Fadeaway World

At this point in the season now that the All-Star Break and trade deadline have come to an end, seemingly everyone has started to make their predictions for the NBA awards. However, me being a pessimist decided to instead predict my anti-awards this season, given to the worst player at each applicable category. There are obviously qualifications for each award, as if there weren’t, guys like Brice Johnson, Diamond Stone and Gary Neal’s names would come up in an NBA article for the first time ever. So without further adieu, here are my NBA anti-award predictions for the time being.

Least Valuable Player: Emmanuel Mudiay, Denver Nuggets

* Requirements: Must Be a Regular Starter, Must Play Over 25 Minutes Per Game

If Emmanuel Mudiay wants to be considered a good point guard in the NBA, he really has a long way to go. In his second year in the league, Mudiay has once again personified the problems that come with starting younger point guards, as in the NBA, he has been nothing but a pure raw athletic talent, with a low basketball IQ and a seeming inability to make the right decision on a basketball court. 

Let’s start with his insanely poor shooting. Not only does Mudiay have the worst effective field goal percentage among starters in the league at 42%, but he really has not developed a strong shooting touch from anywhere on the floor, as he is far below average from all distances of the floor, including at the rim, as he shoots only 50.3% from within three feet, and for someone with his size and athleticism is absolutely terrible, as the league average is 62.7%. 

He is also a poor playmaker, as his assist percentage of 21.5%, is 33rd among point guards playing more than 25 minutes per game. These statistics should really be better, as Mudiay leads his team in touches per game, at 65.2. This means that even though Mudiay might get the ball a lot, he often does little with it. As well as his underdeveloped offensive game, his defensive game is somehow just as atrocious. Despite being larger (6’5”, 6’9” wingspan) and quicker than most point guards, he is seemingly unable to play good defense, as his -1.7 defensive box plus minus is accompanied by a 51.9 opposing field goal percentage, and a 43.3% opposing three-point percentage, which means he either just doesn’t try on D or he has some sort of phobia towards playing defense.

At this point, if the Denver Nuggets care at all about maintaining their playoff spot in the west, they should sincerely think about not only moving Mudiay out of the starting lineup, but even moving him out of the rotation, as their other two point guard options in Jameer Nelson and Jamal Murray, have proven to be better players, both beating Mudiay in player efficiency rating, true shooting percentage, win shares per 48 and box plus minus. I think it’s time the Nuggets think about putting the messy Emmanuel Mudiay on the bench, in favour of either Nelson or Murray, who prove to be better options. However, being that the Nuggets have already invested so much into Mudiay, it is unlikely that they actually do it.

Most Disappointing Team: Portland Trail Blazers

The reason why this is getting an award, instead of the Coach of the Year is because the Coach of the Year is often given to the most surprisingly good team, and not the best coach in the league, for if that were the case, Gregg Popovich would have more than a dozen of these. So instead of putting the blame on the coach himself, which seems quite impossible for an outsider to judge, I’m just giving this anti-award to the most disappointing team.

After making it to the second round as the sixth seed in the Western Conference when thought to be a rebuilding team, the 44-38 Portland Trail Blazers exceeded expectations last season after losing franchise player, LaMarcus Aldridge, as well as three other starters, in Wesley Matthews, Nicolas Batum and Robin Lopez, in the 2015 offseason. However, with career years from starting backcourt Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum, as well as guys like Allen Crabbe, Al-Farouq Aminu and Mason Plumlee playing the best basketball of their careers, it only made sense that we would get at least that same team for this year.

However, we were all proven wrong, as this year, we were given an awful 23-33 version of this team, with a similar roster, but almost double the money being put into in ($61 million in 2015-2016, $112 million in 2016-2017). Despite Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum carrying their enormous and expected loads, role player Evan Turner (-2.5 box plus minus), Al-Farouq Aminu (43.9% effective field goal percentage), Meyers Leonard (-4.4 box plus-minus) and Ed Davis (-2 box plus minus) are all having very disappointing years, giving Dame and C.J. little support. The team even opted to trade center Mason Plumlee to the Denver Nuggets a couple weeks ago for center Jusuf Nurkic, in an attempt to make a small but significant reconfiguration to the team, in hopes that it will lead to more wins, a strategy which can really go either way.

For the Portland Trail Blazers to make the playoffs, they need to really start thinking about rearranging their rotation, in order to get less minutes from guys like Aminu and Leonard, who both have been less than helpful for the Blazers this year, and playing more of guys like Pat Connaughton (57.7% effective field goal percentage in 195 minutes played) and Tim Quarterman (73.1% effective field goal percentage in 44 minutes played), who both have not played very much, but at least have shown a willingness to play, and have produced when they have been on the floor. I know that this could be very dangerous, as it is very possible that Connaughton and Quarterman prove more about why they are benchwarmers than rotation players, but really, what do the Portland Trail Blazers have to lose?

Worst Defensive Player of the Year: Nick Young, Los Angeles Lakers

* Requirements: Must Be a Regular Starter, Must Play Over 25 Minutes Per Game

I’m trying to be nice here, but if Nick Young has proven anything in his NBA career, it is that he is one of the most boneheaded players in the NBA, this side of JaVale McGee. And of course, part of the territory of being boneheaded is having the defensive concentration and attention span of a starving baby goldfish on drugs. 

Much like Mudiay, based on his stature, Nick Young should be a good defender, or at least a capable defender, being an athletic 6’7” 2-3, with a 7’0” wingspan, and at times, he has been able to perform defensively, however most of the time, that is not the case, as Nick Young has given us some defensive statistics somehow worse than his ex fiancee’s discography, or D’Angelo Russell’s film directing skills, or his spelling ability–I really have too many options for this joke.–with numbers like -3.2 defensive box plus minus and an opposing effective field goal percentage of 59.6%. Even though Nick Young has been playing the most efficient basketball of his career offensively, with career highs in true shooting percentage, at 60.1%, and turnover percentage, at a league-best 4.9%, he still definitely needs to work on his D to be the three-and-D guy that coach Luke Walton is trying to turn him into.

Most Regressed Player: Marvin Williams, Charlotte Hornets

* Requirements: Must Have Had Seven Win Shares or More Last Year

Last Year, the often forgotten 2005 second overall pick, Marvin Williams, quietly had a very good season, averaging 11.7 points per game and 6.4 rebounds per game on a 58.5% true shooting percentage, with a 27th in the league 7.8 win shares and a box plus minus of 2.7. Because of this play, he earned himself a shiny new four-year, 55 million dollar contract, and then coincidentally or not, he has seemingly shifted back into his old habits, with a below league average 53% true shooting percentage, a -.7 box plus minus, and his win shares per 48 number decreased by roughly 46%, going from .161 in 2015-2016 to .087 this year. I’m not going to accuse him of simply not working as hard now that it is not his contract year, however, he has definitely fallen off significantly from last season.

In order for the eleventh place Charlotte to get back into the playoff picture, Marvin Williams must return to form, as he was probably the third best and most important member of the Hornets last year, behind Kemba Walker and Nicolas Batum.

Worst Rookie of the Year: Isaiah Whitehead, Brooklyn Nets

* Requirements: Must Play Over 15 Minutes Per Game

The average NBA fan probably does not know of a 42nd overall pick in the 2016 NBA draft, Isaiah Whitehead, or the fact that he has started 26 games at point guard for the Brooklyn Nets, and has played over 1000 minutes in his rookie year. So therefore, they have not been aware of just how terribly he is playing this year. With a 42.9% effective field goal percentage, -1 win shares, not plus minus, WIN SHARES, and a -5.8 box plus minus, Isaiah Whitehead has been absolutely awful for the Brooklyn Nets, and there’s really not much they can do but play him, as would-be starting point guard, Jeremy Lin has played just twelve games so far this season, and their other point guard option is Spencer Dinwiddie, who has been splitting minutes with Whitehead, nd has rightfully started starting recently, but even in his 20 games off the bench, Whitehead has seen himself on the floor almost 20 minutes per game, shooting 39.4% from the field, of course.

It’s not likely that Whitehead would even get backup minutes playing for any other team in the league, but the sad fact about the Nets is that they lack the resources to do much better than Whitehead.

And now for the All-Worst sections, instead of writing paragraph explanations for the players chosen for this list, I will simply let their numbers do the talking, with a short explanation at the end of each team.

2016-2017 All-NBA Worst Team

* Requirements: Must Be a Regular Starter, Must Play Over 25 Minutes Per Game

G-Emmanuel Mudiay, Denver Nuggets: 11.8 PPG, 3.5 RPG, 4.2 APG, 36.9% FG%, 42% eFG%, -.006 WS/48, -3.7 BPM

G-Matthew Dellavedova, Milwaukee Bucks: 7.6 PPG, 2 RPG, 5.2 APG, 39.4% FG%, 46.5% eFG%, .036 WS/48, -4.4 BPM

F-Solomon Hill, New Orleans Pelicans: 6.7 PPG, 3.7 RPG, 1.8 APG, 39.4% FG%, 49.4% eFG%, .056 WS/48, -.6 BPM

F-Luol Deng, Los Angeles Lakers: 7.8 PPG, 5.3 RPG, 1.3 APG, 38.9% FG%, 45% eFG%, .034 WS/48, -2.2 BPM

C-Robin Lopez, Chicago Bulls: 9.8 PPG, 6.9 RPG, .9 APG, 49.2% FG%, .095 WS/48, -.5 BPM

Is it just a coincidence that Dellavedova, Hill and Deng were free agents last year? I don’t know, but boy have they been terrible this year, all shooting very inefficiently, and not even stuffing the stat sheets on below average teams. The centre spot is difficult because admittedly, he is not that bad of a player, however, due to the requirements of 25 minutes per game or more and being a regular starter, he is the worst in the league at the centre spot, and a 49.3% field goal percentage as a centre is definitely disappointing, especially because he is ten percent below average from within three feet of the basket, where he shoots 52.7%.

2016-2017 All-Defensive Worst Team

* Requirements: Must Be a Regular Starter, Must Play Over 25 Minutes Per Game

G-Emmanuel Mudiay, Denver Nuggets: -1.7 DBPM, 51.9% DFG%, 43.3% D3P%, 59.2% DeFG%

G-Nick Young, Los Angeles Lakers: -3.2 DBPM, 51% DFG%, 41.4% D3P%, 59.6% DeFG%

F-Harrison Barnes, Dallas Mavericks: -1.2 DBPM, 48.2% DFG%, 38.6% D3P%, 54.1% DeFG%

F-Ryan Anderson, Houston Rockets: -2.2 DBPM, 48.7% DFG%, 39.7% D3P%, 52.8% DeFG%

C-Jonas Valanciunas, Toronto Raptors: -.6 DBPM, 50.1% DFG% at rim

I think I already grilled Mudiay and Young long enough to justify why they should be on this team. Harrison Barnes may be a bit surprising because like Mudiay and Young, he definitely has the physical abilities to be a good defender, however, his statistics have proven that he is underachieving on that end of the floor. With Ryan Anderson and Jonas Valanciunas, it is more of the same, as they lack the necessary speed to be a good defender. This affects both of their abilities to defend the pick and roll, which is a necessary part of being a good big man defender.

2016-2017 All-Rookie Worst Team

* Requirements: Must Play Over 15 Minutes Per Game

G-Kris Dunn, Minnesota Timberwolves: 3.6 PPG, 2.2 RPG, 2.5 APG, 36.3% FG%, 39.5% eFG%, -.014 WS/48, -3.2 BPM

G-Malcolm Delaney, Atlanta Hawks: 5.9 PPG, 1.8 RPG, 2.7 APG, 39% FG%, 42.6% eFG%

G-Isaiah Whitehead, Brooklyn Nets: 7 PPG, 2.4 RPG, 2.9 APG, 38.7% FG%, 42.9% eFG%, -.044 WS/48, -5.8 BPM

G-Andrew Harrison, Memphis Grizzlies: 6.2 PPG, 1.9 RPG, 3 APG, 31.6% FG%, 37.2% eFG%, .056 WS/48, -2.1 BPM

F-Brandon Ingram, Los Angeles Lakers: 8 PPG, 4.1 RPG, 1.9 APG, 36.2% FG%, 40.8% 3FG%, -.015 WS/48, -4.5 BPM

Now, even though they are all playing awfully, let’s be honest, there’s a difference of expectation with guys like Malcolm Delaney (Internationally Signed Free Agent), Isaiah Whitehead (Second Round Pick) and Andrew Harrison (Second Round Pick), compared to Kris Dunn and Brandon Ingram, who were both top five picks in the NBA Draft. With Delaney, Whitehead and Harrison, they got a lot more playing time than they expected for their rookie years, and have not really adjusted well enough to the NBA yet. For Dunn and Ingram, we expected them to come into the league and be contributing players, and both of them have frankly failed to do so.

NEXT

NBA Free Agency 2017: Chris Paul and The New Orleans Big Three?

Facebook Comments

1 Comment

  1. Dunn has been amazing defensively while Ingram has made plenty of (non-scoring) impact. I’m confused about their inclusion in the list- care to explain? Because to me, being disappointing doesn’t mean being bad (perception of Dunn was high, didn’t meet the unfairly inflated expectations), and Ingram has been good, not as bad as some rookies.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *