The 8 Most Embarrassing Boston Celtics Players of the Past 20 Years

Alec NathanFeatured ColumnistAugust 24, 2012

The 8 Most Embarrassing Boston Celtics Players of the Past 20 Years

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    The Boston Celtics are arguably the most historically significant franchise in the history of the NBA.

    With 17 NBA Titles, the Celtics have nearly every other franchise envying their bounty of banners, and they still continue to excel in an increasingly difficult Eastern Conference.

    Despite being the most successful franchise in NBA history, the Celtics (like every other team) have had their fair share of  players who have disappointed, whether it be statistically or because they failed to live up to expectations.

    Here are the eight most embarrassing players in Celtics history.

Stephon Marbury

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    Despite having enormous success since leaving the NBA, Stephon Marbury's final stop with the Boston Celtics in 2008-09 was a bit disappointing.

    Marbury played in 23 games, shooting worse than 35 percent from the field, and 24 percent from three-point range.

    In total, Marbury would end up averaging just 3.8 points per game on a Celtics team that fell in the Eastern Conference semifinals to the Orlando Magic.

    Just one season removed from averaging nearly 14 points and 5 assists per game with the New York Knicks, Marbury failed to replicate similar success in a reserve role behind Rajon Rondo.

    Celtics fans would be best served forgetting Marbury's short tenure on an otherwise solid team.

Bimbo Coles

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    Bimbo Coles was your typical NBA journeyman, posting his best numbers with the Miami Heat in the mid-90s.

    Coles entered his lone season with the Celtics in 2002-03, and although there were literally no expectations for him, its a combination of his poor numbers and his phenomenal name that land him on this list.

    Coles averaged fewer than four points and one rebound per game in 2002-03, and while fans may hardly remember his seemingly unforgettable name, he was in fact a member of the Celtics team that was swept by the New Jersey Nets in the Eastern Conference semifinals.

Vitaly Potapenko

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    Vitaly Potapenko's size and brute strength made him an intriguing prospect coming out of the USSR, but unfortunately, his skill never evolved to the level that could have made him a regular NBA contributor.

    With the Celtics from 1999-2002, Potapenko typically averaged more than 20 minutes of action per night, but he was fairly inefficient in his allotted playing time.

    In his best season with the Celtics (the second half of the 1998-99 season), Potapenko put up 10.8 points and 7.3 rebounds per game, but his numbers would slowly decline from there.

    By the time the 2001-02 season rolled around, Potapenko had been relegated to bench duty, posting fewer than five points and five rebounds per night.

    At an imposing 6'10'' and 285 pounds, Potapenko was never able to fully utilize his massive size to his advantage.

Wally Szczerbiak

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    Like many other names on this list, Wally Szczerbiak's tenure with the Boston Celtics was short-lived. Although he posted impressive stats throughout his season-and-a-half in Boston, Szczerbiak was a part of the Celtics team in 2005-06 that failed to reach the playoffs.

    In 31 starts during that season, Szczerbiak averaged 17.5 points and just under four rebounds per game while shooting nearly 90 percent from the free-throw line.

    Szczerbiak was actually more than serviceable after being acquired in a trade that sent Ricky Davis to the Minnesota Timberwolves, but his second season with the C's was marred by injuries that limited him to action in just 32 games (19 starts).

    Part of two very down years for the Celtics in the mid-2000s, Szczerbiak failed to live up to the billing as the key player acquired in the trade for Rick Davis.

Raef LaFrentz

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    Raef LaFrentz's career started with a bang (if we're being generous) during an impressive rookie season with the Denver Nuggets.

    LaFrentz averaged nearly 14 points and eight rebounds per game in his rookie season, and he looked like a serviceable NBA big man who was capable of stretching the floor enough to be a matchup problem for opponents.

    However, things started to fade from there. LaFrentz joined the Celtics during the 2003-04 season, and surprisingly stuck with the team until 2006. Over the course of LaFrentz's tenure in Boston, the team was essentially stuck in basketball purgatory, playing just at or below the .500 mark for three consecutive seasons.

    LaFrentz's best season with the C's came in 2004-05, when he averaged 11.1 points and 6.9 rebounds per game. While his numbers weren't awful, he certainly isn't beloved by Celtics fans.

Walter McCarty

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    Of all of the players on this list, Walter McCarty had the longest career with the Boston Celtics. A 6'10'' power forward who played in all 82 games with the Celtics during his first year in Boston, McCarty was actually a serviceable power forward whose numbers were more reminiscent of a bench player, and not a starter.

    After his 1997-98 debut with the C's, McCarty was slotted for bench duty, where his numbers, and most importantly, his minutes took a big hit.

    McCarty's worst season came in 2000-01, where he played in just 60 games (starting just three), while scoring fewer than three points per game.

    McCarty shot worse than 40 percent from the field for his career, a big reason why he couldn't find regular minutes with the Celtics throughout the late 90's and early 2000's.

Vin Baker

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    By now, Vin Baker's struggles with the Boston Celtics have been well-documented. According to a piece in SLAM Magazine, Baker was a wreck once he began playing in Boston, struggling with a number of complex issues:

    By the time the Celtics acquired Baker from his second team, the Seattle SuperSonics, in July of ’02, he was already damaged goods. There had been roughly four years of binge drinking; he was out of control. Baker went from NBA All-Star to sparingly used backup center. In February of 2003, Baker was suspended after then-coach of the Boston Celtics Jim O’Brien smelled alcohol on his breath. It marked the beginning of the end of Baker’s career in the NBA.

    After a disastrous 2002-03 season, Baker's numbers rebounded a bit in 2003-04, when he averaged more than 11 points per game. Unfortunately, Baker wound up being waived by the Celtics, and eventually joined the division-rival New York Knicks. 

    Unfortunately for Baker, his time with the Celtics signaled the beginning of the end for an otherwise solid career.

Brian Scalabrine

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    Perhaps the most revered member of the 2007-08 NBA Champion Boston Celtics, Brian Scalabrine epitomized the team's hustle and effort as he screamed encouragement from the bench night after night.

    Scalabrine was a fan favorite over his five seasons in Boston, but eventually departed for the Chicago Bulls in 2010, where he has become the face of their bench.

    Scalabrine made his most appearances for the Celtics in 2005-06, but as the team improved, eventually adding Ray Allen and Kevin Garnett, he tumbled to the end of the bench.

    During that championship run, Scalabrine averaged just 1.8 points per game, shooting just over 30 percent from the field.

    One of the greatest role players to ever patrol an NBA bench, Scalabrine is still missed in Boston to this day.