Generally speaking, it’s not always an easy task to be great at a task at hand, or a lucrative career. Successful tasks and careers usually require either months of training, or years of school before finally getting to an aspired place. Out of every 75 NCAA student-athletes who are seniors, just one player ultimately gets drafted to the NBA – that’s the equivalent to just 1.3%. Players that possess these kind of skill-sets are so rare, Lee Williams introduced the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame back in 1959 to honor these tremendous athletes. Some players in the NBA’s illustrious history were honored in more ways than just the Hall of Fame. Some of these players earn the privilege of representing their nation, and go on to win multiple gold medals. Others are honored by media members and experts to join exclusive teams and clubs, such as the 50 Greatest Players in NBA History. Unfortunately, not every player that makes it to the highest levels of basketball can have a career on the same pedestals as these great icons and legends. A myriad of reasons can play a factor in a player’s greatness. Some players may have had the talent, but just lost interest and determination to succeed overtime. Others just simply didn’t have the natural ability and inherent mental approach to take their game to the next level. In this article, I will be ranking 25 of the worst starting players in the NBA, by position, starting with the point guards. So buckle up, as you might see some controversial names make the cut.
25 Darren Collison, Point Guard/Sacramento Kings
Darren Collison is only just starting one of the more unproductive seasons of his eight-year career.
Collison wasn’t always as bad as this list might make him out to be, or at least up until this year. As a matter of fact, the proof is on his resume. Collision has made the All NBA Rookie first team, playing one of the most productive seasons from his 2009 draft class as the 21st overall selection out of UCLA. When right, Collison is a great complementary player who is known for his great intensity on both ends of the court. Possessing great quickness and a natural knack on the defensive side of the ball, Collison averages a career 1.1 steals per game while peaking at a solid 16.1 points during the 2014-15 regular season.
He also possesses one of the better field goal percentages compared to his fellow contemporary point guards that made this list, shooting around 47% from the field. Efficiency and defense – two words that describe Collison when he is at his best, but only when he is right.
24 Ricky Rubio, Point Guard/Minnesota Timberwolves
Ricky Rubio can absolutely amaze fans and commentators with his crafty ball-handling and circus passing skills.
Known as the first ever player born in the '90s to be selected in the NBA Draft, Rubio has undoubtedly had one of his down years in the 2016-17 NBA season. He is currently averaging around six points and seven assists for the struggling Minnesota Timberwolves. Similar to Rajon Rondo, a subpar jump-shot has prevented Rubio’s overall offensive game from reaching a whole other level of greatness as a player. That hasn’t been the case throughout his career, shooting around 31% from three-point range over the course of his six-year career.
When Rubio is healthy, the combination of his quickness and IQ helps him rack up steals on the defensive end, and create plays for teammates on offense. Being healthy hasn’t been the case for Rubio this season, as injuries have kept Rubio from continuing to perform as one of the stand-out point guards in the NBA. Health, as we all know, a vital component to a player’s level of greatness.
Unfortunately, that hasn’t been the case with Rubio – at least not this season.
23 Sergio Rodriguez, Point Guard/Philadelphia 76ers
Before reading this article, you had probably never heard of Sergio Rodriguez. With his inefficient scoring and poor overall shooting, no one can really blame you.
Rodriguez is currently averaging around nine points on 38% shooting for the lowly Philadelphia 76ers, giving them the 15th seed in Eastern Conference. Selected 27th overall in the 2006 NBA Draft, Rodriguez never really had “star” talent. His best year in the NBA saw him peak at only seven points a game. After playing the 2009-10 season in the NBA, Rodriguez went overseas to play for the Real Madrid Spanish team for six seasons, making a mark as one of the elite shooters while capturing a Euroleague championship in 2015.
Despite his decorated resume and off-the-charts production overseas, that hasn’t necessarily been the case for Rodriguez in a 76ers uniform.
22 Rajon Rondo, Point Guard/Chicago Bulls
As a diehard Celtics fan, it was very difficult for me to have Rajon Rondo very low on this particular list, or any kind of list for that matter. But, we just got to call it like we see it.
With that being said, the 2016-17 campaign thus far has not been one of Rondo’s best. The four-time All-Star is currently putting up averages of around seven points and six assists, all while shooting an ice-cold 34% from the field. Rondo has a tendency, at least this season, to pull-up for shots out of his comfort zone. Known for elite playmaking skills and a subpar jump-shot, he currently has the third most three-point attempts per-game throughout his twelve-year career, shooting from long range nearly twice a game while shooting 25%. When healthy and at his absolute pinnacle, Rajon Rondo is one of the elite floor generals this game has seen.
But his production this season, combined with a growing knack for volume shooting, has prevented him a spot on that very exclusive list in this golden age of point guards.
21 Langston Galloway, PG/New Orleans Pelicans
Let’s just get straight to the point here: Langston Galloway is currently the worst starting point guard in the NBA today (and thus we must end the point guard section of this list with his entry).
With New Orleans currently sitting in the bottom of the Western Conference standings with a 1-9 record, Galloway’s seven points and barely one assist a night is virtually little to no help for the young Pelicans. Due to the insignificancy of Galloway’s expectations and goals that was set by the media and fans, you can’t blame him for the minimal production he has shown on the court over the course of his three seasons in the league.
His draft position can testify to that, as Galloway was undrafted in the 2014 NBA Draft.
20 Monta Ellis, Shooting Guard/Indiana Pacers
A few seasons ago, it would be nothing but blasphemy to have Monta Ellis on any of these lists.
A career 18.6 point-per-game scorer, Ellis is a nightmare on both sides of the ball for opposing back court players. Defensively, Ellis reads passing lanes exceptionally well where he uses his quickness to his advantage, averaging a career 1.7 steals. Offensively, Ellis is an outstanding finisher, particularly on fast breaks after a defensive board or steal, where he uses his elite speed and acrobatic abilities to finish the deal.
Prior to this season, the Pacers were projected to be one of the elite teams in the league after acquiring All-Star point guard Jeff Teague from Atlanta. Unfortunately, the Pacers have looked disappointing thus far in the season, as they currently sit low in the Eastern Conference. Part of that has to do with Ellis and his low productivity, posting a career-low average in points since his second season back in 2006-07.
In order for the Pacers to legitimately make noise in the East this season, both Teague and Ellis will have to help Paul George carry the load, and produce more consistently.
19 Gerald Henderson, Shooting Guard/Philadelphia 76ers
Despite being one of the worst starters at his position, Gerald Henderson is also playing for a mediocre Philadelphia 76ers franchise. Henderson has shown flashes of a deadly midrange game, and as an athletic scorer. The lack of a three-point shot in Henderson’s offensive game has definitely hurt him from taking his game to the next level.
Despite that, Henderson peaked at a solid 15.5 points-per for the 2013 Charlotte Hornets, the same team that finished 21-61 in the regular season. At times, it seems like Henderson’s aggression takes a backseat, especially on the offensive side. His point-per-game totals show that where he currently averages around 10 points for the 76ers. Picked 12th overall in the 2009 draft, there is no questioning Henderson’s ability.
His production levels this season, combined with inconsistency, has definitely earned him a spot as one of the more unproductive two-guards in the league.
18 Aaron Afflalo, Shooting Guard/Sacramento Kings
At his best, Aaron Afflalo is one of the better “3D” players in the game. But, Afflalo hasn’t been at his best, which cracks him a spot on this list.
Selected 27th overall out of UCLA in 2007, Afflalo was a stand-out collegiate player, holding several Pac-10 honors, as well as other collegiate awards. On the court, Afflalo can light defenders up with a potent three-point shot, where he shoots a career 38.4% from downtown. He is also a pest on the defensive side of the ball, where he uses his strength at 215lb’s to bruise wings and opposing two-guards. Most of the Sacramento Kings’ offense relies on one of the elite big-men in the game right now in DeMarcus Cousins, so I couldn’t necessarily condemn Afflalo for his minimal production, and Sac-Town’s poor record.
Considering Afflalo’s history as a scorer, clocking 30 minutes a night while averaging a hair under 10 points a game is certainly going to earn you a spot amongst some of the most unproductive players in the league.
17 Tony Snell, Shooting Guard/Milwaukee Bucks
Inefficient scoring and an inconsistent three-point shot are perhaps two of the biggest reasons why Tony Snell made this infamous list.
Tony Snell’s ice-cold, career 39.7% shooting from the field has definitely had its toll on his game throughout his four-year NBA career. Selected 20th overall out of New Mexico in 2013, Snell was never really asked to do much with the basketball other than to spot-up and shoot the occasional three-point shot. With the Milwaukee Bucks currently clinching a playoff spot out in the Eastern Conference, Snell’s three-point shot would do wonders for the developing Giannis Antetokounmpo’s offensive game. The Bucks are stacked with length, and Snell at 6-7 stands one of the taller shooting guards in the Association.
If Snell can develop a consistent three-point shot, where he shoots a career 34.5%, and improves effort on the defensive side of the ball, Milwaukee can be a force to reckoned with in the next few seasons. For now, Snell makes the cut on this somewhat “prestigious” list.
16 Randy Foye, Shooting Guard/Brooklyn Nets
Randy Foye is currently putting up the worst point-per-game totals of any other starting two-guard in the league, at 4.6 (this is not a number that a true starting guard should have).
But a relatively subpar production hasn’t always had an impact on Foye’s abilities as a basketball player. The sharpshooter out of Villanova peaked at 16.3 points-per in 2009, so Foye’s scoring abilities are to be acknowledged. But his low level of production this season, combined with the fact that his Brooklyn Nets squad are sitting on a sub-500 record (and look as though they will not improve much) has earned him a spot as, currently, the worst starting two-man in the game.
Foye has played for seven teams throughout his 11-year career, including the Timberwolves, Clippers, and Thunder.
15 Andre Roberson, Small Forward/Oklahoma City Thunder
Andre Roberson’s efforts on a basketball court are to be unquestioned. This man brings it on a night-in, night-out basis. However, Roberson’s production offensively has hurt Oklahoma City’s successes in close games in the past, and his subpar career 27.9% shooting from three-point speaks to it.
The biggest impediment to Roberson’s game is his jump shot. Roberson’s overall scoring abilities are below average, but uses his strength and quickness to excel on the defensive end. Picked 26th overall out of Colorado in 2013, Roberson has remained a solid wing presence on the defensive end for Oklahoma City, and would ultimately find a position in the starting lineup after Thabo Sefolosha’s withdrawal from the team.
Roberson is not a scrub, but at the same time lacks the offensive talent to find a spot as one of the worst starting wings in the entire Association.
14 DeMarre Carroll, Small Forward/Toronto Raptors
DeMarre Carroll is only just beginning one of the most unproductive seasons in his career. Now, Carroll wasn’t always as bad as this list may make him out to be.
During the 2014-15 season, Carroll averaged right around the 12-point mark, while grabbing five boards in 69 games as a starter. His capabilities and production, at times, are to be unquestioned, especially as a “3D” player. But his consistency is in question this season, currently putting up one of his worst stat lines with seven points and four boards. Carroll’s impact for the Toronto Raptors is somewhat inconstant – on some nights, Carroll looks like Toronto’s best wing defender, but tends to be a little passive on that end. Carroll also has a tendency to get into foul when the Raptors seem to need him most as a sniper offensively.
His dreadful stat line in 25 minutes of action – putting up just eight-tenths of an assists as a passer, has cracked him a spot as one of the worst starting wings in the NBA.
13 Luc Mbah a Moute, Small Forward/Los Angeles Clippers
You have probably never heard of him – but Luc Mbah a Moute is one of the worst starting small forwards in the league.
Mbah a Moute isn’t a scrub – in fact, the contending Los Angeles Clippers are currently ranked number one in overall team defensive efficiency, per Teamrankings.com While most might say that is largely due to Chris Paul and DeAndre Jordan patrolling the middle with his shot-blocking, Mbah a Moute is a pest for opposing wings on a nightly basis. You probably get the point now – he can really defend.
But his abilities offensively really limit him from being one of the formidable two-way players in the league. At 6-8, Mbah a Moute possesses great lateral quickness and timing to read passing lanes and block shots at a consistent level. His current point totals are only around six points, with an 11.44 PER crack him a spot as one of the more unproductive starting wings in the league – at least on the offensive side.
12 Solomon Hill, Small Forward/New Orleans Pelicans
Solomon Hill never came into the league with huge expectations on his shoulders, unlike his first-round contemporaries in past draft classes. Despite being a below-average player, Solomon is one of the most unselfish players the Pelicans have to offer. Having played the power forward position in college and high school, Hill’s skills as a four has poorly transitioned over to the professional game.
Selected 23rd overall in the 2013 draft, Hill came into the league as a rookie averaging a staggeringly low 1.7 points in just eight minutes of action. On most nights, the Pelicans see their offense running through All-Star forward Anthony Davis, so Hill’s relatively low production and impact for New Orleans is really no surprise from that perspective. His statistics, combined with his minimal production for the Pelicans has cracked him a spot as one of the worst starters in the league.
11 Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, Small Forward/Brooklyn Nets
Prior to joining the NBA, Rondae Hollis-Jefferson was a stand-out player in his early years. One of the nation’s best high school prospects in 2013, Hollis-Jefferson was ranked a five-star recruit by some big names, the likes of Rivals.com and ESPN.
His overall game as a high school star, specifically his scoring where he piled up over 1,000 career points, didn’t completely transition well over to the college game. Hollis-Jefferson saw himself as a defensive-minded presence in Arizona where he had a natural knack for swatting shots, despite his lithe frame as a 215-pound wing.
Despite this great premature chapter of Hollis-Jefferson’s professional basketball career, the NBA game was the polar opposite. A former McDonald’s All-American in 2013, Hollis-Jefferson currently posts averages of around 6.6 points-per-game on a subpar 35% shooting from the field. Hollis-Jefferson has the length to guard opposing wings, but his thin frame prevents him from playing at an elite level on a consistent basis. The Brooklyn Nets are one of the worst franchises in the entire league, and Hollis-Jefferson’s production is one of the reasons why.
10 Al-Farouq Aminu, Power Forward/Portland Trail Blazers
Al-Farouq Aminu is a solid defensive player, but not solid enough overall to where he can miss out on these lists.
Aminu has been nothing more than a respectable wing presence on the defensive end of the floor, and is generally asked to do nothing more on the basketball court. His tasks are to defend some of the elite wings in the league, whether it’s LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony, or Kevin Durant. At 6-9, 220lbs, Aminu possesses a 7-3 wingspan which helps him read passing lanes, or chase down opponents on fast breaks and send shots flying out of bounds.
Picked as a lottery pick in the 2010 draft, it is certainly safe to say that Aminu is a bust, especially when you consider his career averages of seven points on around 42% shooting from the field. Defense has been a patent of Aminu’s since arriving in the league, but a below-average offensive game has cracked him a spot as one of the worst starting power forwards in the league.
9 John Henson, Power Forward/Milwaukee Bucks
John Henson has made highlight reels in the past for his relentless blocking skills, using his 7-5 wingspan to his advantage. Henson is an impact player for the Milwaukee Bucks, as his presence down low adds to the long length and defensive intensity the Milwaukee Bucks possess.
Despite the great impact Henson provides, especially as a rim protector, he is a considerably below-average offensive player. Henson shoots a career 55% from the free-throw line, and thanks to his length and athletic abilities, posts 53.6% shooting from the field.
Picked 14th overall in the 2012 draft, Henson played college ball at North Carolina where he played for all four years before declaring to go pro. His lack of production at the offensive end of the floor makes Henson one of the worst starting big men in the entire league.
8 Dario Saric, Power Forward/Philadelphia 76ers
Dario Saric is one of three members of the Philadelphia 76ers to make a cut on this list. That really should come as no surprise, considering the 76ers terrible record.
Despite Saric being a below-average player in the NBA, he holds a decorated basketball resume overseas. He was named the Turkish Cup winner of 2015, as well as being named the back-to-back FIBA Player of the Month in 2013 and 2014. His resume overseas made him the 12th overall draftee in the 2014 NBA Draft, but missed out on the first two seasons of his career in the Association due to play overseas.
Saric currently averages roughly 10 points and six boards, while shooting a staggeringly low 40% from the field. Given his height at 6-10, you would expect Saric to shoot somewhere within the 45-50 percent range, but his tendency to fall in love with the three-point shot has prevented efficient scoring.
Comparable to the other players on this list, Saric is young, and has a whole career ahead of him. Maybe one day he can end up as one of the best in the league, but for now, he’s earned himself a spot on this list.
7 Domantas Sabonis, Power Forward/Oklahoma City Thunder
This is Domanatas Sabonis’s rookie year in the league. With that being said, it’s never too late for him to improve his game – and who knows, maybe one day he’ll crack a list amongst some of the best starters at his position.
For now, however, Sabonis has cracked a spot as one of the worst starters in the game. His current averages of 6.6 points and 3.3 rebounds in 21 minutes of action a night are one of the worst stat-lines in the league. Sabonis has shown brilliances of being a solid presence as a rim protector at times with a great knack for blocking shots.
Possessing a 6-10 wingspan, Sabonis lacks the ability to defend opposing power forwards on the defensive end on a consistent basis, but his strong frame at 240lbs helps bruise opponents down low. His lack of athleticism, consistent production and defending, lack of length has cracked him a spot on this list, but as a rookie, he has a whole career ahead.
6 Luke Babbitt, Power Forward, Miami Heat
Luke Babbitt is amongst the worst starting power forwards in the entire league. His subpar averages of only 4.1 points, combined with his abilities to grab just two rebounds in 16 minutes of action every night has earned him a spot on these lists.
Coming into the league, Babbitt was never expected to be a star player, so his lack of production over the course of his seven-year career from that perspective is no surprise. Selected 16th overall out of Nevada in 2010, Babbit posts career averages of 4.7 points and 2.3 rebounds. Babbitt’s lack of length makes him a near-liability while guarding power forwards, and his minimal quickness doesn’t seem to help when guarding opposing threes. Offensively, Babbitt has shown flashes of a streaky three-point shot, where he shoots a career 39.9%.
His levels of production throughout this season has cracked him a spot amongst the worst starting power forwards in the league.
5 Gorgui Dieng, Center/Minnesota Timberwolves
Gorgui Dieng is a player Minnesota can rely upon – at least as a rim protector.
Dieng currently averages less than double figures in both points and rebounds for the T-Wolves. His ability to alter shots, and grab 8.7 rebounds a night is something the T-Wolves can benefit from Dieng’s relatively subpar game (they need to get something out of this player).
His offensive game consists of a streaky 12-14-foot jump shots, points off tip-ins, and a solid right jump hook. But playing nearly 30 minutes a night, you’d at least expect Dieng to average somewhere within double figures in points.
Unfortunately, that hasn’t been the case. Dieng cracks the last spot as one of the worst starting big men in the game. Dieng is a big man who should be better.
4 Joakim Noah, Center/New York Knicks
A couple years ago, Joakim Noah would have probably made the cut as one of the best starters in the league.
However, Noah’s impact on the offensive end is something the Knicks have been trying to implement in their game plan – only to be unsuccessful. Standing at 6-11, Noah’s 4.3 points a night on 45% shooting from the field is something he’ll have to improve upon in order for the Knicks to contend in the East.
His presence defensively, however, is to be unquestioned. Noah’s nine boards a night, combined with his ability to alter shots is something the Knicks pride themselves on. Unfortunately, he has been nothing but a liability offensively, and has earned himself a spot on this list.
3 Timofey Mozgov, Center/Los Angeles Lakers
At center, Timofey Mozgov is one of the more imposing bodies in the entire league (which remains a key factor at the center position despite the new direction of the position).
Standing at a legit 7-1 with a near 280lb frame, Mozgov is a big presence for the Los Angeles Lakers. In the 2014-15 campaign, Mozgov posted 9.7 points a night while shooting an efficient 56% from the field.
This year, however, has been one of Mozgov’s most unproductive seasons in his nine-year career. He currently averages just 8.9 points in 21 minutes of action for the Lakers. Despite being a good rebounder, his 4.7 boards a night aren’t solid enough to save from a spot as one of the worst starters in the league.
2 Omer Asik, Center/New Orleans Pelicans
Playing alongside Anthony Davis, the combination of both Omer Asik and “The Brow” are one of the best defensive big men in the league.
However, his subpar offensive game has earned him a spot on this list. Standing at 7-0 tall, Asik shoots an Iverson-esque 44% shooting from the field, while averaging 3.3 points a night. His 52% shooting from the field also doesn’t seem to help out the hard-pressed New Orleans Pelicans. Despite that, his 6.6 rebounds a night helps the Pelicans in the middle, providing a bruising defensive presence.
If Asik ever improves his shooting touch and ability to knock down free-throws, then maybe the Pelicans would be seen as a legitimate threat in the Western Conference. For now, though, Asik remains one of the worst starting centers in the league.
1 Miles Plumlee, Center/Milwaukee Bucks
Miles Plumlee is a highly unselfish player, and that’s always a great thing when you consider his skill levels on both ends of the court.
Picked 26th overall in the 2012 draft, Plumlee posts career averages of 5.4 points and 5.1 rebounds. With the Milwaukee Bucks currently hanging around a playoff spot in the Eastern Conference standings, Plumlee continues to show low production on the offensive side, posting only 3.3 points a game. Over the course of his six-year career, Plumlee has averaged over five points just once. His ability to be a big presence in the middle, altering shots defensively, is pretty much the only reason why he is currently under contract.
The Duke product’s inabilities to score on the offensive end in 13 minutes a night has cracked him a spot as one of the worst starters in the league.
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