The NBA Players Who Hurt Their Teams as Much as They Help Them

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The NBA Players Who Hurt Their Teams as Much as They Help Them
Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images
Monta Ellis is looking for his.

Which team will Monta Ellis play for next season?

Hopefully not *your* favorite NBA team, if you're in the interest of seeing your team compete for a championship. Monta Ellis is a very, very good scorer, which in many respects, is not the easiest thing to come by these days in the NBA.

Incredibly, among all players with a minimum of 59 games played during the 2012-13 season, only 11 players scored greater than 20 points per game. Compare that to the 2008-09 season when 26 players, who played a minimum of 50 games, scored more than 20 points per game. 

There's no doubt that NBA teams need scorers, which would seem to insinuate that NBA teams need Monta Ellis and players like him. Not so fast. Because scoring is not the only part of the game.

NBA teams win games with good scorers but the great teams win with strong defense and offensive efficiency born out of unselfish play, smart shot selection and keeping turnovers to a minimum.

It's very little surprise that the two teams that played for the championship this season topped the league in adjusted field goal percentage. The Heat and Spurs took good shots and had efficient, unselfish players taking those shots. 

Statistics such as Player Efficiency Rating (PER) developed by now Memphis Grizzlies VP of Basketball Operations, John Hollinger, have become more prevalent in basketball over the last five years. PER is in many respects similar to the Wins Above Replacement (WAR) statistic in baseball. 

PER does a wonderful job of measuring offensive value but isn't able to measure a player's true defensive impact on the game. Defense is still largely evaluated on the eye-test and to a lesser extent by some advanced statistics on an individual basis. 

Yet on that individual basis, it's quite difficult to appropriately quantify.

NBA teams are throwing loads of money around as free agency has begun and teams are looking to piece together their rosters. The problem is that they're not always looking for the most efficient players that can impact both sides of the ball.

For years now there have been good-to-great scorers that fill up the stat sheet but subtract from their team's value through poor shot selection or terrible individual and team defense. Since those areas have always been difficult to measure, it's easier for these players to continue getting rewarded financially.

The forthcoming list of players is subjective but grounded in some basic criteria: players who have a high shot volume, poor overall shot selection and players regarded as sub-par defenders. The objective of this article is not to criticize and ridicule. 

This article's objective is to highlight players who don't add nearly as much value as might appear on the surface. Sure, scorers like J.R. Smith can help make a difference by pouring in over 18 points per game, but it's hard to find where else Smith contributes as an overall player.

It seems like more NBA teams have improved somewhat at identifying players that can score but add little value elsewhere. Yet some teams continue doling out large wads of cash to the aforementioned players but increasingly for less years under contract.

Teams seem to be shying away from awarding big contracts to players who affect the rest of the team in a negative way by taking away shots from other, more efficient players and by decreasing the "team" style of play and making it a less sharing environment.

Monta Ellis is the classic player that comes to mind.

A very, very good scorer who's lightning quick and finishes well in transition. But also a player who cannot defend well on the perimeter and seems to look for his shot most of the time and as a result, does not involve the other players around him.

Let's call it the, "Monta Ellis All-Stars." Here's your squad.


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