NBA History logoNBA History

The Most Screwed over Player in the History of Every NBA Franchise

Adam FromalNational NBA Featured ColumnistOctober 24, 2011

The Most Screwed over Player in the History of Every NBA Franchise

1 of 31

    Not every player in the NBA can wind up in the perfect situation. 

    Sometimes he is treated poorly by the management, who either doesn't offer him a proper contract, forces him off the team or doesn't surround him without enough talent. 

    Maybe the player is overshadowed by other players on his team or in the franchise's history that cause his legacy to not reach its rightful level. 

    Whatever the cause, some NBA players just get screwed over. 

    Read on to find which player got screwed over by each and every NBA franchise. 

Atlanta Hawks: Bob Pettit

2 of 31

    Bob Pettit was one of the first superstars of the game, even winning the NBA's first MVP award, but he's lacking a multitude of titles for his resume. 

    The reason for that? Pettit was screwed over in that he happened to play against two of the most dominant centers of all time: Bill Russell and Wilt Chamberlain. 

    As long as those two patrolled the paint, there wasn't much Pettit could do other than finish as a runner-up time after time. 

Boston Celtics: Sam Jones

3 of 31

    Sam Jones is a Hall of Famer and universally regarded as one of the greatest players of all time, but he's still a little bit screwed over. 

    Because of the fact that he played for the storied Boston Celtics, Jones has been historically overshadowed by the other greats in franchise history, simply because he was never the absolute best player on any of his teams. 

    How many people are aware that Jones won 10 championships, the second most of all time?

Charlotte Bobcats: Adam Morrison

4 of 31

    Adam Morrison was a true star during his collegiate career at Gonzaga and then he was drafted third-overall in 2006 by the Charlotte Bobcats. Morrison was drawing comparisons to Larry Bird and some of the other greats of basketball history. It was almost guaranteed that his scoring talent would translate to the NBA. 

    His professional career got off to a rough start as he was inept on defense and shooting poorly from the field, a combination that resulted in his benching. 

    Due to some struggles with management, Morrison had an extraordinarily difficult time getting off the bench once more and he never received another chance in the league. 

    There's still a chance that Morrison was a product of a lack of minutes more than a lack of talent. 

Chicago Bulls: Scottie Pippen

5 of 31

    There are two mutually exclusive schools of thoughts when it comes to Scottie Pippen.

    Some think that the forward benefited greatly from playing alongside Michael Jordan and would never have been able to shine quite as brightly without the all-time greatest player also on his team.

    The rest think that Pippen never really was allowed to shine because his talents were depressed by Jordan's dominance with the Chicago Bulls.  

    Personally, I subscribe to the latter theory. 

Cleveland Cavaliers: LeBron James

6 of 31

    I know I'm risking thousands of annoyed comments by putting LeBron James here, but let's take a look at the players who the Cleveland Cavaliers brought in to help make James' supporting cast one worthy of a championship:

    A washed-up, overweight Shaquille O'Neal

    Mo Williams. 

    Antawn Jamison. 

    I would have left too. 

Dallas Mavericks: Caron Butler

7 of 31

    Now 31 years old, Caron Butler has spent all of his career searching for a ring. 

    After failures with the Miami Heat and Washington Wizards, Butler finally got his chance with the Dallas Mavericks. 

    In January, Butler hurt his knee and was declared out of action for the rest of the season. The Mavericks dedicated their season to him and went on to win the title. 

    Butler got a ring and a chance to kiss the trophy, but it had to be a little unsatisfying because he didn't get a chance to help earn it in the postseason. 

Denver Nuggets: Carmelo Anthony

8 of 31

    There's a reason that Carmelo Anthony was so eager to get away from Denver and end his tenure with the Nuggets. 

    No matter how well he played, the Nuggets management simply wasn't putting enough talent around him for him to be able to lead deep playoff runs. 

    Melo was offered a contract extension to stay in Denver, but he simply didn't feel like that was the best idea for him. 

Detroit Pistons: Adrian Dantley

9 of 31

    In the midst of the Detroit Pistons 1989-'90 run to the title, Adrian Dantley found that he had worn out his welcome with the Bad Boys. 

    Despite his value on the court, Dantley was becoming a poor influence on the team's chemistry and had lost the favor of point guard and golden boy Isiah Thomas. Dantley was then traded to the Dallas Mavericks for Mark Aguirre. 

    Later in the season, the following interaction occurred, as reported by Cameron Stauth in The Franchise:

    There was pain all over Dantley's face. He was as desperate for the Championship as any of his former teammates. Recently, he'd returned to the Palace for Dallas's only game of the year there. Just before the game had started, he had gone up to Isiah Thomas, touched Thomas's hands, and had said something in Thomas's ear. The fans had cheered at the apparent reconciliation. 

    Dantley had said: "I'll never forgive you for what you did to me."

Golden State Warriors: Chris Mullin

10 of 31

    Chris Mullin spent all of the early seasons of his career with the Golden State Warriors, including the famous Run TMC years, but that didn't stop him from bickering with the management during the middle portion of the 1990s. 

    After Chris Webber was added to the team, Mullin and head coach Don Nelson started to fight about the former star's playing time. Nelson was eventually forced away from the team, but then Latrell Sprewell was brought in and Mullin was even more on the way out. 

    Eventually, he was traded away from the team in 1997 to the Indiana Pacers. 

Houston Rockets: Ralph Sampson

11 of 31

    Just a few seasons into his career with the Houston Rockets, Ralph Sampson was on the way out as part of the Twin Towers duo. 

    In 1986-'87, Sampson and head coach Bill Fitch started to have problems after he was injured and the 7'4" behemoth was traded to the Golden State Warriors, breaking up the Sampson-Hakeem Olajuwon duo in its prime. 

    Sampson would never again achieve the same level of success. 

Indiana Pacers: Danny Granger

12 of 31

    When an NBA player achieves superstar status on the court, they should have a serious boost in popularity and actually be recognized off the court. 

    Danny Granger is good enough that he should be recognized everywhere—he's not.

    The Indiana management simply hasn't brought in enough talent around Granger to make the Pacers relevant and Granger popular. 

Los Angeles Clippers: Everybody

13 of 31

    Just look at Shaun Livingston's knee. Normal people's knees do not look like that. 

    The Los Angeles Clippers have been the worst organization in basketball for quite some time. 

    Until now, (see: Blake Griffin) any player who has had to suit up for the Clippers has been screwed over a little bit. 

Los Angeles Lakers: Rudy LaRusso

14 of 31

    Rudy LaRusso never gets the credit that he deserves, mostly because he played on teams with absolutely legendary players. 

    LaRusso, a five-time All-Star with career averages of 15.6 points and 9.4 rebounds per game throughout his career, is largely forgotten about in Los Angeles Lakers history. 

    That's just what happens when you spend most of your career with Jerry West and Elgin Baylor. 

Miami Heat: The Big Three

15 of 31

    No matter what LeBron James, Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade do during their time together in Miami Heat jerseys, it will never be enough. 

    This time, it wasn't the management screwing over the players. James, Bosh and Wade did this to themselves.

    Even if they fulfill James' bold prediction about how many championships they'll win together, it will never be enough for this trio. 

Memphis Grizzlies: Shareef Abdur-Rahim

16 of 31

    Before Shareef Abdur-Rahim joined the Sacramento Kings, he held the NBA record for the most games played without making it to the playoffs. 

    That right there says it all. 

Milwaukee Bucks: Kareem Abdul-Jabbar

17 of 31

    This one wasn't really the management's fault per se, but Kareem Abdul-Jabbar did get screwed over by the city of Milwaukee. 

    After winning a championship alongside Oscar Robertson with the Bucks, Abdul-Jabbar decided that the city didn't meet his cultural needs:

Minnesota Timberwolves: Kevin Garnett

18 of 31

    Even though they paid him a lot of money, the Minnesota Timberwolves still screwed over Kevin Garnett by forcing him to spend the majority of his prime on a pretty inept team. 

    It speaks to just how great KG was that he was able to actually win a few playoff series with the supporting cast he had in Minny. 

    Just imagine how KG would be remembered if he had won a few more championships. He'd surely be a top-10 player of all time. 

New Jersey Nets: Julius Erving

19 of 31

    After winning two ABA Championships with the New York Nets, Julius Erving was ready to join the NBA with the team he'd come to prominence with. 

    But the New York Knicks demanded money from the Nets for invading their territory and the Nets were forced to sell Erving's contract to the Philadelphia 76ers for $3 million, getting absolutely nothing in return. 

    Even though it was the easiest way for the Nets to join the NBA, you'd think they could've found some other way and given their star player the respect he deserved. 

New Orleans Hornets: Chris Paul

20 of 31

    This is yet another example of an organization simply not putting enough talent around a star player. 

    Chris Paul is one of the better point guards in NBA history, but the best player he's ever had to pass to is David West.

    I don't blame him at all for wanting to join a different team.  

New York Knicks: Walt Frazier

21 of 31

    Walt Frazier got screwed over by the New York Knicks for one reason, and one reason only. Those of you that have read a lot of my other articles know that I'm very bitter about this moment. 

    In the final game of the 1970 NBA Finals, Willis Reed limped onto the court for the famous "Here Comes Willis!" moment. That entrance and the four points that Reed scored managed to complete overshadow Frazier's historic performance in that title-clinching win. 

    Frazier exploded for 36 points, 19 assists and seven rebounds in the 113-99 Knicks win. It's one of the greatest performances in NBA finals history but it's largely overlooked because of Reed's heroics. 

    I am bitter. 

Oklahoma City Thunder: Shawn Kemp

22 of 31

    On my slideshow titled "One Moment Each and Every NBA Franchise Would Like to Forget," I wrote the following:

    This may be the worst free-agent acquisition in basketball history as Jim McIlvaine was the man who unintentionally brought about the downfall of professional basketball in Seattle. 

    After the 7'1" center from Marquette was drafted with the fifth pick of the second round of the 1994 NBA Draft by the Washington Bullets, he never really became the shot-blocking presence he was supposed to become.

    Then he kind of "broke out" during his sophomore season by averaging 2.3 points, 2.9 rebounds and 2.1 blocks per game. 

    The Seattle SuperSonics decided that McIlvaine was a "Shaq stopper" and offered him a seven-year contract worth $33.6 million. Obviously, McIlvaine took the deal. 

    Both Seattle fans and Shawn Kemp were upset by this because of the latter's ongoing contract feuds with the team. Kemp, who was assuredly a star at the time, wasn't being given the salary increase he wanted and seeing an unproven center get what he thought of as his money didn't help things. 

    Chemistry issues then killed the team and eventually Kemp was traded for Vin Baker, who would experience an immediate decline thanks to his problems with alcohol. 

    Meanwhile, McIlvaine never averaged more than 3.8 points or 4.0 rebounds per game. 

    Kemp definitely belongs on this slide. 

     

Orlando Magic: Nick Anderson

23 of 31

    Nick Anderson is screwed over, and justifiably so, for one moment in NBA history. Well, really four moments. 

    And this is when every single Orlando Magic fan reading this clicks through to the next slide. 

    Anderson, otherwise known as Nick the Brick or Brick Anderson, missed four consecutive free throws in Game 1 of the 1995 NBA Finals against the Houston Rockets. The Magic were up by three points late in the quarter and the four misses allowed Kenny Smith to hit a three-pointer and send the game to an overtime that the Rockets would take control of.

    Despite the fact that he was a very productive player, this is what he's remembered for.  

Philadelphia 76ers: Charles Barkley

24 of 31

    First, Charles Barkley had to deal with the Philadelphia 76ers trading away Moses Malone. Then, he had to help the team recover from losing Julius Erving to retirement. 

    Chuck was good enough that he helped the team make the postseason quite a few times, but he never had quite enough help around him.

    Eventually the situation got bad enough that he demanded a trade and was sent off to the Phoenix Suns, where he had a good bit of success. 

Phoenix Suns: Steve Nash

25 of 31

    During Steve Nash's first tenure with the Phoenix Suns, he was booed by his own fans. Just two seasons into his career, the future All-Star point guard was traded to the Dallas Mavericks. 

    Nash is now back with the team that drafted him and screwed him over through a combination of his willingness to be loyal to the organization and that same organization's hesitance to put top-notch players around him. 

    Whichever time with the Suns you look at, Nash has been screwed over. 

Portland Trail Blazers: Sam Bowie

26 of 31

    Sam Bowie is known as the player that the Portland Trail Blazers drafted instead of Michael Jordan. 

    While it's pretty egregious that he was drafted in front of the greatest player of all time, this is a bit unfair to Bowie's legacy. Truth be told, he was actually a pretty decent player, but no one knows it. 

    Bowie averaged 10.9 points, 7.5 rebounds and 2.1 assists per game during his career, topping out at 16 points per contest in his best season. 

    Even though he's always on the list of the biggest draft busts ever, Bowie was way better than the vast majority of them. 

Sacramento Kings: Oscar Robertson

27 of 31

    Because he played college basketball at the University of Cincinnati, Oscar Robertson was drafted with a territorial selection by the Cincinnati Royals, putting him on an absolutely terrible team. 

    The Royals messed up with most of their draft picks after The Big O was in place. Bob Boozer was probably the best addition through the draft who actually stayed with the team and didn't bolt for the ABA. 

    Even though he was statistically dominant, Robertson wasn't able to win a championship until he was traded to the Milwaukee Bucks. 

    Moreover, the organization was never willing to pay him what he deserved, resulting in a holdout and a few ugly contract talks. 

San Antonio Spurs: George Gervin

28 of 31

    As good as George Gervin ways, he managed to play for the San Antonio Spurs during the one and only period when they weren't a championship-caliber squad. 

    Gervin was a part of the Spurs during both their ABA and NBA days, ranging from 1974–1985.

    Just a decade later, Gervin's legacy would start to be forgotten thanks to the exploits of David Robinson and then Tim Duncan. The Iceman is now one of the most underrated players in NBA history.

Toronto Raptors: Chris Bosh

29 of 31

    What do Vince Carter, Jalen Rose, Mike James, Morris Peterson, T.J. Ford, Anthony Parker, Jose Calderon, Andrea Bargnani and Jermaine O'Neal all have in common?

    They have all been top teammates of Chris Bosh's ever since he was drafted by the Toronto Raptors back in 2003. 

    There's a reason Bosh didn't have too much playoff success with the Raptors. As hard as it is now, you kind of have to feel sorry for him a bit. 

Utah Jazz: John Stockton and Karl Malone

30 of 31

    The one and only reason that the duo of John Stockton and Karl Malone was screwed over is Michael Jordan. 

    Example 1: The Flu Game. 

    Example 2: MJ's last shot as a Chicago Bull. 

    Take Jordan out of the picture and these two win multiple championships together. With Air Jordan there though, they didn't win anything. 

Washington Wizards: Kwame Brown

31 of 31

    Kwame Brown has had one of the most inept careers in recent memory and is often the target of NBA-related humor. A lot of that is deserved. 

    But some of the blame lies with the Washington Wizards for feeding the young man's ego and drafting him directly out of high school with the No. 1 overall pick back in 2001. 

    Thanks to the hype that Michael Jordan put upon his shoulders, Brown was plagued by immaturity and inconsistency and never developed into the player he should have been. 

    It was definitely at least partially his fault, but there's no doubt that the Wizards are a bit to blame as well. 

    * * *

    Adam Fromal is a syndicated writer and Featured Columnist at Bleacher Report. Follow him on   Twitter.

    All-Time NBA Mock Draft

    Steven Jackson: Dark Horse Commercial of the Year Candidate

    Brian Wilson vs. James Harden: The Battle of the Beards 

    Coolest Players in NBA History

    100 Most Exciting NBA Stars Ever

Where can I comment?

Stay on your game

Latest news, insights, and forecasts on your teams across leagues.

Choose Teams
Get it on the App StoreGet it on Google Play

Real-time news for your teams right on your mobile device.

Download
Copyright © 2017 Bleacher Report, Inc. Turner Broadcasting System, Inc. All Rights Reserved. BleacherReport.com is part of Bleacher Report – Turner Sports Network, part of the Turner Sports and Entertainment Network. Certain photos copyright © 2017 Getty Images. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of Getty Images is strictly prohibited. AdChoices