Everybody knows LeBron James and Kevin Durant are among the NBA’s best players. If you’ve been on the Internet for five minutes, you’ve no doubt read an article or three attesting to that very notion.
But who are the worst?
If the object of playing NBA basketball games is to win, then the very worst players, by definition, would have to be the ones that contribute least to that goal. Obviously, that sounds simplistic, but when you’re parsing through elite, world-class athletes to determine who’s technically “bad,” you’ve got to set parameters somewhere.
For our purposes, two over-arching stats will be most important in our quest: win shares and PER.
Essentially, win shares measure how many wins a player’s offensive and defensive performances contribute to his team. You can read a detailed explanation of how it’s calculated here.
Suffice it to say, everything a player does on the court (for better or worse) shows up in his win shares. And if a player is particularly bad over a larger share of minutes, his win shares will be low—and in some cases—negative numbers.
The second metric we’ll use is PER, another catch-all number with which even the most statistically disinclined NBA fans are now familiar. It also accounts for all of a player’s positive and negative accomplishments, but it’s different from win shares in that it is a per-minute figure.
And don’t worry, we’ll still discuss the basics in our analysis. You know, points, rebounds, field-goal percentage and even the “eye test.”
Finally, we’ve set a minimum minute requirement of 500. We’re looking for the biggest negative impacts, so guys who have played just a couple of games or a few minutes really don’t qualify.
Believe it or not, we’ve actually ranked these guys, so hold your nose. This list is going to stink.
*All stats accurate through games played Jan. 1, 2013.
**Win shares and PER stats via basketball-reference.com