After putting together a slideshow last week on the toughest players in the NBA, I started ruminating on the opposite, trying to distill the softest players from all the floppers and the cry-babies, the flimsy and the fragile.
Who is more delicate than a rose petal floating in the wind?
Who is more frail than overcooked asparagus?
These guys have made it to the NBA for a variety of reasons, but toughness isn't one of them.
Channing Frye is the first of several jump-shooting big men on this list.
He defends as well as the French Army and rebounds like his life definitely doesn't depend on it.
Supposedly Frye's nickname is Buffet of Goodness—about which I am incredulous—but it looks like toughness didn't make the smorgasbord.
"Oh look, a rebound! You can have it, Paul."
Rashard Lewis is 6'10" and yet has a career rebounding average of 5.6. I wonder if he likes incense or lavender; he certainly has no nose for loose balls or fighting through contact.
Lewis should be a dangerous offensive dual-threat, but he generally refuses to go down into the low post, instead launching three after three.
His softness extends to the defensive end, where his weakness has been masked by Dwight Howard for the last few years.
Some people will argue that injury-prone does not imply a lack of toughness. Some people will cite Greg Oden’s freshman year at Ohio State, when he played through a broken hand—he even shot free throws with his unnatural left—to lead the Buckeyes to the Final Four.
But Oden has proved to be Mr. Glass, playing in only 82 games in his first four years in the league. Sorry, but if you’re an elite-level athlete, you’ve got to find a way to stay on the court.
Honestly, Oden is huge enough to help the Trail Blazers if all he ever did was stand near the paint. Apparently, though, standing is on Oden's list of hazardous activities, right beside breathing and seeing.
Maybe he should stick to photography.
Back in his Agent Zero days, Gilbert Arenas was one of the baddest dudes around. Merely a second-round draft pick, he worked his butt off to become a lethal scorer, All-Star and leader. In his own inimitable words, his swag was phenomenal.
In the last few seasons, Arenas has been stripped of his armor and now lays bare as one of the least tough players in the league.
Missing multiple years to injury? Weak.
Bringing guns into the locker room? Lame.
Making a joke out of your tattered career? Pitiful.
Who knows if Arenas will ever recapture the magic. For now, he's a softy.
Ever heard the Anderson Varejao remix of Ke$ha's "Tik Tok?"
"Flip Flop, Andy drops, now the whining won't stop!"
The Cleveland Cavaliers big man might be the best flopper in the game today. Turning on the air conditioning threatens to knock him down. High-fives nearly cause him to fall.
Despite all of the obvious acting, Varejao still has the audacity to complain to the referees about everything. It’s hard to believe they ever buy what he is selling.
Chris Kaman was the sixth pick in the 2003 NBA Draft and an All-Star in 2010, yet he somehow still manages to look like your second cousin’s awkward brother-in-law.
He has no recognizable muscles—it actually looks like he has never lifted a weight in his life—which would be fine if he didn’t get pushed around by every other center in the league.
His skill, touch and finesse have allowed him to be moderately successful, but his severe lack of toughness is seriously holding him back.
Maybe he'll learn a thing or two from teammate Blake Griffin.
Here's a list of things that are tougher than Yi Jianlian:
- Newborn babies
- Shawn Bradley
- Mink coats
- Filet Mignon
- Pillsbury Doughboy
- Valentine's Day
Eddy Curry might be the physically softest player on this list. As in, he's the guy you'd most like to use as a pillow.
That interminable paunch looks ever so inviting for a sleepy head.
Unfortunately, Curry is supposed to be useful standing up rather than lying down, and that's where gravity gets the best of him.
Even before he decided conditioning just wasn't that interesting, Curry appeared allergic to rebounds, defense and toughness.
I will always have a soft spot for Sasha Vujacic, especially because my mom owns his jersey. That soft spot is actually kind of fitting considering how un-tough Vujacic is.
Sasha does his own version of the "Jump, Jive and Wail," which I like to call the Flop, Cry and Flail.
Can’t he dribble anywhere on the court without being bumped off his route like he's made of paper mache?
And just look at that hair. (Damn you, Maria Sharapova, for encouraging this behavior.)
Andrea Bargnani's sweet shooting stroke is undeniable, as is his complete wimpiness.
Bargnani is a 7'0" center who has never averaged more than 6.1 rebounds. He purportedly has also never dunked in a game, since he believes the lane is infested with piranhas.
Defensively, the Italian Scallion offers about as much resistance as a green onion.
With his capacity to put the ball in the bucket, Bargnani should be stud. Alas, Toronto, he remains largely a dud.
Lumberjack beards/Winston Churchill moustaches are almost always badass.
Lumberjack beards/Winston Churchill moustaches accompanied by crying and whining and sucking are not badass.
Adam Morrison couldn’t hack it in the NBA because he couldn’t handle the physical play or lofty expectations. As he sits on the bench, his facial hair tries to hide his fear and shame over being so weaksauce. But it can’t, it just can’t.
Vince Carter had the God-given ability to be one of the all-time greats. His unbelievable dunk over Frederic Weis might be the most spectacular play in the history of the sport and he has a career scoring average of 22.7 points per game.
Instead, Air Canada will be remembered for quitting on Toronto, never doing anything noteworthy in New Jersey and being less effective than Hedo Turkoglu in Orlando.
Add Carter's durability issues to his petulance, anti-clutchness and nonexistent leadership qualities, and you've got the NBA's spokesman for Charmin.