Who is the Worst Player in the NBA?

Many people spend hours pouring over statistics and use a variety of different advanced stats to determine who the best player in the NBA is, or the MVP, but there isn’t nearly enough data surfing done to find out who the worst player is, or the LVP. People make a big deal about when a player has a single bad play or a terrible game, but it is much more impressive to be consistently bad over the course of the season.

Keep in mind that this is all in good fun, and I am not writing this to disrespect any players, teams, or fans opinion. In all honesty, I don’t even watch basketball, so I have no proverbial horse in this race.

All data is taken from Basketball-Reference.com.

The Criteria

Each NBA team has 15 players under contract, and can only dress 13 for each game, which gives us a player pool of 450 players, and 390 players for games. When selecting candidates for the extremely prestigious title of LVP, I have chosen to disregard players who play under 10 minutes per game. While it would make sense that the players who don’t get to play a lot of minutes would be the worst players, we as fans don’t get to see how bad they really are. Players have to have played 20 games with their current team. Players who were injured and missed considerable time are also disqualified from the player pool. This is based solely on the 2014-15 season, and past season successes or failures, do not influence any decisions.

There is many ways to determine who is the LVP, just as there are many ways to determine who the MVP is. I will use simple stats, advanced stats, and a few things unrelated to basketball to determine our winner.

Simple Stats: This will be the first filter. I will look at every players stats from each team based on Stats Per 100 Possessions as a way to put all players on an equal playing field. I will then determine who is the least valuable player on that team.

Advanced Stats: The worst players from each team will go to this stage. Here I will examine each players PER, as well as offensive and defensive rating. The worst five will move on to the final stage.

Non-Basketball Stuff: An underrated, but important aspect of basketball. How can someone determine a basketball players true value without taking into account how good of a name each player has, the number the player wears, and hairstyle?

First Filter- Simple Stats

First cuts, again this is just myself scouring season stats of players who have played in 20+ games, and average at least 10 minutes per game and the resulting players are who I deemed the worst on their respective teams. Without further ado, here is the results of the

First Cut:

Atlanta Hawks- Shelvin Mack, G

Boston Celtics- James Young, G

Brooklyn Nets- Cory Jefferson, F

Charlotte Hornets- P.J. Hairston, G

Chicago Bulls- Kirk Hinrich, G

Cleveland Cavaliers- LeBron Ja… uh I mean, Matthew Dellavedova, G

Dallas Mavericks- Charlie Villanueva, F

Denver Nuggets- Randy Foye, G

Detroit Pistons- Spencer Dinwiddie, G

Golden State Warriors- Festus Ezeli, C

Houston Rockets- Kostas Papanikolaou, F

Indiana Pacers- Chris Copeland, F

L.A. Clippers- Glen Davis, F

L.A. Lakers- Ryan Kelly, F

Memphis Grizzlies- Jon Leuer, F

Miami Heat- Udonis Haslem, F

Milwaukee Bucks- Johnny O’Bryant, F

Minnesota Timberwolves- Chase Budinger, F

New Orleans Pelicans- Jimmer Fredette, G

New York Knicks- Travis Wear, F

Oklahoma City Thunder- Perry Jones, F

Orlando Magic- Ben Gordon, G

Philadelphia 76ers- Jakarr Sampson, F

Phoenix Suns- T.J. Warren, F

Portland Trail Blazers- Chris Kaman, C

Sacramento Kings- Nik Stauskas, G

San Antonio Spurs- Tony Parker, G

Toronto Raptors- DeMar DeRozan, G

Utah Jazz- Dante Exum, G

Washington Wizards- Martell Webster, F

Wow, who expected Tony Parker to advance? Not me. If there was anything of note from the first cut it is that there were 2 third generation names, Johnny O’Bryant III and Perry Jones III. What does that mean? If you are a third generation namesake, then you are probably bad at basketball. Also, 11 of the 30 names were rookies, so, we have learned that if you are a rookie and a third generation name, you will definitely be in the running for LVP.

Second Cuts- Advanced Stats

Now that we have our player pool broken down to 30 names, we will use advanced statistics to break down that player pool to 5 names. Analytics play a major role in basketball, and I would be foolish not to use them in this very scientific research. I will take each players Player Efficiency Rating, or PER, Offensive and Defensive Rating, do some math, and here is the results:

Denver Nuggets- Randy Foye

L.A. Lakers- Ryan Kelly

Milwaukee Bucks- Johnny O’Bryant III

Minnesota Timberwolves- Chase Budinger

Washington Wizards- Martell Webster

Again, nothing spectacular here. I could bump into these guys on the street and not know who they were. Moving on.

Third Stage- Non-Basketball Things

Arguably the most important aspect when evaluating a basketball player, non-basketball things. Here I will take into account multiple aspects of a players biography. Most information will be found using a good, old-fashioned Wikipedia search. So let’s get to know the final candidates:

Denver Nuggets, PG/SG, Randy Foye– Good, solid name. Nothing flashy going on here. Tight haircut. He went to Villanova for school, classic basketball school, and that definitely gets him points. Wears number 4, which is very aesthetically pleasing for a point guard. He appeared in a TV show called “Wingin’ It”, normally I would give more points for branching out of basketball, but he doesn’t play on the wing, so that’s a huge knock against him. Grade: B+

Los Angeles Lakers, PF, Ryan Kelly– Having two first name is never good. Shaggy hairdo, rugged good lookingness to him. If there was a basketball school any more solid than Villanova it is Duke, the Alma Mater of Kelly. Another player who the number 4, it must be common amongst bad players. He was a McDonalds All-American, athletes shouldn’t be associated with McDonalds, because it is very unhealthy. Went to Ravenscroft High School in North Carolina, which get a negative because it isn’t Ravenclaw. Started 69 career games in college. Nice. He is married to former NFL coach Bill Cowher’s daughter, which is very impressive. Grade: B

Milwaukee Bucks, PF/C, Johnny O’Bryant III– His name is very contradicting. I enjoy it because you can abbreviate it to “J.O.B”, which is pretty fun, but he is from Mississippi, not Ireland. Drop the “O’” at the start of his last name and I can take him seriously. He had dreadlocks in college, not a good look.  Speaking of college, he went to LSU, a notorious football school, another negative against J.O.B. JOB is 6 foot 9 inches. Nice. The number 3 doesn’t look good for a center. He needs to scrap it and restart. Grade: C-

Minnesota Timberwolves, SF, Chase Budinger– He has terrific hair. The name “Budinger” doesn’t sound like a basketball name, nothing special here. The number 10 is semi-pleasing to the eyes, but I would prefer 11 based on symmetry. Budinger attended the worst school in the United States, University of Arizona. I can’t stress enough how poor of a decision that is. His grandpa wrote a book, so he has academic bloodlines. Budinger was named the Most Valuable Player of the 2006 US Junior Olympic Volleyball Tournament in the 18 and under division. Grade: D

Washington Wizards, SF, Martell Webster– Absolutely dynamite mohawk. His nickname is “The Definition”. Whew, I may have a new favorite player. The number 9 suits him extremely well. Clearly he has an extremely strong aesthetic sense. His cousin, Jason Terry, won a ring, so by default that gives him half a ring. He went to a preparatory school showing he doesn’t follow the traditional education path. In the 2011-12 season he averaged 6.9 points per game. Nice.  Grade: A+

Congratulations(?) to Chase Budinger for being the Least Valuable Player in the NBA for the 2014-15 season. Of course, there is a chance I am wrong. But from my very scientific formula, there is no way around it, Chase Budinger is bad at basketball.

This article was written by Tanner Craker. Tanner does not watch the NBA or follow basketball but wanted to write a creative article that would generate some laughs for people. Tanner is a amateur offensive line scout and you can find him on Twitter @OLineCharting.


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