The 7 Most Infuriating Players in the NBA
For NBA fans and coaches alike, there are few things more infuriating than an infuriating player.
I'm not talking about personality here—I'm talking about performance. Whether the player is simply inconsistent, lacks some necessary skill or just has no basketball IQ, an infuriating player can keep a squad from winning as often as they should.
What makes it especially bad is when that infuriating player is one of the team's best talents. Having to rely on an headache-inducing player night in and night out would give any coach nightmares.
The seven players on this list are all good players. Some of them are even what you'd call great players. Yet each one of them can, at times, be downright aggravating.
Let's check out seven of the NBA's most infuriating players.
Josh Smith, Atlanta Hawks
Josh Smith is an All-Star and possesses athletic abilities that few players in the NBA can match. He averaged 18.8 points and 9.6 rebounds a game last year, shooting 45.8 percent from the field.
Even more impressive was Smith's scoring ability inside—of his 363 attempts at the rim last season, he made 249 of them for a 68.6 percent clip.
The problem with Smith starts with his 826 shots from three feet or out. He made just 289 of those shots, a dismal 34.9 percent. He shot a majority of his attempts from 16 feet or further, where he made just 36.3 percent of them.
Smith is capable in the paint, but resorts to a long jumper far too often. Considering his skills at the rim, he shouldn't be taking so many shots from the outside anyway, but when he makes so few of them, you'd think he'd get the hint after a while.
With Joe Johnson out of Atlanta, Smith is now the absolute No. 1 option for the Hawks this season. Given his shot-selection history, that isn't a good thing for Atlanta fans.
Credit goes to basketball-reference.com for a complete breakdown of Smith's shot selection.
Carlos Boozer, Chicago Bulls
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images
When Chicago signed Carlos Boozer to a max contract two seasons ago, they expected Boozer to maintain his high level of play. In his final season in Utah before signing with Chicago, Boozer had averaged 19.5 points and 11.5 rebounds. The Bulls desperately needed some more offense to complement star Derrick Rose.
Two seasons later, Boozer has been considered a failure in Chicago. Last season, he averaged 15.0 points and 8.5 rebounds but never emerged as the go-to post scorer the Bulls paid for.
Most infuriating about Boozer is his lackadaisical defense. The Bulls are among the league's best defensive squads, but Boozer seems unable to buy into that end of the game—last season according to Synergy Sports, he allowed .89 points per defensive possession, which was 302nd in the league.
He produced for years in Utah, so we know he has the ability. Whether it is an incompatibility with the Chicago offense, old age catching up to him or just a lack of effort, Boozer's performances haven't lived up to his massive contract.
Tyreke Evans, Sacramento Kings
Rob Carr/Getty Images
Tyreke Evans is one of the NBA's best at attacking the basket. With his uncanny ability to drive through traffic, Evans shot 65.4 percent at the rim last year. The bad news for Kings fans? He shot just 29.7 percent from everywhere else (credit again to basketball-reference.com).
In his rookie year, Evans lit the league on fire. He averaged 20.1 points a game thanks mostly to his driving abilities. But injuries slowed him down his sophomore season, and defenders began daring him to shoot. Without at least an average jumper, Evans will never reach his enormous potential.
As a Kings fan, I don't buy into the popular notion that Evans has completely stagnated as a player. He's made significant improvements in his passing abilities and his overall team approach. That said, his jump shot hasn't gotten any better since his rookie year, and it's painful to watch at times.
Evans can get himself off this list if he comes into this season with a improved jump shot. Hopefully for Sacramento, he does just that.
Antawn Jamison, Los Angeles Lakers
Chris Chambers/Getty Images
Maybe it was just because he was stuck on a losing team in Cleveland, but Antawn Jamison was one of the most frustrating players last season. While he was second on the team in scoring with 17.2 points a game, he was incredibly inconsistent.
He shot 40.3 percent on the season and 34.1 percent from downtown, but still forced the issue despite his shooting troubles. He was worse on defense, allowing .89 points per defensive possession according to Synergy Sports. He was basically all offense/no defense, and that offense was inefficient to begin with.
Now he finds himself on a championship contender in Los Angeles, and perhaps now that he's not a top scoring option, he'll revert to being a efficient player. Maybe now that he's on a winning squad, he'll play better defense.
If he does, it just proves he wasn't giving his all in Cleveland.
Rajon Rondo, Boston Celtics
Roberto Serra/Iguana Press/Getty Images
Don't get me wrong—Rondo is a top point guard and has far more good moments than he has bad moments. He's an elite-level floor general and an excellent ball-hawk defensively. He's massively underpaid for what he contributes, and the Celtics are fortunate to have him locked up.
Now can he just learn to shoot a little better?
At the basket last season, Rondo scored on 57.4 percent of his attempts. From anywhere else, he shot 35.5 percent (credit again to basketball-reference.com). From 3-9 feet out, he scored on 31.9 percent of his shots. That's exceptionally dismal, especially for a player who is featured so prominently in the Celtics offense.
To give him credit, he has seen significant improvement in his range from 16 feet out to the three point line, where he made 78 of his 189 attempts (41.3 percent) last year. He has improved on that mid-range shot throughout his career. Of course, he made just 59.7 percent of his free throws, which negates that improvement a bit.
There is a ton to love about Rondo. He was the league leader in assists with 11.7 per game last season, and according to Synergy Sports, he allowed just .74 points per defensive possession (40th in the league).
While there is a lot to appreciate in Rondo's game, his shooting abilities are increasingly infuriating. As the Celtics age and they become more reliant on him to score, that pain is only going to increase.
Michael Beasley, Phoenix Suns
Stephen Dunn/Getty Images
Michael Beasley gets a new start in Phoenix, where he seems to be the Suns' top scoring option. Given Beasley's history, that seems a dangerous move.
Beasley can certainly put up big numbers, but he's as likely to fizzle as he is to sizzle.
When it comes to considering Beasley as a top scoring option, we can't take last season fully into account, as he only played 23.1 minutes a game. Certainly that doesn't bode well, especially since his last season's coach, Rick Adelman, is one of the best in the business.
In 2010-11, Beasley averaged 19.2 points per game on 45.0 percent shooting. Those numbers look good on the surface, but he was one of the most inconsistent players in the game.
According to basketball-reference.com, Beasley shot below 41.7 percent from the floor almost half his games that year. In 25 contests, he shot below 40 percent.
His poor efficiency in those games didn't keep him from shooting, however. In the 25 games in which he shot below 40 percent, he averaged 15.84 shots a contest. He rightfully earned himself a reputation as a ball-hog that season.
Beasley has the ability to score in bunches, but his inability to stay consistent makes him downright infuriating. Best of luck with him as a top option, Phoenix fans!
JaVale McGee, Denver Nuggets
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images
JaVale McGee has all the makings of a excellent NBA center. He's got the size, he;s got the strength, and he's got the elite athleticism. He's got everything you want physically, but he just doesn't have it mentally.
McGee makes some of the most boneheaded plays you will see in sports. Certainly, he does contribute to his squads with his rebounding and blocking skills, but at least once a game he does something that leaves everyone shaking their heads.
It's impossible to capture McGee in words, so check out this video of eight of McGee's most infuriating moments (fair warning: does contain some explicit language). It contains his most famous moments, including his desperate run for a triple-double and a errant attempt at a free-throw-line dunk.
If he had a higher basketball IQ, he could be a top 10 center. It's a shame he isn't as sharp mentally as he is physically.