NBA: 5 Guys We Can’t Believe Are Still In The League
Make no mistake about it – the NBA is full of excellent players that would be successful in any other league. However, there are a couple of players who are still holding on for one reason or another, that we can’t believe are still in the league.
1. DeShawn Stevenson
This is the player that was brash enough to go face-to-face with LeBron James as a member of the Washington Wizards. He had a span of three years where he played all 82 games and averaged about 11 points per game. Even then, he wasn’t that good.
He’s very one-dimensional as a scorer, but he’s not even a good scorer. His last three seasons in the league, he shot 28.2%, 38.8% and 28.5%. Apparently, that was good enough for the Atlanta Hawks to acquire him from the Brooklyn Nets.
The funny part is, he actually got a new contract this year. He’s signed a three-year, $6.7 million contract this offseason. It’s like burning money.
2. Andris Biedrins
Back in the 2008-09 season, it appeared as if Biedrins was on the verge of stardom. He averaged 11.9 points, 11.2 rebounds, 1.5 blocks and 1.0 steals per game. He shot 57.8 percent from the field, and even added in two assists per game.
The Golden State Warriors surely thought he was headed in the right direction, as they signed him to a six-year, $62 million deal during the summer of 2008. After his excellent 2008-09 season, they were patting themselves on the back for a job well done.
Not so fast. Let’s take a look at the 2008-09 season compared to the previous three seasons.
2008-09: 1863 MP, 308-533 FG, 119-216 FT, 223 ORB, 470 DRB, 693 TRB, 735 PTS
2009-12: 2899 MP, 262-467 FG, 15-65 FT, 253 ORB, 608 DRB, 861 TRB, 639 PTS
It’s amazing that Biedrins fell off so sharply. The most alarming of all is the fact that he’s gone to the free-throw line so little. He’s been totally robbed of his aggressiveness and the rest of his game fell apart. Not only does he make $9 million this year, he has a $9 million option for 2013-14.
3. Chris Duhon
Duhon signed a four-year, $15 million contract back in 2010 with the Orlando Magic. They made a lot of poor contract decisions over the years, and this was one of them. However, in a rare moment of clarity, they traded him to the Los Angeles Lakers in the Dwight Howard trade.
As a player, Duhon had one solid year, with the New York Knicks during the 2008-09 season. He averaged 11.1 points and 7.2 assists while shooting 39.1% from three and 85.6% from the free-throw line.
Since then, Duhon has been in a free fall. He was never very efficient, but his last two years of 5.6 and 8.4 PER are horrid. He’s a backup point guard, so the expectation is for him to come in and take care of the ball.
Instead, his assist-to-turnover ratio continues to plummet. From his peak of 3.69-to-1 in 2007-08, he’s all the way down to 1.86-to-1 for the 2011-12 season.
As a recap, he can’t score, he can’t take care of the ball and he’s poor defensively.
4. Kurt Thomas
Thomas is 40 years old. The NBA continues to be a young man’s game. Gone are the days of thugs manning the paint. In the 80′s and earlier, it was much more common for players like Thomas to hold on and provide bulk in the paint.
The problem is, it’s 30 years past that time. Thomas has played for a remarkable seven teams in seven years. For some reason, teams continue to dust him off, thinking he’s got something left in the tank.
The 2011-12 season saw him average 3 points and 3.5 rebounds in 15.1 minutes per game. A quick glance and that isn’t too terrible. Delving deeper, we noticed some serious issues.
First off, he shot 36.8% at the rim. Secondly, he was blocked 8.3% of the time. Third, his rebound rate was just 13.7, worst of his career and well below average. If that doesn’t point to washed up, I don’t know what does. Still, the New York Knicks gave him over a million dollars to play for them during the 2012-13 season.
5. Damien Wilkins
Earlier in his career, Wilkins was a solid bench player who could provide spot starts when needed. He was always one of the worst defensive players on his team, as his career 111 defensive rating shows, but teams loved his offense.
He’s become a real nomad in the NBA, after spending the first five seasons with the Seattle/Oklahoma City franchise. Since then, he’s played one year each with the Timberwolves, Hawks, Pistons and now the 76ers.
His 2011-12 season was a real dud, as he averaged just 3.2 points in 15.4 minutes. He shot just 39.4% from the field and just 63% from the free-throw line. His PER has fallen in each of the last three seasons, from a poor 11.5 to a horrid 6.9.
While a lot of players don’t concentrate on the mid-range game anymore, Wilkins shoots worse than most centers do from there. He made just 22.6% percent from 10-15 feet in 2011-12. Does that sound like a guy who should still be in the league?
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I wear many hats. I will become a father for the first time in July 2013. My work career started as an umpire, evolved to a blackjack dealer and has settled as a sportswriter. You could say I'm used to getting yelled at. I love me some Minnesota Timberwolves but currently call Phoenix home. I'm an eight handicap and a terrible leaper.