The Eight Worst Players To Win Multiple NBA Championships
The general consensus about sports athletes, particularly in the NBA, is that titles won is the true measure of a player's greatness.
Those who have yet to feel the glory of winning their last game during a playoff run and having their champagne shower are somehow inferior to those who have climbed the mountaintop of the NBA and have stood proudly at the top.
From Patrick Ewing, to Charles Barkley, to Karl Malone and today, with Carmelo Anthony and LeBron James, NBA history is filled with great players that have never obtained the ultimate reward for their stellar and consistent play.
The active players facing this dilemma must instead toil in the role of perennial also-ran until the monkey-house on their shoulders is finally relocated.
Then there are the players who somehow seem to have multiple championships for doing little or nothing to get them. They were somehow the lucky 11th or 12th man on the roster who didn't get a lot of playing time and most people barely noticed that they were still with the team, but they are champions all the same.
Here are six players that have more titles than all of the Eastern Conference All-Stars combined, yet played less than I did for their teams.
Luke Walton made $4.8 million last season with the Lakers, which by my count amounts to $2.4 million per point scored for the team.
Walton got playing time because he's the closest thing the Lakers had to an actual playmaker last season since Shannon Brown and Jordan Farmar were both shoot first point guards.
However, now that Farmar is gone and the Lakers have brought in Steve Blake and forward Matt Barnes, one wonders just how much playing time this two-time champion will get next season.
Walton, who certainly should have great basketball play in his genes as the son of NBA legend Bill Walton, averaged barely a point and an assist a game in the finals last season against Boston and is still considered a defensive liability prone to foul trouble against aggressive physical forwards.
But despite his lack of production, his ridiculous contract makes him all but untradeable, so he just has to sit on the bench and watch Kobe win him another ring.
Not a bad deal for Luke.
If the Lakers three peat, Walton will officially surpass his Hall-of-Famer father in titles won, giving him the most unwarranted bragging right in the family.
Sometimes I wonder if Dickey Simpkins' sole purpose in life was to join the Chicago Bulls the season that Michael Jordan came back from retirement, win titles as a bench warmer, and then walk off into the sunset to play international ball as one of the most obscure players to ever be a three time champion.
One would think that practices with Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen, and Dennis Rodman would have some type of positive influence on Simpkins, but his game never improved, and he collected two rings in 1996 and 1997, never playing a single playoff minute.
In fact, in 1997 the Bulls picked up Brian Williams (later Bison Dele) during the season for their playoff run since they knew they couldn't depend on Simpkins to provide consistent minutes from the forward/center position.
After the Bulls traded him to The Golden State Warriors for Scott Burrell it looked as though the "Simpkins era" had finally come to a close. But he was soon waived by the Warriors and the Bulls made like the girlfriend who believed he would change and gave him one more shot.
Simpkins got his first playoff action in 1998 (hey, there were no more available bigs to sign to two month contracts and aged Robert Perish looked like a tough matchup against Shaq if LA advanced to the finals) and he actually played 13 games. He scored 1.2 points on 37% shooting and won a third ring.
In 2000, the Bulls drafted Brad Miller and finally renouced the rights to Simpkins for good.
Sasha Vujacic is one of those players whose game is so limited that one wonders exactly what he contributes to the champion Lakers.
When you think about his game, you probably think of hitting open shots off double teams of the Lakers big three of Bryant, Bynum, and Gasol. But seeing as how he only shoots 37% from the field for his career, that theory seems somewhat flawed.
Perhaps it's his great passing and playmaking abilities...no, he averaged less than one assist a game last season and just 1.2 assists for his career.
Well, maybe it's his stellar work on the defensive end as he pressures the...oh right, he is a notorious defensive liability which contributes to his inconsistent playing time.
Sasha is also hurt by the fact that, like teammate Luke Walton, he too is overpaid (making nearly $5.5 million next season) and completely untradeable.
Nevertheless, he is on board with the Lakers, who are still the leagues best team, and is looking to collect a third title next season.
For all the criticism that guys like Shaq and Dwight Howard get for being terrible free-throw shooters, Harrera had one season that made Ben Wallace look like Rick Berry.
29% free throw shooting during the 1995-96 season.
Tellingly, it was also his second lowest scoring season of his career at 1.9 ppg.
He played with Hakeem Olajuwon for four years and won a couple of titles with The Dream before being traded to the San Antonio Spurs, missing a third title by a season when he was shipped off to the Grizzlies just prior to the 1999 season.
Despite playing with Hall-of-Famers like Hakeem and Clyde Drexler, his game never seemed to evolve and his lack of consistency made him a tough player to offer extended playing minutes to.
Herrera was a career 5 ppg scorer and also 3 rpg contributor.
Perhaps then sports reporter John Kelly put it best during a 1996 game between the Bulls and the Spurs, when Herrera was sporting his protective goggles, "who was that masked man?"
There are fans of teams for which he played that still don't know.
Earl Cureton was originally drafted by the Philadelphia 76ers in 1979 in the third round. From there he would become largely a bench warmer as he watched Julius Irving and Moses Malone win him a title in 1983.
From there he took his career averages of 5.4 points and 4.7 rebounds to the Detroit Pistons, Chicago Bulls, L.A. Clippers, and Charlotte Hornets before landing on another championship team, the 1994 Houston Rockets, where he won a second ring.
He may not have have had mind-boggling stats, but he did have a fairly cool nickname: The Twirl.
He retired in 1997 without a tearful tribute after a one-year stint with his final team, the Toronto Raptors. He would be denied a five page Sports Illustrated spread despite his status as a two-time NBA champion.
Will Perdue was best known in Chicago circles as the guy Michael Jordan was constantly berating in practice for his lack of toughness, offensive officiency, drive, and just basic footwork to make better use of his seven foot frame.
For all that verbal abuse you could almost argue he deserved the three titles he won with the Bulls from 1991 to 1993. Eventually the Bulls would trade away Perdue's career 4.7 points and 4.9 rebounds per game to obtain Dennis Rodman from the San Antonio Spurs.
But Will would not be totally forgotten after the trade.
The Spurs won the title in 1999 and Perdue picked up a fourth ring.
Ask even the most loyal L.A. Laker fan what Kurt Rambis is best known for and they are likely to say one thing: being clotheslined by Kevin McHale in the 1984 NBA Finals.
That was also the moment that shifted the momentum in that series and helped the Celtics come back from a 2-1 series deficit to win in seven.
The Lakers would get their revenge on the Celtics the very next year and Rambis would win his second of four titles with the team.
Rambis always appeared out of place alongside Magic, Kareem, and Worthy. He was like the business partner of one of the players who just wanted to play a pick-up game just to "fit in" with the guys.
His career stats, however, 5.2 points and 5.6 rebounds, not to mention a glaring lack of vertical leap, suggests that while he wasn't the reason for L.A.s success in the 1980s, he certainly won big with the "average guy set" who saw a little bit of their own athletic inabilities in this four-time champion (as a player).
Hey, if you win two NBA Championships, play with Kobe and Shaq and live in the land of hot women and waitresses with screenplays, why not dance a little? It's the natural reaction when life hands you a full house at the poker table.
But when the fact that you dance worst than a senior citizen after hip surgery is more discussed than what you actually did on those two title teams, it may be time to hang up the dancing shoes and thank goodness you have stories to tell your grandkids about playing with Shaq and Kobe in the midst of their feud.
Madsen, who averaged 0.4 points and 0.8 rebounds (no that's not a misprint) as a member of the 2001 and 2002 Lakers teams, was certainly not shy about busting a move on the sidelines or during a victory parade for the team.
However, hustling for a rebound was where he undoubtedly drew the line in the expended energy department though, as he only averaged 2.5 points and 2.8 rebounds though his six year career.