I guess former Lakers just fit this description perfectly. Vujacic is a former first round pick that has unperformed throughout his entire career. He played seven seasons in the NBA, putting up 5.6 points per game before leaving the United States to play ball in Europe. After Europe had enough, he returned to the States, but to no avail. Before completely falling off, he was able to win two championships with the Los Angeles Lakers. In those two playoff runs, he played in 33 games while averaging 3.0 points per game. After not competing for a few years in the NBA, Vujacic was given a third chance when the New York Knicks signed him in August.
1 Darko Milicic, C, Detroit Pistons
Darko Milicic is a name that when said aloud in Detroit makes all Pistons' fans cringe. Milicic's career was underwhelming for any NBA player, let alone for the former number two overall pick. On top of that, Milicic was taken second in the 2003 NBA Draft, before the likes of Carmelo Anthony, Chris Bosh, and Dwyane Wade. Unfortunately, there is no way to ever live that down. During his NBA career, he averaged 6 points a game and never amounted to anything worthy of the second overall pick. On the bright side, he was able to come away with a Championship ring when the Pistons walked away victorious in 2004. Although he walked away with a ring, he did not bring much to the table, as he averaged 0.1 points per game in 8 playoff games that year.
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