NBA Free Agents 2011: 5 Wimpiest Players Available

Mike Nelson@Mike_E_NelsonCorrespondent IAugust 30, 2011

NBA Free Agents 2011: 5 Wimpiest Players Available

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    In every sport and on every team there’s seemingly at least that one guy everyone knows can’t cut it when the going gets tough. He’s the one guy who everyone knows would back down from a fight—he’s probably the guy who couldn’t fend for himself in a fight either.

    He’s the one guy that won’t play with a minor injury—of course we don’t applaud players for playing with serious injuries….

    While not all of these characteristics apply to these players listed, at least one of these characteristics makes sense to describe these five players that are about to be mentioned.

    Here are the five wimpiest available free agents in the 2011 NBA free agency class.

5. Tracy McGrady

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    McGrady has gotten into his fair share of scuffles, shoving matches, and full-blown fights during his 14-year NBA career. He’s scuffled with Bobby Jackson, Kenyon Martin, and Eddie House to name a few.

    He’s not afraid of standing up for himself or his teammates. Which, based upon that, would suggest he shouldn’t be on this list.

    However, McGrady has dealt with numerous injuries during his career that altered his career path. Instead of being considered a superstar scoring machine, like he should be, his injuries have slowed him down and at age 32 he’s now a has-been.

    McGrady has a fragile body. And to a certain extent it’s unfair to call a player “wimpy” for being injury-prone, but there are steps players can take to make himself more durable and thus able to play in more games.  

    McGrady has never played a full season in his 14-year career (he came closest in the 1998-’99 lockout-shortened season when he played in 49-of-50 games). He's missed 312 games over his career (an average of 22.29 games per season).

4. Hilton Armstrong

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    Armstrong was drafted 12th overall in the first round of the 2006 NBA Draft out of Connecticut because, at 6’11,” teams thought he could become a force in the interior. He had been a dominant shot blocker in college (he averaged 3.1 blocks per game his senior year at Connecticut).

    Well, Armstrong has averaged .5 blocks per game in his five-year NBA career.

    The concern with Armstrong was that he only weighed 235 pounds. That’s awfully skinny for a man that size. But some thought he would throw some muscle on the frame and become an interior presence.

    It hasn’t quite happened that way.

    Armstrong is still listed at 235 pounds five years after being drafted. And at that size it’s difficult to compete with the likes of Dwight Howard (6’11”, 265 pounds) inside.

3. Mike Dunleavy

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    Dunleavy’s game revolves around finesse. He’s a shooter by nature and shooters don’t need to be the muscle of a team. They just need to be able to put the ball in the hole.

    But as you’ll see in this clip, Dunleavy isn’t just wimpy because of his job description. Dunleavy is a natural wimp.

    This is only a single clip of one such instance in time, and it doesn’t shed light on Dunleavy as being a macho man when his attempt to get back at Bargnani whiffs.

    Don’t sweat it, Mike. It’s not your fault. It’s your job that has you lacking experience of being a tough guy.

2. Peja Stojakovic

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    Stojakovic is in a similar boat to Dunleavy. Like Dunleavy, Stojakovic is the sharp-shooter on any team he is on.

    As part of that job it is almost an expectation that the sharp-shooter not be a tough guy. It is expected that the sharp-shooter will avoid confrontations whenever possible because the sharp-shooter needs to be logical and most fights begin when players behave illogically.

    But there is also a history of injuries here.

    Like McGrady, Stojakovic’s career spiraled downward quicker than it should have due to injury. At age 34, Stojakovic was merely a role player on the Dallas Mavericks’ 2011 championship team when just four seasons ago he averaged 16.4 points per game and shot 44.1 percent from beyond the arc.

1. Yi Jianlian

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    It feels like the three major players that entered the NBA from China (Yao Ming, Wang Zhizhi, and Jianlian) all have had issues with physicality. It seems that all of them shy away from physical contact at all costs.

    Jianlian could be an extremely physical player at 7’0". but something about him just comes off as completely and utterly soft. He doesn’t seem to have that killer instinct nor does he seem to be someone who’ll stand up for his teammates.

    He has never played a full NBA season in his four-year career and the closest he came was his rookie season where he fell 16 games shy of the 82-game mark.

    Some of his absences from the lineup were coaches’ decisions, which may or may not have been related to physical distress. Be that as it may, the tough players demand that they go in even when they’re not at 100 percent.