NBA Power Rankings: J.R. Smith and Each Teams Most Inept Player
Every team has one. Whether you call them team cancers, low character guys, chemistry disrupters, ball hogs, or whatever, every team in the NBA has a player that isn't helping them as much as they're hurting them.
This NBA season had plenty of story lines. Unfortunately, many of them had to do with off the court distractions and players that simply couldn't do things right.
Even though half of these teams were successful enough to make the playoffs, I'm here to tell you who they needed to subtract.
Without further ado here are the most inept players on every NBA team.
30. Oklahoma City Thunder, James Harden
It’s hard to call a player like Harden inept. Instead, let’s call him a guy that will likely never live up to where he was drafted. Remember, Harden was drafted ahead of Tyreke Evans, Stephen Curry, and Brandon Jennings.
For being the third overall pick, Oklahoma City would have definitely liked to see Harden starting by this time in his career.
Maybe Harden is out of place with the Thunder, or maybe he’s really not as good as people expected. Whatever the case, Harden has yet to take major steps forward in his career.
29. San Antonio Spurs, Richard Jefferson
For a player that should be helping in perimeter shooting and scoring, Jefferson averaged a measly 11 points in 30 minutes per game this year. In New Jersey, Jefferson routinely averaged from 18 to 22 points per game.
Jefferson is the definition of a misfit, which really derails an aging team’s chances of ever getting back to the finals.
28. Chicago Bulls, Ronnie Brewer
Brewer has had every opportunity possible to take over the shooting guard role in Chicago. Playing behind Keith Bogans, Brewer should be embarrassed that he cannot pass a guy on the depth chart that is void of scoring.
We all know that Bogans is a good defender, but Brewer should be able to trump him with his offensive prowess.
Brewer saw some quality development in Utah under Jerry Sloan, only to be knocked back by moving teams twice.
Brewer is now 26 and his ship might be sailing unless he can put it together soon.
27. Miami Heat, Mike Miller
Coming into the season as the sidekick to the “Big Three,” Mike Miller has done nothing but disappoint fans in Miami.
Miller was supposed to be the Heat’s “safe out,” a player who could sit on the perimeter and drain threes when the “Big Three” needed help.
Unfortunately for Miami, Miller has done anything but help them when needed. Miller seems to have lost his entire role to sharpshooter James Jones.
Unless Miller can somehow convince Pat Riley he can turn it around, expect the Heat to shop him this summer.
26. New Orleans Hornets, Willie Green
Anyone playing alongside Chris Paul should automatically flourish on offense. However, Willie Green does not seem to mesh.
Green has always been a solid role player, constantly on the verge of breaking into a full time role.
His inconsistencies and head scratching plays have really held him back. A perfect example is what happened in the playoffs this year.
Green went 78 percent from the line this season. In the playoffs against the Lakers, Green actually air balled a free throw attempt, stunning everyone.
Whether it was the pressure, a mental lapse, or just a missed shot is something we will never know.
25. Cleveland Cavaliers, Ryan Hollins
Not everyone in the NBA can be counted on to score. Other players, like Ryan Hollins, are what we call offensive liabilities.
Hollins is almost incapable of scoring; literally only scoring off of alley oops or easy put back rebounds.
Hollins has been in the NBA for five years now and has marginally seen his offensive numbers rise.
Hate to say it but Hollins is essentially just a big body out there. He plays solid defense but it is nothing to hang your hat on.
Ryan Hollins will be a free agent this summer and the team who signs him should know what to expect.
24. Portland Trail Blazers, Marcus Camby
Drafted second overall in 1996, Marcus Camby arguably had his best season his rookie year. He took the most shots he ever has and averaged a career high 14.8 points per game.
Now in Portland 14 years later, Camby is strictly good for rebounds and blocks.
Watching the Blazers you get a sense that Camby does not belong. They got players near their prime in LaMarcus Aldridge, Rudy Fernandez, Gerald Wallace, and Wesley Matthews.
Do not be surprised if Portland continues to look for younger alternatives to Marcus Camby.
23. Phoenix Suns, Hakim Warrick
Warrick is a player coaches have been waiting to “turn the corner,” so to speak.
His athleticism, explosiveness, and versatility make him difficult to guard. However, it also makes it hard to put him in one position.
Warrick is slightly undersized to play power forward, while probably too slow to play on the wing.
He came into the league oozing with potential, and appears he might leave with that potential untapped.
Warrick is in a rare class of players who don’t play significantly better next to Steve Nash.
22. Toronto Raptors, Amir Johnson
In the biggest summer of free agency ever, fans can easily forget that Amir Johnson was part of the mix. The Raptors resigned Johnson to a five year, 34 million dollar deal.
Many questioned the signing for good reason. Johnson had never averaged over 20 minutes a game, while never posting more than five boards a game.
In his biggest season yet, Johnson posted 9.6 points and 6.4 rebounds per night. I’m no math genius but 7 million dollars per year usually warrants more production than that.
If Johnson does not turn it around quick, we will know why the Raptors are constantly in the bottom tier of the NBA.
21. Milwaukee Bucks, John Salmons
What happened to John Salmons this year? After averaging a hair under 20 points per game for the rising Bucks, Salmons took a big step back this season.
Salmons finished the year with 14 points per game on 41 percent shooting. Not only were his numbers down but his body language reflected it.
Salmons stopped playing assertive on offense, constantly allowing other players to take over. The new strategy was a failure and the Bucks failed to make the playoffs.
Anticipate Salmons to get back to his game in 2011, further showing his inconsistencies on a year to year basis.
20. Los Angeles Clippers, Al-Farouq Aminu
It’s hard to criticize a rookie for inconsistencies but Al-Farouq Aminu has been the model of it.
On a team seriously lacking a small forward, Aminu never stepped up to earn serious playing time. Since Aminu is not a great shooter, finding a starting role for him on the Clippers could be difficult.
Aminu finished the season shooting 39 percent from the field and just 31 percent from three.
The rookie from Wake Forest definitely has the athleticism and quickness to succeed in the NBA. If he can improve his shooting stroke he would be swiftly removed from a list like this.
19. Dallas Mavericks, DeShawn Stevenson
Stevenson is a player who was really starting to turn the corner during his stint in Washington. Playing alongside the evolving Gilbert Arenas, Stevenson added various elements to his game making him more complete.
However, Stevenson’s antics are still questionable at best.
I’m not one to judge, but Stephenson’s tattoos might trump Chris Anderson's for craziest in the league.
Stevenson has a five dollar bill tattooed across his neck (ouch), a backwards Pittsburgh Pirates logo next to his eye (more ouch), and a Frankenstein like crack down the left side of his hairline (what?).
Stevenson does provide reasons for all the tattoos, yet you have to wonder what he will be thinking about them 20 years from now.
18. New Jersey Nets, Anthony Morrow
Anthony Morrow has got to figure it out in the next year or two. He has so much untapped potential it is ridiculous.
Viewed strictly as a shooter, Morrow obviously is capable of more. He has the quickness and athleticism to implement new skills to his game.
Playing under fundamental coach Avery Johnson, there is no excuse for Morrow’s lack of development. If he cannot elevate his game over the next few years consider him a major waste of talent.
17. Atlanta Hawks, Jamal Crawford
How many players in the NBA can average over 32 minutes per game and not make the playoffs for nine years? Let’s just say it’s not a lot and that Jamal Crawford is one of those guys.
Maybe Crawford’s teams were not great, but that many minutes per game is unacceptable.
Crawford has been labeled a “team cancer” for years. Unfortunately, it is hard to defend him when his teams can’t make the playoffs and he’s receiving major playing time.
Now in Atlanta, Crawford is effective for Atlanta in his sixth man role. Due to his ball-hoggish like tendencies, coming off the bench is the best thing for Crawford and Atlanta.
16. Detroit Pistons, Charlie Villanueva
Yikes. Villanueva has been an absolute nightmare in Detroit. After signing a five year 40 million dollar deal, Villanueva has played just over 20 minutes per game in two seasons.
Villanueva, coming off the bench, is nearly getting paid as much money per year (eight million) as he is points per game (11.1).
Not only are Villanueva’s on the court numbers concerning, his actions of late portray his frustration.
With just a few games left in the season, Villanueva went crazy in a fight that he appeared to start. For no reason at all, Villanueva charged towards Ryan Hollins after being ejected and followed it with an attempted trip to the Cavs locker room.
Call me crazy but I think Villanueva’s subpar play is quickly wearing on him.
15. Utah Jazz, Raja Bell
Raja Bell has made his reputation in the NBA by being a hardnosed player. His toughness and willingness to guard anyone make him valuable.
However, there is good reason why Bell has played for several teams. He has committed several bonehead flagrant fouls, most notably on Kobe Bryant.
During game five of the playoffs, Bell straight up close lined Kobe Bryant as he drove down the lane. Bell was immediately assessed a flagrant foul type two, ejecting him from the game and leaving people wondering what he was thinking.
14. Philadelphia 76ers, Thaddeus Young
Young is a player seemingly ready to explode in the NBA. He has so much in his arsenal that never gets to be displayed.
Fortunately for Young he hits the free agent market this summer. Young is one of the free agents with the most to gain this summer.
Young has never really found his niche with the 76ers, routinely putting up mediocre numbers in their deep rotation.
If Young can find the right team this summer he could be in for a huge season in 2011.
13. New York Knicks, Bill Walker
Talk about wasted talent. Bill Walker was a “can’t miss” prospect coming out of high school.
After having major knee surgery and playing at Kansas State for a year, Walker decided to prematurely enter the pros. Picked in the middle of the second round, Walker was anything but guaranteed to stay in the league for long.
Now settled in New York, Walker has found a coach that works well with him. However, one has to wonder how good Walker should have been.
If the NBA did not implement the age limit rule, Walker would have surely went straight to the pros. His blend of quickness, leaping ability, athleticism, and shooting stroke would have made him a lock top 15 pick.
Unfortunately Bill Walker will never be the player he was supposed to be.
12. Golden State Warriors, Al Thornton
Al Thornton has been a frustrating player in the league since he stepped in. With so much talent and athleticism, Thornton has failed to learn team basketball.
You will rarely see Thornton take a shot he does not think is a good one, further hurting his team’s chemistry.
Now in Golden State, Thornton is playing alongside ball hog Monta Ellis.
Thornton has enough physical ability to impact the game with more than just scoring. He is good at attacking the boards and will need to do so if he wants to grow as a player.
11. Houston Rockets, Jordan Hill
Seen as a “safe” draft pick in 2009, Jordan Hill has done nothing but disappoint GM’s who put so much faith in him.
Hill is a type of player who will take a step forward one game, then follow it with two steps backward the next.
Settled in behind a log jam of power forwards, the future does not look overly bright for Hill.
Hopefully a little seasoning in the NBA is just what Hill needed. There is no doubt the Rockets will want Hill playing meaningful minutes next season. If Hill can’t take advantage of them, he could undoubtedly be on the move again next year.
This could be a do or die season for Hill, especially since Houston will have a new head coach in town.
10. Sacramento Kings, DeMarcus Cousins
Cousins might have more growing up to do than anyone in the NBA. Multiple character episodes really hurt DeMarcus from growing as a player.
The worst of them all was when Cousins fought his teammate Donte Greene.
Down just a few points in the closing seconds, Greene inbounded the ball without looking Cousins way. I’m not sure what Cousins was mad about, considering he is just a rookie and has proven nothing when it comes to crunch time.
For Cousins to try and fight Greene over that is simply disturbing. It truly shows a lack of maturity and overall consciousness for the team.
If you’re a gambling person, bet the limit that Cousins will have plenty more immature episodes next season.
9. Charlotte Bobcats, Kwame Brown
Nine years after being selected number one overall, Kwame Brown still has not figured out a thing about how to use his skills in the NBA.
Now on his fifth NBA team, Brown averaged 7.9 points and 6.8 rebounds this year.
A big part of Brown becoming fairly relevant in the NBA has to do with Michael Jordan taking a chance on him. With Brown set to be a free agent this summer, it will be interesting to see what team will take a chance on him next.
No matter where Brown lands next year, expect nothing more than what he did in Charlotte. Kwame Brown is a bona fide NBA bust.
8. Boston Celtics, Delonte West
Just writing about West makes me scared. With his array of tattoos, guns, and bipolar behavior make him a ticking time bomb.
For being such a quiet person, you would not expect him to be driving on his motorcycle with two handguns and a shotgun in a guitar case.
That’s right, Delonte was caught with a handgun in his pocket, another handgun in his pant leg, and a shotgun strapped around his back in a guitar case.
When watching West play, you have to wish he had it together upstairs. If he was mentally 100 percent, West could be one of the top scoring guards in the NBA.
7. Orlando Magic, Gilbert Arenas
Arenas really launched his name up this chart over the past few seasons.
The main reason Arenas falls here is because of the infamous locker room gun incident. After unable to settle a gambling debt with teammate Javarris Crittenton, both of the players allegedly brandished guns to each other in the team locker room.
Not only was Arenas incredibly dumb by bringing a gun in the locker room, he basically mocked the NBA by making fake guns in his pregame introduction dance the following night.
Arenas was subsequently suspended for the entire season, all but guaranteeing that he is far from the brightest player in the NBA.
6. Indiana Pacers, Brandon Rush
Rush has been a head scratcher type of player before he even arrived at Kansas. Considering Rush took six years to graduate high school, scouts and coaches should have been alarmed.
In his first few years in the pros, Rush seemed to be out of rhythm, lost, and at times completely out of it. Many did not know what the problems were, knowing that Brandon possessed the physical abilities to hold his own.
Then Rush’s big slip up occurred. Rush was suspended this season for failing three marijuana drugs tests, indicating why he had so many mental lapses.
5. Minnesota Timberwolves, Sebastian Telfair
Remember the documentary “Through the Fire”? The film virtually followed around Sebastian Telfair in high school, where he was treated like a legend.
The name of Telfair’s documentary is pretty ironic, especially since Telfair was arrested on gun charges just a couple years later.
Besides Telfair’s off the court distractions, the Brooklyn native has barely been relative on the court. Over the past two seasons Telfair has played in a total of 76 games, proving how big of a bust he has been.
4. Washington Wizards, Andray Blatche
Blatche has been a regular for getting in trouble since he was drafted. Just three months after he was selected in the 2005 draft, Blatche has regularly made headlines for the wrong reasons.
Blatche’s first incident involved him being shot during an attempted carjacking. Though he was a victim to the carjacking, you have to believe he was in a place he had no business being.
His next run in with the law involved soliciting sex. Not only did Blatche try to solicit sex from a woman, but that woman happened to be an undercover cop.
Blatche’s latest incident involved teammate JaVale McGee. During this season, the two big men were at a nightclub and supposedly got into a fight with one another.
For all the players that have come and gone in Washington over the years, it is truly shocking that Andray Blatche is still around.
3. Memphis Grizzlies, O.J. Mayo
OJ Mayo had himself a heck of a season this year. Unfortunately for OJ, he seemingly could not do anything right as the season wore on.
Starting with a failed drug test, Mayo immediately blamed the failed test on an energy drink from a gas station. I’m no medical expert but I don’t see a Red Bull or a 5 hour energy causing a failed drug test.
Then came a fight on the team plane. Mayo and teammate Tony Allen got into a fight on the team plane, believe it or not, over a card game. Reports said that Mayo refused to pay Allen after losing to him in that card game.
Though no one was suspended over the fight, Mayo was seen with a notable black eye over the next few games. It may sound harsh, but Mayo needs to shut his mouth and simply play basketball.
Unless Mayo can come up huge in the playoffs, his time in Memphis is likely over.
2. Los Angeles Lakers, Ron Artest
Artest is easily the biggest head case in the NBA. If you don’t believe me, go to YouTube and type in “brawl in the palace.”
If you still don’t believe me, consider some of these other reasons.
In 2009, Artest admitted that he used to drink Hennessy at halftime during his time on the Bulls. Nobody can be overly surprised by this admittance, especially since Artest plays with such a temper.
Artest’s play on the court can be frustrating. He is extremely unpredictable and plays with a reckless abandon.
Artest has seen a huge drop in production over the years, shooting a mere 39 percent from the field this season. After helping the Lakers win title last season, he could easily end up being the player who prevents them from winning it this year.
1. Denver Nuggets, J.R. Smith
Charles Barkley said it best about JR Smith. Barkley said that “Smith is one of those players you just keep waiting for him to figure it out.”
Barkley went on to talk about how there’s been tons of players like Smith before, and many of them tend to not pan out how they should.
Though it may sound like Barkley is ripping on Smith, he is actually providing optimism for the seventh year guard.
When Smith is on, there is no doubt he’s on. Smith is a dead eye shooter and tends to be extremely streaky.
Like Barkley said, were just waiting for Smith to “figure it out.” Hopefully Smith can mature and find himself as a player before it’s too late.
For now, Smith is extremely frustrating to watch, cheer for, have faith in, and most importantly he exemplifies the word inept for the Denver Nuggets.
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