The athletes that play in the NBA are genetic freaks. Nothing against football players or swimmers but when it comes to hitting the genetic lottery, the NBA is full of them. Tall, freakishly long-limbed, endowed with incredible physiques and hand-eye coordination and abnormally high amounts of fast-twitch muscle fibers… it just doesn’t get any freakier than the NBA.
Not only this, any perennial bench warmer in the NBA would absolutely destroy average citizens when it comes to a game of pickup basketball. Brian Scalabrine — or the “White Mamba” — played a few guys for a radio station in Boston and laid waste to some decent competition. These were cats who played in college… and they couldn’t even score on an out-of-shape Scal. So by and large, when I refer to 10 of the crappiest players in the NBA, I mean it with the highest possible esteem.
Now just to be clear, I set some bare minimum criteria so we are all on the same page. These players must be currently signed with a team, so guys like Drew Gooden or Tyrus Thomas are not available. These players must also play at least 10 minutes a game, or very close to it. Moreover, I have excluded all first and second-year players, though I was very tempted to add Anthony Bennett, as well as players that are 35 years old and up. And finally, the higher the player’s contract compared to his production, the more likely they will make this list.
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ELTON BRAND â€“ Center, Atlanta Hawks
Salary: $4 million
Stats: 2.4 PPG, 3.1 RPG, 11 MPG
To be perfectly fair to Brand, he’s had a very productive and meaningful career, though he’s never won a championship. But he did manage to be selected to two All-Star teams and has posted a career average of 17.2 PPG and 9.0 RPG. However, at this stage in his career, due to age and injuries, he is getting paid a lot of money to do very little. I’m sure his veteran experience and leadership counts for something but at $4 million a season, the Hawks could have signed someone for a quarter of his salary for his current level of production.
ERIC MAYNOR â€“ Point Guard, Washington Wizards
Salary: $2.02 million
Stats: 2.6 PPG, 1.9 APG, 10 MPG
Maynor was signed by the Washington Wizards this offseason thinking he would be a very high upgrade compared to A.J. Price, who was their backup point guard last season. His currently field goal percentage stands at 30.9 percent with his true FG percentage at 37.5 percent. Not only this, the Wizards’ bench has trouble finding the backboard on a regular basis. In typical Wizards fashion, Maynor has done very little but draw the ire of the Wizards faithful — just look for “#MaynorTime” on Twitter. It speaks for itself.
KRIS HUMPHRIES â€“ Power Forward, Boston Celtics
Salary: $12 million
Stats: 5.3 PPG, 4.3 RPG, 15 MPG
Besides having some of the worst luck in terms of relationships (or the best of luck), Humphries has been a decent journeyman in the NBA. He was able to parlay a few decent seasons with the Nets into a two-year, $24 million contract, which he is still playing out. Now if he were making $1.5 million while putting up his current numbers, no one would blink twice. However, with a salary of $12 million for this season, Humphries is really taking the Celtics for a ride. Now consider this, Tyler Hansbrough of the Toronto Raptors has been more productive than Humphries, and yet, about $9 million cheaper as well.
BEN GORDON â€“ Shooting Guard, Charlotte Bobcats
Salary: $13.2 million
Stats: 6.2 PPG, 1.7 APG, 16 MPG
For a player that’s made a living shooting the ball, Gordon has really declined. A career 40 percent 3-point shooter, Gordon is shooting 15.4 percent in nine games so far this season for a Bobcats team that is in the thick of playoff contention. Add on top of this his $13.2 million he is making this season, this makes Gordon one of the worst investments in the entire NBA. This somewhat does not comes as a surprise due to the fact that Gordon was an undersized 6-2 scorer that was never known for his defense or playmaking. It just comes as a surprise that he’s reached this point at age 30.
JAN VESELY â€“ Power Forward, Washington Wizards
Salary: $3.52 Million
Stats: 3.0 PPG, 4.3 RPG, 18 MPG
In all fairness, Vesely has developed as a decent energy guy off the bench this season. However, he has a problem. He has trouble scoring the ball, from everywhere. Therefore, whenever Jan is on the floor the opposing team basically is playing 5-on-4 basketball. Last season, Vesely had almost as many fouls (107) as total points (126). Like other athletic big men who are not very skilled on the offensive end, Vesely has trouble hitting the rim when at the free throw line (33 percent). To pour salt on this wound, Vesely was selected with the sixth overall pick in the 2011 NBA Draft.
EKPE UDOH â€“ Power Forward, Milwaukee Bucks
Salary: $4 million
Stats: 4.7 PPG, 3.9 RPG, 22 MPG
The curse of the sixth selection strikes again. Udoh was the sixth overall selection in the 2010 NBA Draft by the Golden State Warriors. It’s amazing how many sub-average players in the NBA get a pass because they can block shots. Udoh has never averaged six points per game or shot over 44 percent for an entire NBA season. If Udoh was a 6-1 point guard, this would not be an issue but Udoh is a 6-10 power forward that does not shoot too many jump shots. Granted, a lot of big men do take a while to develop but does having one successful season at Baylor warrant a 10-year career in the NBA? Regardless of how I feel, thanks to the dearth of decent big men in the league, Udoh will probably keep “getting checks” for a while.
GERALD WALLACE â€“ Small Forward, Boston Celtics
Salary: $10.1 million
Stats: 4.7 PPG, 3.6 RPG, 24 MPG
Crash has had a good career. In his 15th season in the NBA, when his current contract comes to an end, Wallace would have made over $100 million over his entire career. But with a re-occurring injuries, limited athleticism and a quickly fading jump shot, Wallace is entering the winter of his basketball playing career. Though he is still an average defender at the small forward spot, every other aspect of his game has deteriorated to the point that it makes the four-year, $40 million contract he signed with Brooklyn prior to the 2012-2013 season look even worse with every passing game. At this point in his career, Wallace’s greatest value to an organization will come in the form of an expiring contract in a few years.
JOEL ANTHONY â€“ Center, Miami Heat
Salary: $3.8 Million
Stats: 0.3 PPG, 0.8 RPG, 5 MPG
Anthony has two NBA championship rings, and he earned it too. He played hard, and gave everything he had on the floor. Now the thing that comes into question is what is Joel Anthony’s value to a team? He can block a few shots, his career average is 1.2 per game. Outside of this, there is not much to speak of. His career scoring average per game is 2.4, his personal fouls per game is 1.9. Much like Jan Vesely, Anthony is a big body that blocks shots, commits fouls and takes up space and not much else. It’s no wonder the Heat has been trying to trade him this season with not much success.
CHARLIE VILLANUEVA â€“ Forward, Detroit Pistons
Salary: $8.58 million
Stats: 5.3 PPG, 1.3 RPG, 9.0 MPG
Villanueva was a very promising player coming out of Connecticut. He had legit size, ballhandling skills and the ability to hit jump shots from range. He was picked with the seventh selection by the Toronto Raptors. Villanueva had his best season as a pro in the 2008-2009 season, averaging 16.2 PPG and 6.7 RPG in 27 MPG. He leveraged this great season into a five-year contract for $37.7 million. Since then, Villanueva has not done much. And now, he is an overpaid benchwarmer that shows no interest in playing basketball, though he is in a contract year. He still has ability but Villanueva is your typical player that has let money ruin his career.
KENDRICK PERKINS â€“ Center, Oklahoma City Thunder
Salary: $8.48 million
Stats: 3.2 PPG, 3.5 RPG, 18 MPG
Perkins, like a lot of big men mentioned in this article, has never been about the stats. Even in his best statistical season with the Celtics, Perkins averaged a paltry 10.1 PPG and 7.6 RPG in the 2009-10 season while shooting a red hot 60.2 percent from the floor. However, Perkins has slowly seen a dip in his stats every season since. Currently this season, Perkins is committing 2.9 fouls per game, which is a bit too close to this scoring average. Whenever a player commits just about as many fouls as points scored, it’s about time to consider retirement from the NBA or to find another league to play for. Like Shaq would say, “Tragic Bronson’s” time might be up soon.
Who are some other players who have having atrocious seasons so far on the court?
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